A dominant Friday performance and a couple of Marty Parties. The Maryland Terrapins’ series-opening 15-7 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers felt a lot more like a 2017 performance — and a much needed one.
Marty Costes was in 2017 form, and with three homers in his last three games, he may be re-shaping the narrative on his 2018 season. Just under a week after his go-ahead grand slam against Michigan State, the Terps left fielder belted a pair of solo home runs, and had a pair of run-scoring base hits.
Costes, who hit a moonshot in Maryland’s most recent trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, rebounded well from his 0-for-4 performance in a midweek meeting with West Virginia. He finished 4-for-4 with two home runs, a walk, an RBI single, and a two-run single on Friday.
The Terps needed someone to step up offensively, as their second-leading hitter, first baseman Kevin Biondic, was not in Nebraska for the game; he was in Chicago taking his Chicago Police Academy test. In his absence, Maryland got contributions from several starters. Five Terps drove in runs, eight scored runs, and a pair hit home runs.
The 15-run total was Maryland’s most of the season, and the first time it has reached double-digits since March 21.
Costes’ two homers bookended a lengthy second inning, during which Randy Bednar drove in a run with a double, and Justin Morris with a sacrifice fly. The Terps’ big offensive outburst came in the seventh.
AJ Lee got the rally started with a double that nearly cleared the fence in left-center field. He scored on a triple by Nick Dunn, who then scored on Costes’ single. Taylor Wright put an exclamation mark on the frame with a three-run homer, giving Maryland a nine-run lead, and plenty of cushion for its bullpen.
Mark DiLuia had a lead for the entire time he was on the hill, and his third career weekend start was arguably his best. The freshman completed six innings for the third straight time, but was more effective with his pitches. He allowed just four hits and two earned runs, walked four and struck out four.
Maryland tacked on four more in the eighth inning with two-run hits from Dunn and Costes.
The Terrapin bullpen struggled, but was not helped out by its defense. Ryan Hill allowed two unearned runs in the seventh after a Costes error. Then, after Hill loaded the bases, Mike Vasturia came in to clean up the mess, and did so without allowing a run.
He didn’t fare as well in the ninth, when he gave up a three-run homer to Luke Roskam. Ultimately, it didn’t have much of an impact, as the Terps held on to win by eight. Alec Tuohy relieved Hill, and recorded the final two outs.
Maryland will send Hunter Parsons to the hill on Saturday, as he looks to bring the team’s conference win streak to a season-best four games. The junior right-hander will face Nebraska’s best pitcher, senior Luis Alvarado.