After four straight losses, including three in a row by one run, Maryland’s offense said “enough” and left no doubt in a blowout win Saturday over High Point.
The Terps plated eight runs in the first three innings and cruised the rest of the way behind six stellar innings from Taylor Bloom en route to a 9-2 win in the regular season finale at Coy O. Williard Stadium in High Point, N.C.
Maryland (34-19) scored just one run combined in the opening three innings on Thursday and Friday, but equaled that total within two batters Saturday. Leadoff hitter Brandon Gum tripled off the right-field wall to open the game and AJ Lee followed with an RBI groundout to give the Terps a lead they would not relinquish.
That single run is all Maryland got in the first, but in the second inning, the Terps offense broke the game open. With one out, Kevin Smith roped a double to the wall in left-center, his ninth two-bagger of the year. A pair of singles from Madison Nickens and Justin Morris followed, driving in two runs. Later in the inning, Marty Costes chopped a ground ball down the left-field line for a double that scored two more and extended the lead to 5-0.
The Terps poured it on in the third, plating three more runs on two hits, with help from two High Point errors. Will Watson led off with a single and stole second. After stealing, however, he had to leave the game with an injury and Pat Hisle ran for him.
Hisle scored on a single from Smith and Smith came around to score for the second time when Madison Nickens tripled deep to right field. It was Nickens’ second triple of the season and it turned into another run when a relay throw to the infield got past everyone, allowing the senior outfielder to score. When the dust settled Maryland held a commanding 8-0 lead.
While the Terps were piling up runs, Taylor Bloom was befuddling the Panthers (29-21) and shutting down any thoughts of a comeback. The right-hander struck out the side in the second and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until there were two outs in the fifth inning.
He eventually tossed six innings, allowing just two runs and striking out three without issuing a walk, before ceding the mound to Tayler Stiles in the seventh. Bloom picked up the win to improve to 6-2 on the season, while High Point starter Trevor Holloway took the loss and dropped to 3-6.
The Terps used a balanced offense to put nine runs on the board, as every starter had a hit except for Watson, who walked once in two plate appearances. The bottom of the order in particular did a lot of damage as hitters Nos. 7-9, Smith, Nickens and Morris, each had at least two hits and drove in four runs combined.
Gum, Costes, and Nick Dunn each reached base three times, including three hits for Gum, while AJ Lee went 1-for-6, extending his career-long hit streak to 11 games.
High Point tallied 12 hits, but left 10 runners on base. Hunter Lee and Zach Vandergrift each had multi-hit afternoons for the Panthers.
Stiles pitched three shutout innings to close out the game for the Terps, striking out six and lowering his ERA to 3.72. He picked up his first save of the season in the process.