By Chris Rogers
Despite a dominant start from Taylor Bloom, the Terps (23-19, 8-6) fell 2-0 to the Penn State Nittany Lions in Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday in University Park, Pa.
Bloom (5-3) tossed a complete game, allowing just two runs and scattering nine hits, but Maryland’s offense couldn’t get him any support, failing to score despite racking up seven hits and five walks. All but one of the Terps’ hits came with two outs, as they couldn’t string a rally together against the Penn State pitching staff.
The Terps had several opportunities to score early, as they had men on first and third with two outs in each of the first two innings, but stranded them both times. Their best chance was in the third inning, when Nick Dunn walked, Kevin Biondic singled with two outs, and Nick Cieri followed with a walk to load the bases for Anthony Papio. But on the first pitch, Papio hit a grounder to first, and Maryland once again failed to crack the scoreboard. The Terps stranded a total of 12 baserunners, including seven through the first three frames.
After the third, Maryland was quiet offensively, managing just a bunt single in the fourth and a walk in the sixth. They had another opportunity to get on the board in the eighth, against reliever Dakota Forsyth. Cieri smoked a line drive to right center for a two-out double, the Terps’ only extra-base hit of the afternoon. Papio followed with a walk to put men on first and second for pinch hitter Kengo Kawahara. Penn State countered by bringing in closer Jack Anderson, who was in search of his school-record 23rd career save. Anderson struck out Kawahara on four pitches to keep the Terps off the scoreboard.
Meanwhile, Taylor Bloom, who missed his last start due to an ankle injury, continued his strong season on the mound. After surrendering a leadoff home run to Nick Riotto, he settled in and matched zeroes with Nittany Lions starter Sal Biasi (5-4). He needed just 85 pitches to complete eight innings, as he didn’t run into trouble until his final frame, when Willie Burger drove in Jim Haley with an RBI single to give Penn State an important insurance run. Despite Saturday’s loss, Bloom sports a 2.12 ERA on the season, good for fourth in the Big Ten.
Maryland brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth after a Madison Nickens single, but Kevin Smith and Dunn both grounded out to end the game. Game 2 of the doubleheader is set to start at 6:05 p.m. Saturday. The Terps will send Brian Shaffer to the mound as they look for a series victory in the rubber match.