The Maryland baseball team (12-14, 0-1 Big Ten) dropped its first game of conference play this season, failing to muster anything offensively in a 4-0 loss to Northwestern (8-12, 1-3) on Friday.
Friday starter Taylor Bloom and Northwestern hurler Quinn Lavelle battled through much of the quick contest, which lasted just over two hours. Bloom rebounded from his rough outing against Stetson last week by throwing eight innings of three-run ball.
“It doesn’t matter what you give [Bloom] that day, he’s going to turn in a seven or eight inning performance for you, and that what makes him who he is,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “He’s just been steady, he’s competed his tail off and doesn’t have a ton to show for it yet, but that guy is a stud.”
All three runs Bloom allowed came in the second inning. After he walked Charlie Maxwell to lead off the frame, Connor Lind followed with a single that moved Maxwell to third. Ben Dickey laid down a sacrifice bunt that Bloom tried to come home with, but Justin Morris’s tag was too late. A sacrifice fly and single brought home the Wildcats’ other two runs.
“On a bunt, you’ve got to get an out,” Vaughn said about the play. “It’s great to get that lead runner and keep him from scoring, but you can’t not get an out. You get an out, you give up one run, you don’t get an out, you give up three. That kind of came to fruition, so just a couple of little things there that we’ve talked about that have just coming back to bite us a little bit.”
Maryland’s season-long offensive woes continued in the loss. The team was only able to muster four hits, and none of the six baserunners made it past first base.
“[Lavelle] did a great job tonight. Kept us off balance, moved the ball in and out,” Vaughn said.
“He pounded the strike zone. It was strike one, strike two on our hitters all night.“
Junior shortstop AJ Lee was a bright spot in the lineup, collecting two of the team’s four hits.
“I was just trying to hit stuff harder earlier in the count,” Lee said. “Fortunately, I was able to get two fastballs over the plate that I was able to hit pretty good.”
Junior second baseman Nick Dunn and senior center fielder Zach Jancarski also had hits. Sophomore Barrett Smith made his first career start, batting ninth and going 0-for-2.
The Terps will turn to Saturday starter Tyler Blohm as they try to even the series. The sophomore has pitched to a 3.82 ERA in 35 ⅓ innings. His last time out, he pitched eight stellar innings against Stetson, allowing an unearned run on four hits.
Maryland will also look to get their offense going again after scoring only 14 runs in their last five games.
“Just staying off the scoreboard and trying to string quality at-bats together is going to be our goals on offense,” Vaughn said.