Right-hander Mike Vasturia learned less than 30 minutes prior to Maryland’s series-opener against Michigan that he would be the starting pitcher. Taylor Bloom, the Terps’ typical Friday starter, was struck in the head with a line drive while stretching as the Wolverines took batting practice, and underwent concussion protocol rather than taking the mound.
Vasturia, with little to time to prepare for his second career start, allowed five runs in two innings before the Terps used a committee of first-year Maryland pitchers to get through an adversity-filled 10-4 loss.
Michigan, now on a 16-game winning streak dating back to March 14, wasted no time against the emergency starting pitcher. The Wolverines hit two home runs in the first inning and then used a two-out RBI single in the second to take a 5-0 lead.
Vasturia started on the mound earlier this season when the Terps played back-to-back midweek games against North Carolina and Elon during the team’s spring break trip. The redshirt freshman tossed two scoreless frames in Maryland’s win on March 21 against the Phoenix, conceding just one hit and a walk.
The 6-foot-5 right-hander entered the game with a 3.21 ERA in 14 innings this season, but thrown into an unenviable situation Friday afternoon, couldn’t manage to find a rhythm. Following his exit, Maryland used three freshman—Grant Burleson, Elliot Zoellner and Billy Phillips—to endure the middle innings.
Burleson, who pitched a scoreless 2.1 innings Tuesday against James Madison, entered in relief in the third looking to slow down the Wolverines. The freshman left-hander had another positive outing, allowing just one hit in two scoreless innings to limit the damage.
After four innings innings with just one hit, the Terps fought back offensively in the top of the fifth. Catcher Justin Morris and second baseman Nick Dunn singled and used an error to both move into scoring position with two outs. Junior left fielder Marty Costes doubled them both home to keep the Terps in the game at 5-2.
But the Wolverines responded instantly in the bottom half of the inning, as Burleson was relieved by Zoellner. Michigan scored three runs on four hits in the fifth, knocking the right-hander out of the game after recording just two outs.
Despite how deflating the night started, The Terps battled throughout the game even when deficits grew. Down six in the top of the seventh, Maryland used a two-RBI double from Dunn to make it a 8-4 ballgame.
Phillips—Maryland’s fourth pitcher of the game—surrendered a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh, but only allowed the lone run in 2.1 innings. Redshirt senior Alec Tuohy pitched the eighth, allowing an unearned run in his inning of work.
Even though Maryland had to utilize five pitchers in the series-opener, it did so without throwing John Murphy and Kevin Biondic—the bullpen’s top arms—and starters Hunter Parsons and Tyler Blohm, who were said to be available in relief Friday with weather potentially canceling Saturday’s game.
Game 2 between the Terps and Wolverines is currently scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on Saturday.