By Ben Harris
Sophomore Taylor Bloom did not disappoint in his first career Friday start, holding a potent Ohio State offense to three hits and keeping them off the scoreboard in a 90-pitch complete game effort.
A superb changeup kept the Buckeyes off balance all game, a tall task against the conference’s most prolific home run hitting team. Bloom’s changeup sat around 75 mph, a stark 11-mile-an-hour difference from his fastball on the day.
Maryland’s new Friday starter will remain the conference leader in innings pitched after his complete game Friday, lowering his ERA to 1.99.
Bloom (5-2) took a perfect game bid 5.1 innings into the first game of Friday’s doubleheader between the Terps and Buckeyes. Opposing Maryland, Ohio State’s left-handed starter Tanner Tully tossed a complete game of his own also allowing just three hits.
Maryland got things started in the bottom of the first with some small ball. A Madison Nickens leadoff walk led head coach John Szefc to trigger what would be a perfectly executed hit-and-run. As Nickens took of for second, Dunn sharply grounded one toward the hole in the left side recently vacated by Ohio State shortstop Craig Nennig who was covering the bag.
Nennig reversed his course, backhanding the ball cleanly but forcing an errant throw to first. Nickens and Dunn moved up to second and third before scoring on a Nick Cieri single flared to left and a passed ball, putting the Terps ahead 2-0 after one.
Tanner Tully held Maryland hitless for the next four innings, retiring 16 straight Terps after allowing two runs in the first. However, the junior was bested by the Big Ten Freshman Player of the Week Marty Costes who jacked a solo home run over the batter’s eye in center to halt Tully’s streak in the sixth.
Tully was tagged with the tough-luck loss, his second of the season.
Bloom’s perfect game bid was lost in the sixth when he plunked L Grant Davis with a 2-2 fastball. He allowed his first hit one batter later, but promptly picked him off and struck out the Big Ten home run leader Jacob Bosiokovic to escape the jam and keep Ohio State off the board. In six of his nine innings, Bloom retired the Buckeyes in 10 pitches or fewer.
Brian Shaffer will start the second half of the twin bill Friday evening at 5:30.