For the better part of the last week, Maryland was the team that fell into an early deficit. The Terps had lost five games in a row, and had not held a lead in a game since March 13.
On Wednesday, they flipped the script, jumping out to an early 1-0 lead and continuing to expand it, topping the Elon Phoenix 11-3 for their first win in nearly two weeks.
Similar to their recent offensive struggles, the Terps’ offensive success on Wednesday was a team effort. Six different Terp hitters drove in a run, while eight of the nine starters recorded hits.
Maryland scored a run in the first inning on Nick Dunn’s sacrifice fly — the first time it has scored in the first inning of a game since its meeting with Delaware last week — but the real rally started in the third.
A pair of walks and a hit batsman set the stage for AJ Lee and Marty Costes, both of whom responded with two-run singles to give Maryland a commanding 5-0 lead in the third inning.
Lee has been one of Maryland’s better hitters during its spring break road trip, while Costes has increased his batting average over .200 for the first time in weeks after a jolt in production that coincided with a lineup change. The Terps’ star outfielder, once again, was in the No. 6 spot, and finished 2-for-5 with three RBI and a home run.
With the lead, a pair of freshman delivered RBI hits of their own. Tommy Gardiner drove in a run with a single in the fourth; Richie Schiekofer added to the lead with a single in the fifth. Kevin Biondic then put the Terps into double digits with a run-scoring single in the sixth. It was the fifth time in its 10 wins that Maryland scored double digit runs, and the first instance since March 10.
The pitching performance, which held Elon to three runs — well below its season average of 6.1, was also a superb group effort. Rallying behind reliever Mike Vasturia, who made his first career start, head coach Rob Vaughn rolled with a committee of six pitchers.
While Vasturia earned his first career win, the Terps got one inning each out of Elliot Zoellner, Sean Fisher, and Grant Burleson, in addition to two innings by Kevin Biondic and John Murphy.
Burleson and Murphy were the only pitchers to give up multiple hits, but even they only allowed one run apiece (Murphy’s was unearned).
While quite a few Big Ten teams will begin conference play this weekend, the 10-11 Terps will have one more chance to maintain their newfound hitting momentum. Maryland will welcome Stetson into College Park for a weekend series against the Hatters. Stetson entered Wednesday’s action with a 17-3 record, and were ranked 28th in the latest NCBWA rankings. This weekend also marks the Hatters’ first game action outside of their campus.