For the majority of Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Maryland Terrapins struggled to bring runners around the base paths. That changed in the seventh inning, when smart base running and small ball helped Maryland take a 3-1 lead, which it never surrendered.
The Terps offensive continued its hot stretch, tacking on three more runs in the eighth inning to win 6-1. With the victory, Maryland advanced to 17-8 (4-1 Big Ten) while Rutgers dropped to 10-16 (0-2 Big Ten).
Maryland jumped out to an early 1-0 lead for the second straight day, as a pair of passed balls and an advancement on a fly out helped score Brandon Gum.
“[Gum] was off for 12 days getting that leg better and he really gave our offense a really big push in the right direction,” head coach John Szefc said.
However, unlike Friday, Rutgers was quick to respond, manufacturing its first run of the afternoon in the third inning. Carmen Sclafani led of the inning with a double, then came around to score when Jawuan Harris ripped a single past a diving Gum at third base.
Although his team evened the score, Harris made the final out of the inning when he was tagged out between third base and home plate after a wild rundown. Leaving runners on base became a trend for the Scarlet Knights, who left eight men on base and were just 3 for 13 with runners on base.
Rutgers had another opportunity against Maryland starter Taylor Bloom in the fifth inning, when it placed runners on the corners with no outs. Szefc made the decision to replace his No. 2 starter with reliever Tayler Stiles, and his decision instantly paid off, as Stiles escaped the inning unscathed and kept the game tied.
“He’s seen a lot of situations in his four years,” Szefc said. “I mean that was a tight situation he stepped into and he did a hell of a job.”
Stiles’ efforts did not end there, as the senior left-hander set a season-high by completing four innings, only allowing one hit and striking out three.
While Stiles held the Scarlet Knights offense, the Terps offense picked up late in the game — first with small ball in the seventh inning and then with big hits in the eighth.
Maryland re-gained the lead in the seventh after a bunt single and error on Rutgers, which leads the Big Ten with 45 errors. Then, a squeeze bunt from AJ Lee gave Maryland some cushion.
In the eighth, an RBI triple by Nick Dunn, RBI single by Will Watson and a balk scored three more, extending Maryland’s lead to five.
After John Murphy recorded one out, Ryan Selmer sealed the victory for Maryland by forcing a game-ending double play with the bases loaded. The two teams will take a quick break before beginning the third, and final, game of the series as the second part of Sunday’s doubleheader. Maryland will send freshman Tyler Blohm to the hill, who will face Rutgers’ Gaby Rosa.