One swing changed the game for the Terps on Friday.
Bryant starter Tyler Mattison had ended the bottom of the third inning with three straight strikeouts to strand runners on second and third base for Maryland. The bottom of the fourth was about to end in similar fashion with the bases loaded, after Tavan Shahidi and Tucker Flint had each struck out.
But the freshman Bobby Zmarzlak stepped to the plate and made up for the past failures, blasting a Mattison pitch to center field for a grand slam. It was his second home run of the game and sixth RBI, en route to the Terps’ 14-3 win over the Bulldogs in College Park to start the three-game series.
Maryland got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. Chris Alleyne led off the game with a laser double into left center field and Randy Bednar drove him in with a base knock to left field. A throwing error by the third baseman allowed Bednar to advance to third as the ball rolled towards the Bryant dugout. Costes then blooped one to center field to give the Terps a 2-0 lead.
Later in the bottom of the first after Shahidi walked and Flint flew out to left, Zmarzlak deposited a Mattison pitch over the right-field wall for his first homer on the day to make it 4-0.
“We see that stuff every day from [Zmarzlak],” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “When he hit the first one I said, ‘That’s one-of-30.’ When he hit the second one I said, ‘That’s two-of-30.'”
Behind the Terps’ overwhelming run support, Maryland starter Sean Fisher did enough for the win on Friday, going six innings, scattering five hits on three earned runs. He also struck out eight with two walks.
Bryant put together a scoring inning in the top of the third, after a Derek Smith base knock to left, Jake Gustin hit a booming double down the right field line to score Smith. Gustin stole third base on the next play and was driven home on a Shane Kelly sac fly to right field to make it 4-2.
Alleyne kicked off the bottom of the fourth inning with a bunt single, which was one of his six hits on the day. With his six-for-six performance, Alleyne tied the school record. Then came Zmarzlak’s grand slam, after the Terps loaded the bases, breaking the game open 8-2.
“I knew I had to get something done, put the ball in play and just do whatever I can to help the team get a run,” said Zmarzlak on the added pressure going into his grand-slam at-bat.
The Bryant pitching staff surrendered 11 of walks on the day, adding to the Bulldogs’ woes. Mattison had five walks over four innings and reliever Jack Halbruner had three in 2/3 innings pitched.
Bryant got their last run of the game on a missile home run off the bat of Kelly in the top of the fifth inning. Kelly was two-for-three with two RBI to lead the Bulldogs’ lackluster offense.
The Terps held a 12-3 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, but the scorching offense added more. Cowles popped one over the center field wall for his third home run of the season, then two batters later Alleyne drove one over the right field wall for his record-tying sixth hit of the game, putting Maryland up 14-3.
“I just trusted my approach I had the whole year, see the ball up and hit it hard somewhere. I can’t control the ball once it leaves your barrel,” said Alleyne on his big day at the plate.
At the end of the day Bednar was two-for-five with a double and two runs, Costes was two-for-two with three walks and Zmarzlak finished the day with an impressive seven RBI.