By Michaela Johnson
The Terrapins (8-10) set out on Saturday to even the score against Cal State Fullerton (11-7) after giving up the first game of the series in extra innings. Maryland scored eight runs on 14 hits, including three homers. Kevin Smith played an instrumental part in the Terps’ win, with three leadoff hits and three runs. Marty Costes was also a key contributer, going yard twice for three RBIs.
The Terps wasted no time getting on the board. In opening frame, Smith singled to left on the first pitch of the game, and scored on a base hit from Nick Cieri. Next up, Costes hit his first bomb of the game over the fence in centerfield. The Titans put one up with a solo shot in the second, but the Terps kept the momentum going in the third inning. Smith led off again, this time with a stand-up triple, and crossed the plate on a sac fly by Madison Nickens.
The game was quiet for a few innings, until the bottom of the sixth when a batter hit by a pitch and a pair of singles put another run on the board for the Titans. The top of the seventh began with yet another leadoff base hit by Smith and a triple from Nick Dunn. Cieri laid down a sac bunt and Dunn scored in a textbook squeeze play. Back-to-back blasts from Costes and Kevin Bionic, both to left field, put the Terps up by six.
The Titans didn’t go down without a fight. Down 8-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Fullerton, was able to string together four hits to push across two runs. But, they tying run would reach only the on-deck circle, and RHP Taylor Bloom induced a groundout to end the game.
Bloom tossed his second consecutive complete game of the season with a career high 127 pitches. He allowed 12 hits, but only two earned runs, one walk, and had four strikeouts. The sophomore improves to 3-2 on the season, and has now pitched at least 7.0 innings in four straight starts.
This win comes against one of the toughest pitching staffs in the country. The #23 Titans collectively have the fourth best ERA (1.92) and allow the fewest hits per game (5.2) of any team in the nation. However, today they gave up 14 hits and eight earned runs to the Terrapins.
The last game of the series will be played tomorrow at 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. on the east coast). Catch the broadcast here: http://mixlr.com/maryland-baseball-network/ and follow our Twitter, @mdbaseballnet, for live updates.