Bats go cold as Maryland falls to Army, 3-0

Tyler Blohm and Kevin Biondic each turned in strong performances on the mound, but the Maryland offense couldn’t get anything going for the second straight night as the Terrapins fell to the Army Black Knights in College Park, Saturday, 3-0. Maryland (2-4) has now lost four straight contests after opening the season with back-to-back wins at Tennessee. 

Blohm (0-1) turned in a solid start for a second straight week, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out five over six innings, but the left-hander was outdueled by Army starter Matt Ball (1-0). The Black Knight’s right-hander struck out seven over 7.2 shutout frames, as the Terps mustered just four hits for the second game in a row. Freshman Tommy Gardiner, who made his first career start for the Terps, picked up two of their four hits, including a double.

Blohm cruised through the first three frames, allowing just two infield hits and a walk and whiffing four. The left-hander got into a little jam in the fourth, hitting Army cleanup man John McKenna. Matt Hudgins followed with a line drive double into the left field corner which scored McKenna to put the Black Knights on top, 1-0.

In the fifth, Army struck again on a rally sparked by a dropped third strike. Tim Simoes swung and missed on a pitch in the dirt, but Terps catcher Ty Friedrich’s throw to first sailed high and Simoes reached safely. The next hitter, leadoff man Jacob Hurtubise, reached safely on an infield hit to first base, and after a wild pitch, the Black Knights had runners on second and third with just one away. Blohm then induced a ground ball to third for the second out, but Simoes scored on the play, doubling Army’s lead to two.

The Black Knights tallied a second unearned run in the seventh, off Maryland first baseman-turned-reliever Kevin Biondic. Gardiner, who took over at third when Biondic went to the mound, threw past Taylor Wright at first to open the frame, allowing Simoes to reach. Three batters later, McKenna blooped a two-out single into no man’s land in right field, scoring Simoes to make it 3-0.

Meanwhile, Zach Jancarski and Randy Bednar singled in the first two frames, but were each stranded at second. The Terps didn’t get another base runner until the sixth, when Tommy Gardiner led off with his first collegiate hit, a base hit up the middle. After Gardiner was erased on a double play, Jancarski reached on an error, but Nick Dunn’s sharp grounder to first ended the inning.

Gardiner, who hit ninth, doubled to right with two out in the eighth inning, turning the lineup over for leadoff hitter Marty Costes. This prompted Ball’s exit, as right-hander Jacob Carte entered and induced a ground ball to keep the Terps off the board. Carte set Maryland down in order in the ninth for his third career save. 

Biondic, a senior who made his first collegiate pitching appearance in the season-opener at Tennessee, tossed three strong frames, allowing just the unearned run in the seventh. The right-hander struck out five Black Knights, and now has a 0.00 ERA and eight strikeouts in five career innings.

The Terps will look to salvage one game of the three-game set against Army at 1 p.m. Sunday. Right-hander Hunter Parsons (0-1, 30.80 ERA) will toe the rubber for Maryland, opposing Black Knights right-hander Sam Messina (0-1, 10.80 ERA).