Biondic, Parsons shine as Maryland dominates Ball State to complete weekend tournament sweep

Just one day after Maryland’s Kevin Biondic went 2-for-4 at the plate, made a pair of stellar plays at first base and even recorded a save on the mound against Coastal Carolina, the senior launched an opposite field three-run homer in the first inning against Ball State right-hander Kyle Nicolas. It was only the start of his seven-RBI game.

Paired with right-hander Hunter Parson’s career-high seven scoreless innings, Biondic’s third straight multi-hit game fueled the Terps toward a 13-1 win, completing a weekend sweep in the Johnny Gardner Law Group Tournament.

The Terps, who never trailed in Saturday’s win against the Chanticleers, got off to another quick start against Ball State. The first two Maryland hitters—Zach Jancarski and Nick Dunn—reached base in the bottom of the first, each putting themselves in scoring position. After a flyout, Biondic quickly proved his worth in the cleanup spot head coach Rob Vaughn moved him into for the first time this season Sunday, hitting his first home run since his sophomore campaign.

Biondic, who came back to the plate in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and the score still 3-0, singled to right field to extend Maryland’s lead to five. At that moment, he had all five RBIs for the Terps. He returned to the plate in the sixth, tripling to score two more for his eighth hit of the weekend.

“[Kevin] did’t get out of the gate the first five or six games the way he maybe wanted to, but started having better and better at-bats,” Vaughn said. “He was kind of the story of our offense over the last couple of days.”

While the Terps eventually scored double-digit runs, Biondic’s first-inning homer was all Parsons needed on the mound. The junior continued to pitch better with each appearance this season, allowing no runs on four hits with seven strikeouts. After allowing eight runs in his only inning against Tennessee two weekends ago, Parsons has allowed just three runs in 13 innings since.

“I always knew I had it in me,” Parsons said. “Last year was a struggle, learned a lot from it. So to be able to come out here and show how much I’ve learned through that process of struggling was really awesome for me.”

Parsons faced three batters in each of his first three innings, allowing just an infield single one time through the Cardinals order to catcher Griffin Hulecki. He elicited a 4-6-3 double play on the very next batter.

Ball State mounted a rally in the top of the fifth, but Parsons struck out two consecutive batters to get out of the inning and eclipse his longest start of the season, which he set last weekend against Army. Parsons had just three strikeouts in his first seven innings this season, but his seven strikeouts against Ball State set a new career-high. Parson’s seven scoreless innings matched a career-high he set as a freshman.

“He was back to his old ways of being the aggressor and I think that’s really made him the pitcher he is right now,” Biondic said of his starting pitcher. “I think it’s great to see.”

Following Biodic’s two-run single in the fifth, a Taylor Wright bloop single and a Justin Morris bases-loaded walk added two more for the Terps, capping off a four-run fifth inning to break open a seven-run lead.  Will Watson, who started in left field for the first time this season, scored Biondic after his triple in the sixth to make it 10-0 Terps. The Terps added three more runs in the seventh, highlighted by freshman Richie Schiekofer’s first collegiate hit, an RBI double.

Right-hander Mike Vasturia relieved Parsons in the eighth, sitting down all three batters he faced. Redshirt senior Alec Tuohy, a transfer from Buffalo, pitched the ninth in his first action for Maryland. He induced a double play but allowed a run, eventually capping off a successful weekend for the Terps after a sour series against Army.

“This is a good way to respond from last weekend,” Biondic said. “We had a lot of hard hit balls last weekend that just didn’t fall and I think this weekend it saw more ground.”