Costes’ heroics propel Maryland to Big Ten series win against Spartans

With his team down by a run and the bases loaded with two outs, Maryland outfielder Marty Costes stepped to the plate. He was 0-for-2 until that point, despite hitting the ball hard, symbolic of his tumultuous 2018 season.

Then, the hit that he so desperately needed. A home run over the left field fence, clearing the bases for a go-ahead grand slam. It was the jolt the Maryland Terrapins needed, as they used the slam to top the Michigan State Spartans 5-1 and win the weekend series.

Costes’ heroics were hardly done after the deep fly. In the bottom of that fifth inning, the Spartans threatened to respond. After loading the bases thanks to a pair of walks by Maryland starter Tyler Blohm, Chad Roskelly drove a ball out to left field. Costes extended and made a diving catch, saving at least two — maybe three — runs. It was the inning the Baltimore native has been searching for all year.

Blohm’s tendency to work in and out of trouble was constant throughout the afternoon. The left-hander didn’t have great command on his pitches — as he walked five batters in six innings — but left seven runners on base in his final four innings.

His second straight Sunday start got off to a shaky start, as the leadoff hitter, Michigan State’s Danny Gleaves, reached with a triple. After a sacrifice fly, the Spartans had an early lead that lasted until Costes’ fourth home run of the season.

Blohm was relieved after six gutsy innings by Taylor Bloom, Maryland’s usual Friday starter that had missed his last three starts after he was hit by a liner in pregame warmups against Michigan two weeks ago.

Maryland added a much-needed insurance run when third baseman Taylor Wright lined a double that scored Zach Jancarski in the top of the eighth. The run proved instrumental, as the Spartans responded in the bottom of the frame. A pair of two-out RBI singles, one by Marty Bechina and the other by Adam Proctor, cut the Maryland lead to two. Bloom, who allowed three hits and two earned runs in his two innings, escaped further damage by retiring Bailey Peterson to end the inning.

After Bloom’s lackluster return to the mound, Maryland turned to closer John Murphy to secure the win. After the leadoff hitter reached on an error, Murphy retired three straight Spartans to conclude the ballgame. The final batter he faced, Justin Antoncic, popped out after an intense 14-pitch at bat.

The win improved the Terps to 5-9 in conference play, and gave them their first Big Ten series win since their series against Northwestern nearly a month ago.