By Jacob Weinberger
Saturday’s matinee at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City, Iowa, had all the makings of a pitchers duel and a potential shutout. Midway through the game, only an hour of baseball had been played and the Terps led 1-0 behind a Kevin Biondic home run and Taylor Bloom’s strong start. However, the Iowa Hawkeyes offense erupted for four runs in the eighth inning to secure a late lead and a win.
Bloom and Hawkeyes starting pitcher Tyler Peyton went back and forth, matching each other pitch for pitch for much of the game. The only blemish on Peyton’s stat-line was a fourth inning solo home run by Biondic. It was the game’s only run for more than seven innings.
Bloom pitched seven innings of shutout ball. He surrendered five hits and one walk while striking out four and hitting one batter. He threw 115 pitches. The sophomore right-hander’s outing comes on the heels of back-to-back complete games. Over his last three starts, Bloom has pitched 25 innings and allowed just four runs for an ERA of 1.44. During that stretch, he’s struck out 13 and walked two.
Peyton allowed one run, gave up three hits and struck out seven Terps over five innings. As a two-way player for the Hawkeyes, he also drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Both pitchers received no-decisions.
Aside from a three-hit performance by right fielder Madison Nickens, the Terps’ offense was largely absent. Only twice did they muster more than a single base runner in an inning. The team finished with five hits.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Terps still held a slim one-run lead and had a chance to break the game open. However, with the bases loaded and two outs, designated hitter Nick Cieri grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
LHP Rob Galligan, who came on in relief of Bloom in the bottom of the frame, ran into trouble in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Hawkeyes. The first two batters of the inning reached base, and the third batter, second baseman Zach Daniels, laid down a bunt and reached on a throwing error by Biondic. The Terps’ first baseman threw the ball wide of second baseman Nick Dunn who was covering first base. The ball redirected off Dunn’s outreached glove and into shallow right field, which allowed the tying run to score from second base.
Galligan would face one more batter before being relieved by RHP Ryan Selmer. Selmer entered the game with the bases loaded, no outs, and the game tied. Following a strikeout, Peyton, who had moved from the pitcher’s spot to DH, hit a bloop single down the right field line that scored two more. The Hawkeyes tacked on a fourth run on a safety squeeze play.
The error in the bottom of the eight led to three unearned runs, which proved to be the difference. The Terps have now allowed 26 unearned runs on 30 errors.
Morris reached base in the top of the ninth inning on an error, but Hawkeyes RHP Nick Gallagher worked around it and finished the game. Gallagher notched the win, pitching four shutout innings out of the bullpen.
The Terps’ offense was held to just one run for the second straight game, and for the eigth time this season. The Hawkeyes, who won the series last year 2-1, clinched this years’ series with the win. The Terps will try to avoid a series sweep tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. ET in Iowa City, Iowa.