Maryland sweeps Princeton behind Blohm’s seven scoreless innings

Maryland completed its sweep of Princeton Sunday behind a career-best start from Tyler Blohm, defeating the Tigers 2-0 at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

On the heels of pitching six scoreless innings last Sunday against Bryant, the freshman gave up just two hits over seven complete innings and struck out eight batters for his team-leading fourth win of the season.

“I just thought I rode off that confidence from last week and prepared the same way, even harder this whole week,” Blohm said.

“He’s doing what you would hope a young arm would do as far as improving and getting better each time he goes out,” Head coach John Szefc said. “He’s throwing a lot of strikes, not giving a lot of freebies. He’s got a lot of poise for a young guy and we’re going to need that as we go into conference play next weekend.”

Through his first five collegiate starts, Blohm is 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA and averaging over a strikeout per inning.

“In the first three starts I felt like I was trying to get too big and I was trying to be someone who I wasn’t,” Blohm said. “And the last start I just tried to stay fluid and stuff like that and just pitch like I know how to. And its worked out for me.”

Blohm was not without help Sunday, receiving an early lead after a Madison Nickens’ solo home run in the second inning and two phenomenal defensive plays from Kevin Smith and Marty Costes in the fourth. With the score 1-0, Smith robbed David Harding of a lead off base hit with a diving grab at short. Then, with the tying run on third and two outs, Marty Costes sprinted towards a Paul Tupper-hit ball that seemed primed to hit the turf, but leaped  and stretched out his glove in time to make the run-saving catch.

“It was two outs and a guy on third, so I knew I had to be aggressive and stop the run from coming in,” Costes said. “I saw Jancarski going back on the ball, so I just decided to come in and just take a chance at it.”

In the bottom half of the fourth, Brandon Gum put a ball in play that dropped on the first base line in front of the visitor’s bullpen for a lead off double. After sliding into second base head first, Gum was slow to get up but remained in the game. The senior, who went 4-for-8 on the weekend, was evidently healthy enough to steal third base and then trot home after the throw from behind the plate got past Princeton third baseman Ramzi Haddad.

Gum left the game at the conclusion of the inning, with Kevin Biondic shifting to first from third base and AJ Lee taking the place of Biondic.

Maryland would not score any more runs after the fourth, putting the game in the hands of Blohm and the bullpen.

“Our bullpen has really been effective this year,” Szefc said. “Not just [the weekend starters].”

Jared Price pitched a scoreless eighth inning, setting Ryan Selmer up for a save opportunity in the ninth. But Selmer gave up a lead off double, prompting Szefc to bring in Andrew Miller to pitch against the left-handed pinch hitter Zack Belski. Miller walked Belski, which put runners on second and first and brought Tupper to the plate.

Tupper sent Miller’s first pitch high and deep into the right field corner, where Costes, who was fighting off the sun, was there once again to take away a game-changing hit from the Princeton senior.

“That’s just as good as driving a run in right there because he kept one or two off the board by making the catch,” Szefc said.

The next at bat, Miller induced a game-ending double play to give Maryland its eleventh win in twelve games.

“This is a type of day where our pitching staff and defense really picked up the offense,” Szefc said. “You’d like to think that good teams, they have different ways of beating you. And I think we kind of showed that this weekend and in the last week in general, where you got different ways of winning games.”

In three games against Princeton, Maryland allowed two runs, all of which came in Saturday’s game, and 13 hits. The recent play of all three weekend starters, Brian Shaffer, Taylor Bloom, and Blohm, has been momentous for the Terps who, start Big Ten play in less than a week.

Maryland will travel to Wilmington, N.C. for a two-game set against UNC-Wilmington Tuesday and Wednesday, before beginning conference play Friday at home against Michigan.

Lee’s three RBIs help Terps beat Princeton in game two

AJ Lee might have had only one hit Saturday against Princeton, but the sophomore third baseman was arguably Maryland’s biggest run producer in a 6-2 win at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

Lee went 1-for-2 with three RBIs, including two sacrifice flies and a poorly-executed sacrifice bunt that scored a run and stood as Lee’s only hit.

Princeton and Maryland exchanged runs in the second, with the Terps getting significant help from Princeton starter James Proctor. Proctor hit leadoff batter Brandon Gum with his first pitch and then moved the senior to second with a balk on a pickoff attempt. Gum advanced to third base on a Will Watson flyout and scored after a popped-up Lee bunt fell in front of Proctor.

Proctor, who appeared ready to make the catch before watching it drop, was originally scored with an error before Lee was awarded with the RBI.

The Tigers retook the lead in the third when a Gum error at first prolonged the inning, eventually leading to a Nick Hernandez RBI-single.

Lee recorded his second RBI off the day on a sacrifice fly in the fourth, scoring Watson from third base.

Maryland took its first lead in the fifth, when Marty Costes scored Nick Dunn with an RBI-single. Gum singled the next at bat, bringing Costes all the way home for what looked to be a crucial insurance run. But with Costes halfway into the Maryland dugout, he was ruled out for not stepping on third base.

Fortunately for Maryland, the mental lapse did not cost the Terps, who added four runs in the seventh to pull away from Princeton.

Taylor bloom pitched 6.2 innings Saturday, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits with four strikeouts.

Nick Dunn, Will Watson, and Madison Nickens each had two hits for Maryland.

With the win, the Terps move to 11-6 on the season and remain a perfect 7-0 at home.

The Terps will go for their third consecutive weekend sweep Sunday at 1 p.m.

Shaffer’s gem carries Maryland past Princeton

Another near flawless performance by Maryland ace Brian Shaffer, paired with a four-run sixth inning by the offense, propelled the Terrapins to a series-opener win over Princeton 4-0.

Shaffer picked up right where he left off a week ago against Bryant, running through the Princeton lineup, retiring 24 of 27 batters faced, with a career-high 10 strikeouts. Shaffer surrendered three hits over eight innings Friday, holding the Tigers without a hit for a four-inning span stretching from the second to the eighth.

Despite having a career day, Shaffer maintained a mental and corporeal steadiness that has allowed him to be so consistently good over his last two games.

“It’s just kind of the same state of mind as every other game,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer has quickly settled into the Friday ace role this season and has steadily improved his play and duration each outing.

Including Friday’s contest, Shaffer has pitched 15 innings, allowed one run on eight hits, with 18 strikeouts in his last two starts.

“I think its just experience,” Shaffer said. “Like last year, it was the same way. You start going five, then work your way up to six, and then go late into games. I think its just kind of getting the rust off still and hopefully see more of that from here on out.”

After five scoreless innings, Maryland finally broke through in the sixth with four runs. Three consecutive base hits by Brandon Gum, Nick Cieri, and Will Watson turned into the Terps’ first run and a three-run home run by Kevin Smith, who was without a hit up to that point, two at bats later blew the game open.

“I came up, I think the last two times with runners in scoring position and didn’t come through, so I was just looking for a pitch I could drive,” Smith said. “I should’ve came through a little earlier in the game, kind of kicking myself for that. So, going up there, getting another chance, I really wanted to come through for the guys because they had been getting good at bats and getting on base for us.”

Early on it appeared as if Maryland would never score, after multiple failed attempts to bring home base runners from third base. In the second, Princeton starter Chris Giglio overthrew his first baseman on a Madison Nickens’ bunt. Nickens reached safely and Watson, on base following a single, advanced to third on the error. But Giglio retired Smith the next at bat to end the scoring threat.

Maryland stranded base runners on the corners again in the third inning, but the Terps’ sixth inning offensive output was enough to give them their tenth win of the season, and its ninth in its last 10 games.

“This far into the season, its been more big innings than not,” Smith said. “So, we’re still going to stay aggressive. I mean, if they put pitches down the middle and we end up missing them, we might have a quick inning. But at the same time, if we hit them it might be a three-spot really early. So, it’s just kind of the tempo of our offense and [Giglio] kept us off balance but we came through when it really mattered.”

“Like last week, it’s just a matter of when its going to happen,” Shaffer said. “I wasn’t worried at all about the score being zero-zero. It’s just of matter of when they were going to do it. And they finally did.”

Giglio was a surprise starter for the Tigers, filling in for an ill Chad Powers, Princeton’s usual Friday starter. It was the senior’s first start of the season. He had been used exclusively in the bullpen through the Tigers’ first eight games.

Giglio pitched well through five innings, but was on the hook for three of Maryland’s runs in the sixth. He was pulled after 5.1 innings, giving up seven hits and striking out one.

Maryland and Princeton meet again tomorrow for game two at 2 p.m. at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. Taylor Bloom will pitch for the Terps’ and Princeton is expected to start freshman James Proctor.

Series Preview: Princeton Tigers

Maryland will look to get back in the win column this weekend when they host Princeton for a three-game series, starting Friday at 2 p.m. in College Park.

The Terrapins will be just Princeton’s (2-6) third opponent of the season, after the Tigers played Duke and UNC-Greensboro four times apiece to open their season. Maryland (9-6) is coming off a 9-2 defeat Tuesday to No. 11 North Carolina, their first loss in over two weeks.maryland-vs-princeton

Riding an eight-game win streak into Chapel Hill, Maryland’s productive bats were held to just one hit over nine innings and starter Hunter Parsons was pulled after 1.2 innings for a second consecutive start. After Parsons allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits, he was relieved by Ryan Hill, who was tagged for four runs in 2.1 innings of work. Nick Dunn had the Terps’ only hit, a two-run single in the third.

During the win streak, which started with a weekend sweep at the USA Baseball-Irish Classic, Maryland averaged eight runs per game and had at least six different batters record a hit in seven of the eight games. Head coach John Szefc has often acknowledged Maryland’s depth this season, stating his lineup is nine batters deep no matter the configuration.

Marty Costes has been red hot, leading Maryland in hits (20), batting average (.324) and homers (2). The Terps also boast a .400 OBP on the season, ranking 41st in NCAA Division-I.

After being swept by Duke in four games to start its season, Princeton responded with two wins at UNC-Greensboro last weekend. A late start to the season has resulted in a sluggish first few games for the Tigers’ offense, which has scored more than three runs just twice and is batting .203 as a whole. Already lacking run support, Princeton pitchers have also seen their defense commit seven errors in eight games this season. It won’t get easier for Tiger batters against the Terps, who allowed three runs in three games last weekend in a sweep of Bryant.

The defending Ivy League Champions will look to counter a dangerous Maryland offense with a rotation led by reigning Ivy League Conference Pitcher of the Year Chad Powers, who is winless in two starts this season. Fellow starter Ben Gross has been a pleasant surprise for Princeton, owning a 0.82 ERA in two starts, striking out 14 over 11.0 innings pitched.

Starting Pitching Matchup

FRI 2 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Brian Shaffer (1-1, 2.19 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP Chad Powers (0-1, 4.50 ERA)

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Brian Shaffer has stepped into the Friday ace role nicely this season, leading the team with 24.2 innings pitched while posting a paltry 2.19 ERA and .207 opponents’ batting average. The junior right-hander pitched seven innings last Friday against Bryant, giving up one run on five hits and striking out eight for his first win of the season.

Princeton right-hander Chad Powers is off to a less than stellar start, lasting only four innings in his initial outing against Duke on March 3 and getting the no decision last Friday after giving up two runs over six innings to UNC Greensboro. Powers posted a 2.45 ERA in 2016 and will be looking to return to form against the Terps.

Starting Pitching Matchup

SAT 2 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Taylor Bloom (2-2, 4.74 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP James Proctor (0-1, 3.75 ERA)

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Taylor Bloom will get a chance to earn his third win of the season, a week removed from throwing 104 pitches against Bryant in seven innings of work. The junior right-hander allowed four hits and was tagged with two unearned runs in a 9-2 Maryland win. Bloom posted nearly identical numbers in his first win against then-ranked No. 5 NC State March 4, going seven innings and giving up two runs on five hits. The right-hander has returned to last year’s dominant form after struggling early in the season

With three solid starts in hand, Freshmen James Proctor is making a good case to be Princeton’s third starter. In his last start against UNC-Greensboro, Proctor allowed only one run over six innings on four hits. His 3.75 ERA is second among Princeton starting pitchers.

Starting Pitching Matchup

SUN 1 p.m. EST

Fr. LHP Tyler Blohm (3-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. TBD

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Maryland’s wins leader, freshman Tyler Blohm had the best outing of his college career against Bryant, pitching six shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out six. The southpaw is only second on the team to Shaffer in innings pitched (18.1) and strikeouts (18).

Princeton has not yet announced their starter for Sunday.

Maryland’s big eighth inning results in fifth straight win

A six-run eighth inning lifted Maryland to its fifth straight win Wednesday, an 11-5 victory over visiting St. Joseph’s.

The Terrapins entered the inning tied with the Hawks but timely hits, including a leadoff solo home run by Madison Nickens, and two fielding errors by the St. Joseph’s’s defense, erased any doubt over the outcome elicited earlier in the game.

“Momentum is on our side,” Nickens said. “I’m the first guy to come up and I put us on top and everyone is just feeding off that. Everybody was excited.”

For the second time in two days, Maryland’s starting pitcher failed to make it out of the second inning, as Cameron Enck was chased after loading the bases and recording no outs in the second.

And for the second time in two days, the Terrapins received stellar play from its relievers, who combined to pitch 7.1 innings and give up only one run.

“That’s the second day we’ve been down by a big inning, so it’s a matter of trying to manage the staff through that game, as far as putting pitchers in the right position to hopefully be successful,” Head coach John Szefc said. “They really all did a pretty good job in general.”

The sophomore right-hander walked the leadoff hitter to open the inning, before giving up consecutive base hits to Matt Maul and Peter Sitaras, which scored one. Enck hit the next batter, which loaded the bases and ended his day.

Szefc called upon Tayler Stiles to replace Enck, one day removed from earning the win against William & Mary.

Enck remained on the hook for three more runs after Stiles surrendered two hits before striking out Charlie Concannon to close out the inning.

Stiles pitched into the fifth, where he was relieved by Jared Price. Stiles finished with four strikeouts and four hits over 3.1 scoreless innings.

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Junior Justin Morris gets mobbed by teammates after his home run. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 3/8/2017

Maryland used another big second inning to initiate its comeback, manufacturing a Will Watson run and then receiving a solo home run from Justin Morris.

Marty Costes tied the game with a two-run shot the next inning, and AJ Lee gave the Terrapins their first lead in the sixth with a solo home run.

St. Joseph’s tied the game in the seventh, and nearly retook the lead in the eighth, after Andrew Miller put the first two batters on with back-to-back walks. Miller was taken out in favor of Mike Rescigno, who retired the next three batters, setting up the Terrapins’ big bottom eighth.

“I mean that’s the save right there,” Szefc said. “Once you get out of that inning as the home team, things will normally go your way at the point. But if they don’t, God knows where that game finishes.”

Nickens’s finished with only one hit Wednesday, but it was a moonshot over the fence in center field that dramatically shifted the outcome.

“[Nickens’s] home run was huge,” Rescigno said. “That probably won us the game honestly. I mean we put up what, five more after that, but that home run was definitely big for us.”

With 11 runs Wednesday, Maryland has now scored at least nine runs in four of the past five games, and 43 total runs during the win streak.

“What we’re trying to do is to make it difficult, very difficult for an opposing pitching staff to work through our team for 27 outs,” Szefc said. “Which I think they’ve done a really good job of that lately and it hasn’t even been 27, its been 24.”

Maryland hosts Bryant for its first home series of the season, starting Friday at 4 p.m.

Game Preview: St. Joseph’s Hawks

Maryland looks to extend its winning streak to five against St. Joseph’s Wednesday when the Terrapins host the Hawks at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium at 4 p.m.

After sweeping the weekend games at the USA Baseball-Irish Classic, Maryland (5-5) came from behind to beat William & Mary 9-8 in its home opener Tuesday for its fourth straight victory.maryland-vs-st-joes

Head coach John Szfec was forced to rely heavily on his bullpen after Tuesday’s starter Hunter Parsons failed to make it out of the second inning. Relievers Ryan Hill, Tayler Stiles, Mike Rescigno and Ryan Selmer all saw action against the Tribe, with Hill throwing 3.1 scoreless innings and Selmer securing the two-inning save.

Szefc said he expects Stiles and Rescigno, who each pitched one inning Tuesday, to be available Wednesday, as well as Andrew Miller and Jared Price.

Counting Tuesday’s contest, Maryland has now scored at least nine runs in four of its 10 games this season, including three times during the current winning streak. The Terrapins received key contributions from Zach Jancarski and Kevin Biondic, who each had a two-RBI hit against William & Mary. Nick Dunn had two hits, giving him a team-leading 14 on the season.

St. Joseph’s (0-9) is still searching for its first win, after dropping games against Stetson, Western Michigan and Connecticut last weekend at the Stetson Invitational in DeLand, Fla.

The Hawks pitching has struggled mightily, with a team ERA of 8.80, and opponents batting .315. In its previous game against Connecticut, St. Joseph’s received a quality start from Pat Vanderslice, who pitched seven complete innings and struck out eight. But the bullpen gave up 9 runs over the last two innings in an 11-0 loss.

STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

WED 4 p.m. EST

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So. RHP Cameron Enck (0-0, 27.00 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Hayden Seig (0-1, 11.12 ERA)

Sophomore Cameron Enck will get his second career start and first of the year Wednesday. Enck has made two relief appearances, pitching two innings against Ball State in the season opener, allowing two runs on three hits with one strikeout. He struggled against LSU on February 25, when he gave up five runs in 0.1 inning. In his only start last season against Delaware, Enck was tagged with the loss, pitching 2.2 innings and surrendering five runs.

St. Joseph’s will give the ball to freshman Hayden Seig for his first career start. In three games of relief, Seig has posted an 11.12 ERA over 5.2 innings, with his best outing coming versus Pepperdine, where he allowed one run one hit with three strikeouts in three innings.

Maryland comes back from six runs down to beat William & Mary

Maryland’s bullpen combined to give up two runs over 7.1 innings and the Terrapins’ offense scored nine runs over six innings to complete a six-run comeback in its home opener against William & Mary, defeating the Tribe 9-8.

A Nick Dunn RBI-single in the sixth gave Maryland its first lead of the game, and the Terrapins added runs in the seventh and eighth to hold off William & Mary and push the Terrapins (5-5) to .500 for the first time this season.

It was the team’s fourth straight win after starting the season 1-4.

“We just came in and knew we were going to have to grind back,” Kevin Smith said.

Hunter Parsons made his first start of the season for Maryland but lasted only 1.2 innings after allowing six earned runs, including a three-run home run to Kyle Wrighte with two outs in the second.

Parsons faced two more batters before being replaced by Ryan Hill.

Parsons’ final batter was Cullen Large, who continued his scorching start to the season with a bases-clearing double, giving William & Mary the early 6-0 lead.

Hill struck out the next batter to get Maryland out of a nightmarish inning. Hill, making his fifth appearance of the season, pitched through the fifth, surrendering three hits, striking out six and giving up no runs over 3.1 innings.

Head coach John Szefc praised Hill’s performance, citing his three-plus innings of scoreless work as instrumental to the team’s comeback.

“Hill did a great job of putting three-and-third scoreless up to kind of let our guys, give us some time for our guys to come back,” Szefc said. “Because if we don’t stop it there, the end is not going to be that way.”

“When coach tells you to run down and get hot, a little adrenaline kicks in and you’re getting pumped,” Hill said. “You’re ready to get going and get in there and once you get in there you’re just like, ‘just throw strikes, get out of it and then settle down and just do your thing.'”

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Junior Ryan Hill pitches after replacing Hunter Parsons early in the game. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 3/7/2017

Hill often controlled the count, getting ahead of batters and showing good command of the strike zone.

Maryland chipped away at the lead with four runs in the bottom half of the inning, including a Kevin Biondic two-run RBI-single.

“Kevin Biondic has a big hit there to make it a big inning,” Smith said. “And once we put up that four-spot we kind of knew that we would be alright.”

“I give our offense an awful lot of credit,” Szefc said. “I mean they put up a six-spot and our guys jumped right back and put a four-spot up. And if you’re sitting in that dugout, you’re feeling pretty good about 6-0 and then all the sudden its 6-4. you’re not feeling so good anymore.”

Maryland and William & Mary exchanged three scoreless innings beginning in the third, allowing Szefc to not reach as deep into his bullpen with a game against St. Joseph’s tomorrow.

The scoring drought ended when Zach Jancarski double into right field to tie the game followed by Dunn’s go-ahead base hit.

Maryland added another run when pinch hitter Danny Maynard was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh.

Tayler Stiles pitched a hitless sixth innings and Mike Rescigno gave up one run on three hits over one inning.

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Redshirt junior Ryan Selmer celebrates after making his way out of a 9th inning jam. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 3/7/2017

After exchanging runs in the eighth, Ryan Selmer completed the two-inning save with a strikeout of Matthew Keane to end the game. It was Selmer’s second save of the season.

“Selmer had it,” Hill said. “When he’s out there, I know he’s got the job done and it’s a good thing to have him out there.”

Maryland looks to extend its winning streak to five tomorrow at home against St. Joseph’s. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.