Bloom struggles as Terps drop game one to Illinois, 10-6

Zac Taylor dropped the bat at home plate and jogged toward first base as the ball sailed over the left-field fence. Maryland right-hander Taylor Bloom stood on the mound and stared in disbelief as Taylor trotted around the bases with a grand slam that broke the game open, giving the Illinois Fighting Illini a 10-3 lead in the fifth inning.

Bloom has been the workhorse in the Terps’ rotation this season, averaging over seven innings per start entering Friday’s contest, but he was no match for the potent Illinois offense, as he turned in his worst start in four years at Maryland. The right-hander labored through five innings, allowing a career-worst ten runs on ten hits and five walks as the Terps fell to the Illini in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, 10-6.

The Terps (14-16, 2-2 Big Ten) kept pace with the Illinois bats early on, but struggled to solve left-hander Andy Fisher as the game went on. The Illini junior scattered eight hits and two walks over eight innings, allowing just three runs in his longest start of the season. Maryland rallied late, plating three in the ninth, but the comeback ultimately fell short. 

Meanwhile, Bloom was in trouble right from the start. The right-hander walked Taylor and gave up a single to Ben Troike to open the game, putting two on for the recently crowned Perfect Game/Rawlings Midseason National Player of the Year Bren Spillane with nobody out. The junior slugger delivered, smoking a double to the wall in left-center to put Illinois on the board. Michael Massey followed with a line drive over Randy Bednar’s head in right field, scoring two more as the Illini took a 3-0 lead before Bloom could record an out.

Bloom walked the bases loaded in the third and Michael Michalak followed with a double over Tommy Gardiner’s head at third, plating two. Doran Turchin added the sixth run of the game with a towering solo shot over the batter’s eye in the fifth. A pair of infield hits and a walk loaded the bases, and despite Bloom’s pitch count hitting 100, Rob Vaughn elected to keep his veteran starter in to face Taylor. The Illini leadoff man made him pay, promptly unloading the bases.

Like Bloom, Fisher ran into a jam early, as the Maryland bats got to work early. With runners on the corners and one away in the first, AJ Lee’s ground ball single scored Marty Costes, and Zach Jancarski followed with a bloop hit into shallow right field. Kevin Biondic came across on the play, pulling the Terps within one. After Will Watson’s infield single loaded the bases, a fly out and a strikeout ended the inning however, as the Terps stranded three in the inning trailing by one.

After this, Fisher shut the Terps down. The only other Maryland run crossed in the fourth, when Tommy Gardiner trotted home on the left-hander’s balk. Singles by Gardiner and Nick Dunn and a Costes fly out set up runners on the corners preceding Fisher’s mistake.

Following Bloom’s exit, Grant Burleson, Alec Tuohy and Billy Phillips combined to keep the Illini off the board for the final four frames. 

Justin Vought hit a two-run homer to right off Illinois left-hander Jimmy Burnette in the ninth to cut the Terps’ deficit to five, but that’s all Maryland was able to muster as the comeback attempt fell well short. Vought, who was pinch hitting for Justin Morris, has two hits in his college career – both have cleared the fence. Later in the frame, Jancarski drove in the Terps’ sixth run of the contest with a double to the left-center field gap, but Watson struck out to end the game.

With the loss, the Terps have lost two straight, and fall to 7-8 at home this season. They will look to even the series in the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader when they send southpaw Tyler Blohm (3-2, 4.50 ERA) to the mound against Illinois right-hander Ryan Schmitt (1-1, 3.68 ERA).

Series Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini

Last weekend, the Maryland Terrapins took two out of three at Northwestern in College Park to start off their 2018 Big Ten schedule. This weekend, the Terps have a tougher test when the Illinois Fighting Illini come to town. The Illini, who this week dropped out of D1Baseball’s rankings after being ranked 25th last week, own the second best overall record in the Big Ten (17-7, 4-2 Big Ten) and are 7-2 on the road this season. With foul weather due to arrive in the D.C. area Saturday, the series schedule has been altered, and the Terps and Illini will play a doubleheader Friday followed by a single game Sunday.

The Terps (14-15, 2-1 Big Ten) have continued their up and down season, following up their weekend series win with an 11-inning loss to William & Mary at home Tuesday. Maryland has not won more than two straight games since rattling off a five-game winning streak from February 25-March 4.

Nick Dunn continues to lead the Terps in most offensive categories, including batting average (.346), RBIs (22), home runs (7), doubles (8) and runs scored (25). He has hit safely in four straight, including a two-hit performance with a double and an RBI Tuesday against William & Mary. Marty Costes also collected two hits and an RBI against the Tribe, raising his average to .231 after a dreadful early-season cold spell, and after a 1-for-5 performance Tuesday, AJ Lee ranks second on the team with a .268 average.

The weekend rotation of Taylor Bloom, Tyler Blohm and Hunter Parsons that seemed weaker than the past couple years entering the season has been a bright spot for Rob Vaughn’s squad, with two of the three arms owning sub-4.00 ERAs. The bullpen has been more hot and cold, however. Kevin Biondic and John Murphy have been the two anchors in the Terps’ relief corps, combining for 40 strikeouts over 29 innings pitched. Biondic leads the team with a minuscule 0.63 ERA, while Murphy owns a 2.45 mark in his 11 appearances. Right-hander Mike Vasturia has also emerged as a go-to arm in the bullpen, making 10 appearances (nine in relief) with a 2.63 ERA.

Illinois has cruised through much of their early season schedule, meanwhile, but ran into some trouble last weekend against Iowa. The Illini dropped two of three at home to the visiting Hawkeyes, and had to fend off a furious Iowa comeback in the ninth Saturday to earn a 13-12 win.

The Illini offense has been lethal this season, averaging seven runs per game. The team leads the Big Ten with 31 homers and a .477 slugging percentage, and ranks fourth with a .281 team average. This is largely thanks to first baseman Bren Spillane, who owns a .494/.579/1.149 slash line that seems too good even for a video game. The junior leads all of Division I baseball in slugging percentage, is tied for the lead in home runs (14) and ranks second in batting average and on-base percentage. He has 100 total bases and 38 RBIs in 24 games, driving in nearly 23 percent of all of Illinois’s runs, and is a capable baserunner to boot, going 12-for-18 in stolen base attempts. He has earned numerous awards this season, including Perfect Game Midseason Player of the Year, and three Big Ten Player of the Week honors.

While Spillane steals the show offensively, he is hardly the only offensive threat in the Illinois lineup. Michael Massey is hitting .350 with 13 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs, while Ben Troike (.302/.405/.417) also holds his own at the plate. Doran Turchin is the other power threat in the order, tallying six homers, five doubles and a .556 slugging percentage to go with a .291 batting average and a team-high 19 walks. Three Illini regulars (Zac Taylor, Jeff Korte and Jack Yalowitz) are all hitting under .230 through 24 games, but their slow starts haven’t seemed to hamper Spillane and the rest of the offense one bit.

Illinois is not quite as dominant on the mound, posting a 4.37 ERA, but it matters little with such an electrifying offense. Outside of the weekend starters – more on them below – Ryan Thompson and Joey Gerber are perhaps the most important arms on staff. Thompson leads the team with 21.2 innings out of the bullpen, whiffing 23 hitters in those innings while holding opponents to a .183 average. Gerber paces the Illini with 12 appearances and seven saves, whiffing 17 hitters in his 11.1 innings of work.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 3 p.m. EST

R-Jr. LHP Andy Fisher (2-0, 3.75 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP Taylor Bloom (2-5, 3.93 ERA)  

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Andy Fisher will take the mound in the opening game for the Illini. The southpaw earned a win in last Saturday’s slugfest against Iowa, surrendering five runs (two earned) on five hits and six walks over six innings in a thrilling 13-12 victory. Fisher leads the Illinois staff with 25 strikeouts in 36 innings of work, but his control has been suspect, as he has walked 22 batters and hit four more. These wild tendencies have hampered his ability to work deep into games, with the left-hander completing six innings just twice this season.

Opposing Fisher on the mound is Terps Friday right-hander Taylor Bloom. The senior has been a workhorse this season, leading the Big Ten with 50.1 innings pitched – an average of over seven per start. He’s been the victim of some tough luck, as he has pitched better than the 2-5 record would suggest. Last time out against Northwestern, he tossed eight innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and four walks, but was tagged with the loss.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 6:30 p.m. EST

So. RHP Ryan Schmitt (1-1, 3.68 ERA) vs. So. LHP Tyler Blohm (3-2, 4.50 ERA)

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Right-hander Ryan Schmitt will take the hill in game two of the series on Friday night, making his first collegiate start. The sophomore has made eight appearances spanning 14.2 innings this season, with his longest outing of the year coming last week against Iowa. Opponents are hitting just .188 off him, but five of the nine hits he has surrendered this spring went for extra bases.

One week after his best start of the season (an eight-inning, 12-strikeout performance against Stetson), Tyler Blohm struggled mightily against Northwestern last time out, surrendering five runs on eight hits and three walks in just 4.2 innings of work. The left-hander leads the Terps in strikeouts (36) and is tied with Hunter Parsons for the team lead in wins, and will look to return to his Stetson form against the Illini.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

So. RHP Ty Weber (3-1, 2.74 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Hunter Parsons (3-2, 3.33 ERA)

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Sunday’s ballgame may be the best pitching matchup of the weekend, with each team’s hottest starter taking the hill. After struggling to a 5.06 ERA through his first two starts, Ty Weber has nearly cut that mark in half since, including an eight-inning, one earned run performance on March 18 at Southern Illinois. Last time out, Weber lasted 5.2 innings against Iowa, surrendering two runs in a no decision. The right-hander leads the Illini rotation in most statistical categories, including ERA, innings pitched (42.2) and batting average against (.241).

After imploding in his first start at Tennessee, Hunter Parsons has quickly evolved into a dominant, dependable starter, pitching at least seven innings in each of his last five starts, including two complete games. The right-hander tossed seven innings of three-run ball last time out against Northwestern, earning a no-decision. His 46 innings pitched rank second in the Big Ten, behind only Taylor Bloom, and opponents are hitting just .223 off the right-hander.

Bullpen falters as Terps fall to William & Mary in extras, 6-3

William & Mary second baseman Sean McDermott dove for Randy Bednar’s ground ball up the middle and threw toward first as the Terps’ freshman sprinted up the line. First baseman Colin Lipke corralled McDermott’s low throw to retire Bednar and the Terps, as Maryland fell to the Tribe 6-3 in 11 innings Tuesday in College Park.

Taking over for Kevin Biondic on the mound in the 11th with the game tied at 3, Elliot Zoellner, aka “Fuzz,” hit two of the first three hitters he faced, putting runners on the corners for the Tribe (11-18). After a well-placed sac bunt attempt loaded the bases, Lipke poked a single through the right side, breaking the tie to give William & Mary a two-run lead. Grant Burleson replaced Zoellner (1-2) and walked in a run later in the frame to put the Tribe up 6-3.

Maryland (14-15) squandered golden opportunities to win the game in the eighth and ninth innings, wasting a runner on third with no out and one out, respectively. Down by three in the 11th, the Terps looked to put a rally together against Tribe closer Wade Strain. AJ Lee singled to lead off the frame and Zach Jancarski was hit by a pitch to put two on and no out with the tying run coming to the plate. But the next three hitters couldn’t progress the rally further, with Bednar’s ground out sealing the Terps’ fate.

“You give us the runner at third base with nobody out to win a game, you should be able to book it that the game’s over at that point,” head coach Rob Vaughn said after the game. “You leave 17 guys on base at home and can’t execute like that you don’t have a chance to win.”

The extra-innings loss negated the best start of freshman Mark DiLuia’s young career. The right-hander, who has been hit hard in several of his outings this year, tied a career-high with six innings of work, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six.

But his Tribe counterpart was just as brilliant early on. Maryland’s offense couldn’t get anything going through four innings against Tribe right-hander Nick Butts, drawing five walks but failing to crack the hit and run columns on the scoreboard. Once Butts exited in favor of fellow right-hander Jamie Sara, however, the Terps’ bats came alive.

Trailing by one, Taylor Wright ignited a Maryland rally leading off the fifth against Sara with a double down the left-field line – the first Terp hit of the afternoon. Two batters later, Nick Dunn drove Wright home with a line drive single to center, picking up his team-best 22nd RBI and tying the game at 1-1. The Terps had a chance to take the lead, after a Costes single put men on first and second with two out, but Kevin Biondic struck out on a high 3-2 fastball to end the inning.  

Down 2-1 in the seventh, Nick Dunn led off the inning with a double over the head of Tribe left fielder Brandon Raquet, and immediately moved up to third on a wild pitch. Marty Costes collected his second hit of the game, driving in Dunn with a single up the middle to again tie the game, this time at 2-2. Sara again shut down the Terps’ hopes of a larger rally, however, inducing two fly outs before whiffing Jancarski on a 3-2 pitch.

Again down by a run in the eighth, Watson walked to lead off the frame. Wright squared to bunt, laid it down, and sprinted toward first, as William & Mary pitcher Charlie Fletcher picked up the ball and fired it wide of first down the right field line. Watson rounded third and scored easily, and Wright ended up at third on a three-base throwing error as the Terps tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth. With Wright at third and no out, the Terps taking the lead seemed imminent, but Richie Schiekofer and Justin Vought, the next two hitters, couldn’t drive him home. With two out in the inning, Dunn and Costes walked to load the bases, but Biondic flied out to center. 

Looking to walk it off, AJ Lee led off the ninth inning with a bouncing ball to third base, and while the throw to first beat the Maryland shortstop by a step, William & Mary first baseman Colin Lipke couldn’t hold on to it, and Lee was safe. After moving up on a sacrifice bunt, Lee stole third, putting the winning run in scoring position with one away, but Will Watson grounded out and Taylor Wright struck out to send the game to extras.

DiLuia ran into early trouble when Tribe leadoff man Ryan Hall lined the third pitch of the game into the left-field corner for a double. He settled down and retired the next two hitters, and was one strike away from escaping the inning unscathed, but William & Mary catcher Hunter Smith dropped an RBI single in front of Marty Costes in right to put the Tribe in front, 1-0.

After the early blemish, however, DiLuia settled down to give the Terps some much-needed length in a midweek start. He allowed runners on in the second and third, but was able to pitch out of jams to avoid further damage. Terps catcher Justin Vought helped his pitcher by throwing out would-be base stealers in both frames. The only marks against him in his final three innings of work were a fifth-inning error and a sixth-inning hit by pitch, neither of which the Tribe could do anything with.

“Mixing pitches was a big thing today, I had the changeup that was working well, so it was tough for guys to sit on three pitches,” DiLuia said of his success Tuesday. “I thought I did a good job just moving the ball in and out.”

Mike Vasturia took over on the mound in the seventh after DiLuia’s six brilliant frames, but immediately got into a jam, walking and hitting the first two batters he faced, respectively. After a pop up, Zach Pearson, William & Mary’s leading hitter, lined a single back up the middle to score Owen Socher from second and give the Tribe a 2-1. The big right-hander was able to retire the next two hitters however to keep the Maryland deficit at one run.

An inning later, after the Terps tied it up again, Tribe first baseman Colin Lipke greeted new Terps pitcher Sean Fisher with a monster solo home run that cleared the center field wall by plenty. A Hunter Smith double ushered a quick exit for Fisher in favor of John Murphy, who recorded the final two outs of the inning. 

Murphy fired a 1-2-3 ninth inning before handing things over to Biondic in the tenth. The two-way star allowed two William & Mary hitters to reach before retiring the Tribe in the first frame of free baseball.

Maryland is back in action this weekend to host Illinois in a three-game set, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

Game Preview: William & Mary Tribe

After losing their Big Ten opener Friday night to Northwestern, the Maryland Terrapins bounced back to win Saturday and Sunday to capture a victory in their first conference series of the year. Now, they play the fourth of seven straight home games Tuesday when they play host to the William & Mary Tribe.

This is the second meeting of the year between Maryland (14-14) and William & Mary (10-18). The Terps traveled to Williamsburg on February 21 in their first midweek contest of the year, falling to the Tribe 10-4. The Maryland bats were largely quiet in that contest, collecting just four hits, although Zach Jancarski went deep twice.

Maryland has had an up-and-down season, rattling off both five-game winning and losing streaks in the first 28 contests. The Terps have not been able to replicate their home success from a year ago, going 7-6 at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium this season, but they have won four of their last six in College Park, and will look to continue that trend Tuesday.

Junior second baseman Nick Dunn has lived up to the Preseason Third-Team All-American hype, leading the team in most offensive categories, including batting average (.340), slugging (.612), home runs (7) and RBIs (21). His seven homers eclipse his career total of six he posted in his first two years at Maryland. Kevin Biondic, who hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning of Sunday’s win, ranks second on the team with three homers and 19 RBIs. Continuing to break out of his early slump, Marty Costes collected two hits in Sunday’s contest to raise his average back up to .218. The junior outfielder is also tied with Zach Jancarski with a team-best six stolen bases.

On the mound, Maryland has struggled at times, allowing over 5.5 runs per game this season. Weekend starters Taylor Bloom, Tyler Blohm and Hunter Parsons have pitched well for the most part, with just a couple blemishes on each pitcher’s record this spring. In addition to being a powerful bat in the middle of the lineup, Biondic has been the Terps’ best arm out of the bullpen, pitching to an 0.68 ERA, with two saves, 15 strikeouts and four walks in 13.1 innings. Right-hander John Murphy also has two saves and a 2.77 ERA in 10 appearances spanning 13 innings. Mike Vasturia has made nine appearances (eight in relief), tossing 12.2 innings with a 2.13 ERA. Outside of these three arms, however, the Terps’ bullpen has struggled, with no other pitcher posting an ERA under six.

While the Terps have won four of their last six contests, the Tribe have struggled of late, dropping two straight and five of their last seven. They won the series opener, 7-3, at home against UNC Wilmington Friday night but couldn’t muster any more offense for the rest of the weekend, scoring just four runs combined on Saturday and Sunday. The William & Mary offense has been anemic for most of the season, hitting .215 with a .580 team OPS while averaging less than four runs per game.

Zach Pearson has been one of the few bright spots offensively for the Tribe, leading the team with a .300 average and .333 on-base percentage. The junior infielder collected multiple hits in two of three games over the weekend, and is the only Tribe regular hitting over .250 for the year. Hunter Smith provides the pop for William & Mary, leading the team with five homers, 20 RBIs and a .420 slugging percentage, albeit posting a low .241 average. The junior backstop went deep in the Tribe’s most recent contest Sunday against UNC Wilmington.

The William & Mary bats have struggled mightily, but the arms have kept the team competitive at times. Two of the three weekend starters – Bodie Sheehan and Chris Farrell – have sub-3.20 ERAs, and the four Tribe relievers with at least ten appearances have all pitched well. Sophomore right-hander Wade Strain leads the team with 14 appearances, 23.1 relief innings and a 1.93 ERA. He has been able to minimize damage, posting a 1.34 WHIP but allowing just five runs in his appearances this season. Right-hander Michael Toner has whiffed 27 in 21.1 innings of relief work with a 2.95 ERA, and Charlie Fletcher and Andrew Burnick both have sub-4 ERAs in 25 combined appearances out of the bullpen.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Nick Butts (1-1, 5.89 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Mark DiLuia (1-2, 8.28 ERA)

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Junior right-hander Nick Butts will take the mound for William & Mary Tuesday afternoon. A two-way player, Butts has made nine appearances (four starts) on the mound while hitting .162 in 37 at-bats as an infielder. Butts got the start for the Tribe in the last meeting between these two teams on February 21, surrendering one run – a Zach Jancarski solo shot – over two innings before turning things over to the bullpen. He hasn’t lasted more than 2.1 innings in any of his starts, but has pitched well in his last two starts, tossing four combined scoreless innings between the two. Butts has strikeout stuff, whiffing 20 in 18.1 innings of work, but is prone to allowing baserunners, with a .278 opponents’ average and 1.42 WHIP.

Freshman Mark DiLuia gets the ball once again for Maryland on Tuesday. The right-hander has made five midweek starts this season (seven total appearances) with mixed results. He lasted just three innings in his most recent start, last Tuesday at Richmond, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out two and walking one. While he didn’t bring his best stuff, he kept the Terps in the game before the bullpen let things get out of hand in a 10-3 setback. DiLuia, one of three Maryland freshmen drafted out of high school last June, has electric stuff, evidenced by nearly one strikeout per inning this season (22 strikeouts in 25 frames). However, he has also been hit hard, surrendering 40 hits in those 25 innings with a .360 opponents’ average.

Hunter Parsons named Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week

Maryland right-hander Hunter Parsons earned Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week honors after a tossing a complete game shutout Sunday against Stetson. The junior needed just 101 pitches to go the distance, striking out nine Hatters and allowing just three baserunners – a pair of singles and a hit by pitch. His effort on the mound guided the Terps to a 2-0 victory in the rubber match of the home series against Stetson as they climbed back to .500 (12-12) on the season.

Hunter Parsons – seen here pitching against Army on Feb. 25 – earned Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week honors after a complete game shutout against Stetson on Sunday. Photo by Amanda Broderick/Maryland Baseball Network

The Fruitland, Maryland, native is the second Terp named Pitcher of the Week this season, after senior right-hander Taylor Bloom earned the honor Feb. 19 for his seven-inning shutout performance in the season opener at Tennessee. Parsons shares the award this week with Iowa right-hander Brady Schanuel who tossed seven one-hit shutout innings in the Hawkeyes’ win over No. 11 Indiana.

This is Parsons’ first Pitcher of the Week honor. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week in April 2016 after allowing two hits and one run in seven innings against James Madison.

Sunday was the second complete game of the season for Parsons, who allowed three runs (two earned) in a nine-inning victory over Bryant March 11 in College Park. After a rough start to the season, Parsons has gone at least seven innings in four straight starts, pitching to a 0.84 ERA and 0.78 WHIP over that stretch while striking out 23 batters in 32 innings. He now leads Maryland starters with a 3.23 ERA and ranks second in innings pitched (39) behind Bloom.

Parsons fires complete game as Maryland takes rubber game from Bryant, 5-3

Rob Vaughn stood on the mound with right-hander Hunter Parsons and the Terps’ infield. With two out in the ninth, Bryant runners on the corners and Maryland clinging to a two-run lead, closer John Murphy was ready in the bullpen. But Parsons wasn’t ready to head to the dugout, telling Vaughn that he wanted to get that last out, to which the Terps’ head coach said “all right buddy, go get him.”

Parsons did just that, inducing a ground ball to third for the final out of his first career complete game, as Maryland (9-6) defeated Bryant, 5-3, Sunday in College Park to win the weekend series. The junior right-hander needed just 102 pitches to finish the nine innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on ten hits, and Marty Costes drove in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning RBI single.

“He snuck a fastball up under his hands, made a great pitch,” Vaughn said of Parsons’ approach on the final hitter of the game. “That was one of the best-pitched games I’ve seen all year, much less just out of him.”

Tied 3-3 heading to the bottom of the eighth, Zach Jancarski and Nick Dunn singled with one out in front of Costes, who has struggled mightily at the plate to start the season. But the Terps’ right fielder came through, poking an 0-2 pitch through the right side to score Jancarski. The next hitter, Kevin Biondic, drove home Dunn with a sacrifice fly to center to extend the lead to 5-3.

“Everyone in this dugout is super confident that the person at the plate is gonna get it done, and if he doesn’t get it done, then the guy after him will,” Jancarski said. “That’s kinda the way our offense works, and why we’re good.”

Parsons (2-1), who struggled in his first couple appearances of the year, dominated the Bulldogs all afternoon, throwing Maryland’s first nine-inning complete game since Brian Shaffer blanked Indiana in the 2016 Big Ten Tournament. 

“I didn’t know what the pitch count was the whole game,” Parsons said. “Going a complete game wasn’t really in my mind, I was just going out there and giving my all for the team, just leaving it all out on the field.”

His only blemishes came in the second, sixth and eighth, giving up one run in each frame. Bryant (3-9) struck in the second, executing a squeeze play after two ground ball singles put men on the corners. Sam Owens then lined a single to left that seemed destined to score Nick Angelini from second, but Marty Costes fired home and Ty Friedrich lunged to apply the tag for the third out of the inning, keeping the Maryland deficit at 1-0.

RHP Hunter Parsons and C Ty Friedrich celebrate on the mound. Parsons threw his first career complete game Sunday in a 5-3 Maryland win over Bryant. Photo by Max Marcilla/Maryland Baseball Network

In the sixth, the Parsons ran into trouble, allowing a leadoff double to Ryan Ward. James Ciliento, who had three hits Saturday, bunted up the third base line, and Parsons threw wide of first, allowing Ward to score as Ciliento pulled into second. Parsons issued a walk to Mickey Gasper, with Ciliento moving up to third on a wild pitch with still nobody out. But the junior right-hander responded well, inducing a pop out to left before getting Shane Kelly to ground into a double play to end the inning.

At just 73 pitches after seven, Vaughn sent Parsons back to the hill for the eighth with the Terps up 3-2. The right-hander gave up a single to center to Sam Owens, who quickly advanced to third on a wild pitch and a ground out. Ciliento stayed hot, lining a single over second base to drive in the tying run.

After Maryland rallied to take a two-run lead into the ninth, Parsons went back to the mound needing just three outs to secure a victory. The right-hander got two outs, but surrendered a pair of singles, prompting Vaughn’s trip to the mound. But the right-hander finished off Sam Owens and the Terps went home with a victory.

“[I’ve been] working a lot with [pitching coach Corey Muscara], a lot of next-pitch mentality, that’s something he preaches every day,” Parsons said. “I was just trying to pitch to contact, if the strikeouts come they come, but really I was just trying to end every at-bat with four pitches or less.”

The Terps’ offense stalled early on, managing just one run in the first four innings against Bryant left-hander Vito Morgese before breaking out in the late innings.

They got on the board in the second, when Will Watson was hit by a pitch to open the frame and Ty Friedrich followed with a single, putting men on the corners. Zach Jancarski hit a sharp grounder to third, but Bryant could only get the force at second, allowing Watson to score the tying run. Nick Dunn, who went 4-for-5 with four RBIs in Saturday’s contest, hit a frozen rope to right center, but James Ciliento tracked it down for the third out.

Down 2-1 in the seventh, the Terps put together a successful rally against Bryant reliever Tyler Mattison. Zach Jancarski reached on an infield hit to lead off the frame, and Dunn followed with a line drive off the right-field fence, just missing a two-run homer. Costes, who has struggled mightily at the plate this season, grounded to short, scoring Jancarski to tie the game. Sam Owens’ throw pulled Chris Wright off of first, and Costes was ruled safe, much to the chagrin of Bryant skipper Steve Owens.

With runners on first and third after a fielder’s choice and a Bednar strikeout, Lee worked the count to 2-2 and laced an RBI single the opposite way into right field, driving home Dunn and giving the Terps a 3-2 lead.

After Watson walked to load the bases, Bryant went to the bullpen again, as left-hander Logan Lessard took over for Mattison on the hill. Gardiner then popped out to center field, stranding the bases loaded.

Bryant tied things up in the top of the eighth, but Costes’s RBI single broke the draw and proved to be the decisive run. Each time that the Bulldogs scored, the Terps were able to respond with runs of their own.

“That game was back and forth, it was like a boxing match, just punch after punch,” Jancarski said. “We pride our offense just on being relentless, you know we never feel like we’re out of the fight.”

Jancarski and Dunn each collected three hits, as Dunn raised his team-best batting average to .358.

With the complete game, Parsons lowered his season ERA by nearly two runs, from 7.07 to 5.09. The Terps improved to 3-4 at home this season, and now travel to Delaware Tuesday, where Mark DiLuia (1-1, 5.25 ERA) gets the ball for Maryland.

Dunn leads offensive charge as Terps power past Bryant, 12-6

After managing just one hit in Friday night’s loss, the Terrapin bats came alive Saturday, plating 12 runs on a season-high 16 hits en route to a 12-6 Maryland victory over Bryant at home.

Nick Dunn tallied four hits and four RBIs, including a three-run double in the seventh, as the Terps (8-6) snapped their two-game skid and evened the series with the Bulldogs (3-8) at one game apiece. Zach Jancarski, AJ Lee, Kevin Biondic, Ty Friedrich and Justin Morris also turned in multi-hit efforts, as every Terp except Randy Bednar reached base safely in the contest. Tyler Blohm (2-1) picked up his second win of the year after allowing four runs over six innings while striking out five. 

“Our approach was much better,” Head Coach Rob Vaughn said of Maryland’s offense after the game. “We talk about really trying to hunt the inside half of the baseball, swinging and creating leverage in our swing. We did a much better job of that today, if you look at a lot of our hits today a lot of them were in the middle of the field. Very few hooked balls, very few hooked ground balls, and that’s something, when we’re going good, that’s what the offense looks like.”

Down by one in the bottom of the third, Maryland’s offense broke out, scoring five times and sending all nine batters to the plate. They loaded the bases with no out in the inning on three straight singles, including Friedrich’s first career hit. Dunn tied the game up with a single through the right side and one batter later, Marty Costes gave Maryland its first lead of the series with a sac fly to right. Biondic drove home another with an RBI double into the right-field corner, and Lee made it 5-1 with a two-run single up the middle.

After the Bulldogs cut the Maryland lead to just one run, Friedrich doubled to left center leading off the bottom of the sixth and was lifted for pinch runner Richie Schiekofer. Bryant reliever Jack Ipsen then uncorked back-to-back wild pitches, allowing Schiekofer to score. Jancarski and Dunn then singled, and Biondic’s sharp ground ball single past third scored Jancarski to make it 7-4 Terps.

Maryland broke it open in the seventh when Will Watson, Justin Morris and Jancarski reached to load the bases for Dunn. The Terps’ second baseman continued his early season tear, just missing a grand slam with a fly ball off the fence in left center field. All three runners scored, and Dunn pulled into second with a double, giving Maryland a 10-4 advantage. With his four driven in today, he extended his team lead to 16 RBIs. 

“It was a little warmer today, that made it a little easier, but just staying patient and sticking to my approach is probably the biggest thing,” Dunn said about his performance at the plate Saturday.

“The beautiful thing about Nick right now is that even his outs are pretty loud,” Vaughn said of Dunn’s success early on this season. “The only out he made today was his first at bat, and it was a laser to left field. He’s just running off a really good plan, doing a good job of owning the strike zone, and if you look, most of his hits are flying to the middle of the field.”

After his double, Dunn moved up to third on a wild pitch, and after Costes walked, Dunn crossed the plate on an errant throw to second by Bryant catcher Mickey Gasper. In the next frame, Lee singled – his third hit of the game – to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and came around to score on Morris’s RBI single to center for the Terps’ twelfth run of the afternoon.

Blohm was hit hard, surrendering nine hits in his six innings of work, but was able to minimize damage. Bryant stole a run off the left-hander in the first, but he then settled down, blanking the Bulldogs until the fourth inning. After the Terps plated five in the third, Blohm had a lead to work with for the rest of his time on the mound.

“[Bryant has] a very good team, they put a lot of good at bats together,” Blohm said after the game. “But on top of the defense that played flawless behind me and the offense giving me that support, that’s something that I needed today.”

In the first, Bryant had two on and two out when Tyler Panno, the runner on first, broke for second, and Terps’ catcher Ty Friedrich threw down, allowing Nick Angelini to dash home while Panno was caught in a rundown.

Shane Kelly cashed in on a two-out opportunity in the fourth, lacing an RBI single to left center. The Bulldogs cut the Maryland lead to one run off Blohm in the top of the sixth, when Panno hit a solo home run and Shane Kelly later drove in a run on an RBI double. Kelly homered off reliever Sean Fisher in the eighth, finishing the day with three hits and four RBIs. James Ciliento also tallied three hits for Bryant.

Fisher tossed the seventh and eighth innings for Maryland, pitching out of a jam in the seventh before allowing the two-run shot to Kelly in the eighth. The freshman southpaw picked off two runners in his outing, and struck out two Bulldogs. John Murphy pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the victory.

Maryland will look to take the rubber game against Bryant Sunday at 1 p.m. in College Park. Hunter Parsons (1-1, 7.07 ERA) gets the ball for the Terps against Vito Morgese (1-1, 8.10 ERA) for the Bulldogs.