After struggling to hit on Thursday and Friday, the Terps broke out of their slump Saturday afternoon, winning 12-6 over the Bryant Bulldogs and tying the series at one win apiece.
“We talked about really trying to hunt the inside half of the baseball, swinging and creating leverage in our swing, ” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “If you look at a lot of our hits today a lot of them were in the middle of the field…when we’re good that’s what the offense looks like.”
The Terps’ bats came to life in the third inning, when third baseman Tommy Gardiner, who was in the lineup for the struggling Taylor Wright, singled off the first pitch from Theetge, the first of four singles in a row for Maryland. The Terps added on a double and another single, scoring five runs in the inning and taking the 5-1 lead.
“On top of the defense that played flawless behind me, the offense giving me that support, that’s something that I needed today on a day when I wasn’t me best,” said Maryland starter Tyler Blohm.
“[Gardiner’s] just been study over there and, you know, we had a lefty on the mound,” said Vaughn as to why he switched out Wright. “We just thought Tommy might have been a good matchup in there today.”
Bryant scored in the top of the first after three one-out singles in a row, but didn’t score again until the top of the fourth, tacking on a run after a walk and back-to-back singles, but Blohm held them to one run
Theetge came out in the bottom of the fourth after walking the leadoff hitter. He allowed five runs on seven hits and 61 pitches, pulled 1 ⅔ innings earlier than he was last year when he faced Maryland.
The Terps had the bases loaded again in the fourth, but were unable to capitalize on the baserunners. Kevin Biondic flied out, ending the inning and stranding three runners.
Theetge’s replacement, Craig Lacey, pitched two innings, allowing one hit and walking one on 35 pitches.
Bryant cut down Maryland’s lead in the top of the sixth with a one-out solo home run from Tyler Panno, followed by a double from Shane Kelly that scored James Ciliento, who had singled and stolen second.
In the bottom of the sixth the Terps extended their lead, working their way through the Bulldogs’ bullpen. Jack Ipsen started the top of the inning, but recorded no outs, allowing two hits and one run on 14 pitches.
Richie Schiekofer scored the run off a wild pitch, after entering the game as a pinch runner for catcher Ty Friedrich. Justin Snyder came in for Ipsen, allowing two hits and a run on 13 pitches.
Blohm lasted six innings, allowing nine hits and four runs on 101 pitches. Freshman Sean Fisher pitched the seventh, working his way out of a jam with runners on the corners by striking out Panno to end the inning.
“We talk about how you respond to a situation, because the way you respond is usually how the outcome’s going to happen,” said Blohm. “So if you respond in a good way…usually things start to work out in your favor.”
The Terps offense exploded again in the seventh, when Nick Dunn doubled with bases loaded and two outs, clearing the bases and putting Maryland up 10-4. Dunn’s double prompted a call to the bullpen for Bryant, bringing in Will Treuel for Snyder.
“I was just trying to stick to my approach,” said Dunn in reference to his hit. “I mean, it was a little warmer today, that made it a little bit easier.”
Treuel, however, didn’t fare well, exiting after walking two batters in a row and giving up a run with two outs. The Bulldogs fifth relief pitcher of the day, Ryan Johnson, got the team out of the inning, forcing Randy Bednar to groundout. The Terps were up 11-4 heading into the eighth.
Fisher returned for the eighth, giving up two runs to Bryant after Shane Kelly hit a two-run homer to center field, cutting Maryland’s lead to five. Maryland responded in the bottom of the inning, however, scoring a run and increasing the lead to 12-6.
John Murphy came in to pitch the ninth, allowing a leadoff double and walking the next batter, but working out of the jam to secure the win for Maryland.
The Terps and the Bulldogs both finished with 16 hits, but Maryland scored twice as many runs, and only used a third of the pitchers Bryant sent to the mound.
Maryland takes on Bryant tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the final game of the series.
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