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By Jacob Weinberger
The Maryland Terrapins tied up their three-game series with the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Ala. with a 9-5 win on Saturday.
Maryland’s bats were stifled early as Alabama starting pitcher Jake Walters (0-1, 12.27) recorded six strikeouts through the first three innings. The Crimson Tide grabbed a 1-0 lead on Terps starting pitcher Taylor Bloom (1-0, 5.40) in the second inning. Alabama first baseman Chance Vincent lined a single to right field to score one, but right fielder Anthony Papio threw out second baseman Cobie Vance at home plate to limit the deficit to one.
Maryland put to rest any doubts of a lackluster offense in the fourth inning. Terps second baseman Nick Dunn led off the inning with a double, and catcher Nick Cieri followed up with a two-run home run to give the Terps their first lead of the season. Two batters later, Papio took Walters deep for the second two-run home run of the inning. Walters was chased out of the fourth inning as reliever Dylan Duarte (0-0, 6.75) took over mound duties. To cap off the inning, left fielder Madison Nickens hit the third two-run dinger of the inning, putting Maryland ahead 6-1.
Vance answered for the Crimson Tide with a solo home run to leadoff the bottom of the fourth. Bloom ran into trouble in the same frame, but managed to strand runners on first and third to end the inning.
The Terps responded in the fifth inning with another run, extending the lead to 7-2. Dunn led off with a double, and was brought home by a Cieri single into centerfield.
Vance did his best to propel an Alabama comeback as he drove in another run in the bottom of the 5th inning. The freshman finished with four hits, a homerun, a run scored, two runs batted in, and a steal. The Tide added two more runs in the 6th inning on consecutive hits and an error by Cieri at home plate to cut the Terps’ lead to two.
Terps relievers Robert Galligan (0-0, 3.86) and Ryan Selmer (0-0, 0.00) combined to neutralize a 7th inning threat by the Tide. Galligan entered the game with a man on first base and no outs and induced a 4-6-3 double play on the first pitch. The lefty gave way to Selmer following a single and a walk. The 6’8” sophomore worked out the jam, completed the game for the Terps, and recorded the save.
Maryland first baseman Kevin Biondic delivered a big blow to the Tide with a two-out two-RBI double in the 8th inning. It was the sophomore’s first hit of the season, and it gave the Terps a 9-5 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Bloom picked up the win in his first start of 2016, and Walters was dealt the loss.
Maryland sophomore Brian Shaffer (2015: 5-1, 4.57) will battle Alabama junior Nick Eicholtz (2015: 3-1, 3.65) in game three of the series tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. ET.