By Jacob Weinberger
A seventh inning three-run home run by Maryland Terrapins shortstop Kevin Smith propelled the Terps (25-20, 10-7) to a 3-1 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini (24-20, 8-9) in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader in College Park, Maryland.
Terps RHP Taylor Bloom was stellar all afternoon, scattering six hits and a walk over a 101-pitch complete game win. It was the sophomore’s fifth complete game this season.
The Terps offense squandered multiple opportunities to break through against the effective, but at times erratic, Illinois starting LHP Doug Hayes. The redshirt sophomore surrendered three earned runs, four hits and six walks while throwing just above 50 percent strikes in seven innings. He was dealt the loss.
The Terps loaded the bases on three walks in the first inning and had a baserunner in every inning but the third, yet the team was held hitless into the fifth inning and scoreless into the seventh.
The Terps finished 2-for-14 with runners on base and 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The Fighting Illini pushed across the first run of the game in the top of the seventh inning. With one out, second baseman Michael Hurwitz doubled to deep center field, and first baseman Pat McInerney followed with a RBI single to left field. McInerney was thrown out by left fielder Marty Costes trying to stretch his single into a double. Bloom surrendered a double to the next batter, but induced a groundout to first base to end the inning.
The Terps responded in the bottom half of the seventh inning with back-to-back one-out singles by center fielder Zach Jancarski and pinch-hitter Dan Maynard. With two outs, Smith launched a 1-0 fastball from Hayes over the wall in left field to end the shutout and give the Terps the lead.
The Illini threatened to tie the score in the top of the eighth inning. With a runner on first base and two outs, Bloom fielded a swinging bunt by center fielder Doran Turchin down the third baseline, but threw the ball wide of first baseman Kevin Biondic, allowing runners to advance to both second and third base. The next batter, catcher Jason Goldstein, hit a sharp ground ball to third baseman Andrew Bechtold, who made a nice play and threw across the diamond for the final out of the frame.
Bloom worked around a two-out infield single in the ninth inning to record the complete game win. His record improved to 6-3 this season.
The series will conclude tomorrow at 12 p.m. when the Terps and Fighting Illini play the rubber match of the three-game series. Brian Shaffer (5-3, 2.78) and Cole Bellair (2-3, 3.52) will face off. The game can be heard on MBN with Jake Eisenberg calling the action.