After a slow start to the season, Marty Costes continued his upward trend, with a grand slam and a lead-preserving diving-catch in the fifth inning of Maryland’s 5-3 series-clinching win over the Michigan State Spartans (16-23, 7-7) on Sunday.
The Spartans grabbed the lead early, after Danny Gleaves led off the bottom of the first with a triple, his first of the season. A sacrifice fly from Chad Roskelly drove in Gleaves, putting Michigan State ahead.
Maryland (19-24, 5-9) starter Tyler Blohm responded, striking out four in the next three innings. Then, Michigan State starter Mike Mokma gave up back-to-back one-out singles to Randy Bednar and Justin Morris in the fifth. Morris made it to second on the throw to third, an attempt to catch Bednar. Mokma stuck out one but walked Nick Dunn, giving Costes the bases loaded with two outs.
Though the Terps have struggled this season at hitting with runners on base, Costes had no trouble, hitting the ball over the left-field scoreboard for the first Maryland grand slam this season. With that, the Terps took the 4-1 lead.
But, the Spartans threatened to regain the lead in the bottom of the fifth, with bases-loaded and two-outs. Costes came in clutch on defense this time, making a diving catch on a Roskelly fly ball to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
Sunday’s game also marked the return of Taylor Bloom, who was sidelined by a concussion after being hit in the head with a foul ball prior to Maryland’s April 13 game against Michigan. He pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out two and walking one in the inning.
Bloom’s scoreless seventh added to the Terps’ momentum, and a walk to Zach Jancarski set Taylor Wright up for an RBI-double with one out in the eighth, putting Maryland up 5-1.
The eighth proved more difficult for Bloom, giving up a leadoff double to Justin Antoncic. A single from Marty Bechina scored Antoncic to cut Maryland’s lead to three runs. Then, pinch-hitter Adam Proctor continues Michigan State’s rally, singling to score Bechina from second. But, Bloom worked out of the inning after a chat on the mound with pitching coach Corey Muscara, forcing a groundout to end the frame.
The Spartans threatened in the bottom of the ninth, but closer John Murphy worked around an early error from Dunn that gave up a base runner, getting three outs in a row to secure the Terps’ win.
Maryland heads to Morgantown, West Virginia, on Tuesday to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers.
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