On Sunday, the Maryland Terrapins defeated Army by a score of 6-3 to avoid an early season sweep at home. Although it is only February, the win could serve as a jumping-off point for a Terps team that will look to find some consistency as they head to Richmond to take on VCU Wednesday.
After lighting up the scoreboard in Knoxville to open up the season, scoring 20 runs in three games, the Terps’ return north brought with it some struggles. A midweek loss to William and Mary and two consecutive losses to Army were filled with strikeouts and missed opportunities with runners in scoring position.
“We talk about Murphy’s Law all the time,” said head coach Rob Vaughn about the offensive struggles. “What can go wrong will go wrong, and it did a little bit this weekend.”
Left fielder Marty Costes, the Terps new leadoff hitter, has had a tough start to the season as he gets familiar with a different spot in the lineup. Costes hit .308 against Tennessee in the season-opening series, but his average has dropped to .138 after a poor showing over the weekend.
The weekend was filled with rain, which cooled off junior Taylor Wright. Wright recorded five hits in the series against Tennessee, but has only two since.
However, on Sunday, the Terrapin offense regained some life. Behind a two-hit performance from Nick Dunn and Randy Bednar’s first career homer, the lineup was able to muster up enough run support to pick up some confidence and a much needed win.
Now, the Terps will look to stay consistent against a Rams pitching staff that has had its share of season-starting struggles. The VCU staff is allowing close to seven runs per contest and is coming off a game in which they allowed 15 runs to Coastal Carolina. If the trend continues, Maryland could break out offensively.
The Maryland pitching staff has a solid performance over the weekend, after a two-game stretch where the starting rotation and bullpen allowed a combined 23 runs to Tennessee and William and Mary.
Even in losses, Taylor Bloom and Tyler Blohm ate up innings for the Terps while limiting the damage, going 13 innings and only allowing five earned runs. Hunter Parsons rebounded from a tough first start of the year, going 4 and ⅔ on Sunday and allowing the bullpen to finish the job.
Freshman pitcher Mark DiLuia, who threw out of the bullpen on Sunday, will get the start against the Rams as the righty could be a staple for the Terps midweek games.
DiLuia will have the challenge of facing a strong VCU lineup that features three hitters batting over .300. Junior infielder Zac Ching leads the Rams with 13 hits and a .433 average while sophomore Brett Willett and senior Mitchel Lacey are batting .385 and .300, respectively.
The matchup against VCU will be the first of four games against four different teams in five days for the Terps. Unlike a weekend series where it is one team for three days, Maryland will now be tasked with preparing for multiple lineups, matchups and more in a short amount of time.
“It can be tough, but at the same time it can be hard for teams to do that for us,“ Vaughn said. “We take it one game at a time. All our energy is on VCU right now.”
First pitch against VCU is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Fans can listen on the Maryland Baseball Network.
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