By Ben Harris
For the second straight day, a talented left-hander held the Terps to one run. Like yesterday, Maryland’s lone run was unearned. This young Terps club has struggled to put runs on the board as Saturday marked their fourth one-run performance in the season’s first five games.
2015 A-10 Rookie and Pitcher of the Year Tyler Wilson (1-1) shut down Maryland in en route to both his and Rhode Island’s first win on the season. The sophomore kept the Terps off balance, allowing just four hits and one unearned run in seven innings of work. Eleven of the Terps 12 strikeouts came from the left-hand of Wilson.
In the series’ first two games, Rhode Island’s top lefty starters – Moyers and Wilson – have combined to strike out 16 Terps, allowing eight hits with a perfect 0.00 ERA in 15 innings.
Again, Maryland struggled to manufacture runs. The Terps recorded three doubles and a single in the game, but each fell in a different inning. Eight men in total were stranded on base by a stagnant Maryland offense that went 1-10 with runners on base.
The top of head coach John Szefc’s lineup is lefty heavy: Madison Nickens, Nick Dunn and Nick Cieri all hit from the left side. In the series thus far against the Rams lefty starters, that trio is just 3-19 (.158). Maryland lefties as a whole are hitting 3-27 (.111) in the series thus far.
Swapping Dunn, who began the season in the three slot, and Nickens, Maryland’s everyday leadoff hitter, didn’t provide the spark Maryland needed to ignite the offense. Szefc also toyed with the bottom half of the lineup, giving freshman Marty Costes his first career collegiate start and Brandon Smith his first start on the season.
Despite the sluggish offense, sophomore Taylor Bloom (1-1) registered a pair of career highs with seven innings pitched and nine strikeouts in the loss. Just one of his two runs was earned.
For the first time in Szefc’s four years at the helm, Maryland will not sweep their home opening series. The rubber match tomorrow will feature Brian Shaffer (0-1) and right-hander Ben Wessel (0-1), a welcome relief from the lefties that have proved difficult for Maryland’s offense this weekend.