With the Maryland Terrapins’ bats in the midst of yet another funk, it didn’t take much offensive production for the Northwestern Wildcats to steal a road game from the Terps.
As it turns out, all Northwestern needed was one run, and it got more than it needed in a second inning, spoiling Maryland’s Big Ten opener with a 4-0 victory.
After Bloom gave up a walk and single to the first two Wildcats he faced in the second frame, a bunt, sacrifice fly, and single provided the visitor’s with the games first runs, and the only until the ninth inning.
The first run, which came home on Ben Dickey’s bunt, was fielded by Bloom, who flipped the ball home too late to get the runner.
“It’s great to get that lead runner, keep him from scoring, but you can’t not get that out,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “A couple little things right there that have just been coming back to bite us a little bit lately.”
Later in the game, Marty Costes gunned out a Wildcat runner looking to extend a single to a double, Kevin Biondic and Nick Dunn both made diving stops, and Justin Morris threw out a potential base stealer. The Terps’ defensive successes were overshadowed by their offensive woes.
Maryland didn’t have runners on base often, but when it did, they were often erased quickly. Both AJ Lee and Dunn were thrown out trying to steal second base, while Lee was also doubled up on a comebacker in the fifth inning.
While these may not have seemed like potential game-altering moments at the time, the Terps’ cold bats only increased the importance of every baserunner they were able to get. Lee had two of Maryland’s four hits on the evening, all of which singles. Maryland’s only two other base runners reached on a walk and a hit by pitch. As a team, the Terps were 0-for-10 with a runner on base, and didn’t have a runner reach second base.
These struggles were nothing new for the Terps, who have now been shutout four times — three of which have come in the last two weeks. Furthermore, they have scored four runs or fewer in 15 of their 26 games.
Once Bloom worked past the rough second inning, he had one of his better starts of the season. The senior right-hander completed eight innings, threw 108 pitches, and regained his control after walking four and hitting Jack Dunn twice.
Despite having a solid start, Bloom’s performance paled in comparison to Northwestern freshman Quinn Lavelle, who tossed a complete game shutout. The left-hander was spectacular, finishing the game with eight strikeouts, and lowering his season ERA to 2.10.
“You talk about competing with what you have tonight,” Vaughn said. “It’s just Taylor Bloom at his finest. It doesn’t matter what you give him that day, he’s going to give you a seven or eight inning performance.”
Northwestern tacked on an insurance run on an RBI double by Willie Bourbon in the ninth inning.
Maryland will have a chance to avoid opening its Big Ten season with a series loss when it continues its series with Northwestern Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Tyler Blohm, coming off a stellar eight inning performance, will look to force a rubber match on Sunday.