By Jacob Weinberger
With the bases loaded, two outs and a 3-1 count, Maryland Terrapins center fielder Anthony Papio popped a routine fly ball behind second base. It seemed like the Terps would let an early scoring chance slip away in the first inning of Saturday’s matinee versus the High Point University Panthers (19-8). Nevertheless, all three runners rounded the bases just in case the improbable happened – a drop.
With the wind swaying and the sun high in the sky, Panthers shortstop Chris Clare misplayed Papio’s popup. The ball dropped and all three runners scored. The Terps opened up a 4-0 lead after one inning, and never looked back. The Terps (14-13) won 13-5.
“You never really know when the play of the game is going to come, but it came early and it didn’t come in a way you’d think it would come,” Maryland Head Coach John Szefc said. “They clearly never really recovered from that [the error].”
Panthers RHP Andre Scrubb struggled to locate the strike zone from the get-go. The junior walked seven of the 14 batters he faced in just 1.2 innings pitched, including a stretch of four consecutive walks in the second inning. In fact, the Terps only needed one hit to capture a 6-0 lead after only two innings in College Park, Maryland. Scrubb was dealt the loss.
Terps left fielder Marty Costes’ power was on display once again Saturday, as he hit his second and third home runs of the series today. He took RHP Michael Hennessey deep in the third inning, extending the Terps’ lead to 10-0, and homered off LHP Matt Hodges in the fifth inning, increasing the lead to 12-2.
“I’m just fortunate that the balls went out today,” Costes said. “I’ll just keep doing my thing and just got to keep taking it a day at a time.”
Costes now leads the team with six home runs and 23 RBIs on the season.
As a whole, the Terps finished with 15 hits and tied their season-high of 13 runs. After drawing eight free passes through the first two frames, the Terps added three more walks for a game total of 11.
Terps RHP Taylor Bloom improved his record to 4-2 on the season. The sophomore allowed 11 hits and four earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched. He was brilliant through four innings, but got into some trouble towards the end of his start, allowing a total of eight hits and four runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
“It was important for us to get out ahead of these guys today and give Bloom a little bit of room to work with.” Szefc said.
LHP Rob Galligan, LHP Andrew Miller and RHP John Murphy combined for 3.1 innings and just one earned run out of the bullpen to close out the game.
The Terps evened up the three-games series following Friday night’s loss and brought their record back above .500 on the season. Terps RHP Brian Shaffer will face Panthers RHP Gottfried in the rubber match tomorrow 1 p.m.