Maryland struggles, comes out on top in midweek against Villanova

In its next-to-last midweek matchup of the season, Maryland (23-22) struggled to find consistency on Wednesday against Villanova (11-30). After pulling ahead to a four-run lead early, a struggling Terrapin bullpen threatened to throw away Maryland’s lead in the eighth.

But a huge double play got the Terps out of the inning and Maryland pulled off its eighth midweek victory of the season, defeating Villanova 5-2.

Junior Tyler Blohm made his second start in as many weeks on Wednesday, after struggling with a lingering shoulder injury to start the Terps’ 2019 campaign. The southpaw retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up his only walk on the day––a four-pitch freebie to start the fourth.

Blohm bounced back and struck out the next batter with his 49 pitch, reaching his pitch limit and forcing the Terps to make the call to the bullpen. His performance on the mound earned the southpaw the win, his first since 2018.

Though reliever Nick Turnbull gave up an RBI-double to the first batter he faced, the righty quickly grew comfortable on the mound. A junior as well, Turnbull gave up only the one run in his 3.2 innings of work, striking out five Wildcats.

Behind Blohm and Turnbull’s solid arms, Maryland’s aggressive base running early proved worthwhile, the Terps’ four-run second inning all that was required for the midweek victory.

Maryland executed an almost perfect hit-and-run in the second, after Caleb Walls singled to start the inning. As Justin Vought made contact with the first pitch of his at-bat, sending the ball through the left side, Walls rounded second to give the Terps runners on the corners and no outs.

Walls didn’t score however, as the junior was tagged out on a sac bunt attempt. But the Terps loaded the bases on the fielder’s choice and a subsequent walk, and a groundout and back-to-back singles from A.J. Lee and Randy Bednar drove in Maryland’s four runs.

But the Terrapin bullpen almost threw away that four-run inning, after Elliot Zoellner and Daniel O’Connor loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth.

Freshman Andrew Vail and the Terps’ defense ensured Maryland’s victory, however, as infield turned an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, and the lefty struck out four batters to end the Wednesday matchup.

A solo homer from Vought to lead off the ninth capped the Terps’ offense, a simple response to the Wildcats’ busy bottom of the eighth.

Maryland returns home to face Michigan in a three-game series on Friday.