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Great pitching gives Terps DH sweep of OSU

By: Anirudh Sridhar

Taylor Bloom was masterful in the Terps first game of their double-header against Ohio State, pitching a complete game shutout with fewer than 100 pitches thrown.

Taylor Bloom was masterful in the Terps first game of their double-header against Ohio State, pitching a complete game shutout with fewer than 100 pitches thrown.

After losing two out of three to Iowa earlier in the year, the Terps guaranteed themselves a win in their second Big Ten series as they swept Ohio State in a Friday double-header, winning the first game 3-0 and walking-off for a 2-1 victory in the night cap.

Stellar pitching from both teams highlighted a cold day of baseball in College Park. A call for inclement weather on Saturday forced the Friday double-header with the third game of the series scheduled for Sunday.

Right-handed pitcher Taylor Bloom made his first Friday start for the Terps and threw a complete-game shutout in the first game that started at 1:30. He only threw 90 pitched, 64 of which were strikes and he conceded only three hits. It was the third complete game with fewer than 100 pitches thrown for the Terps this season.

“I tried to keep the same mentality; go out there and keep attacking the zone,” Bloom said. “Our bullpen’s been kind of shaky this year, so it’s good to get as many innings as you can and obviously me and (Brian) Shaffer have done that a lot recently. We need to keep the momentum going into Sunday.”

Bloom did not allow a base runner until the sixth inning of the game. But that point Maryland already had a lead. They actually took the last early in the game. Ohio State went three-up, three-down on just five pitches and the Terps followed with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Madison Nickens took a leadoff walk, and as they say, leadoff walks always end up hurting. Nickens scored not too long later after No. 4 hitter Nick Cieri singled to left field. No. 1 hitter Nick Dunn, who singled in his at bat, scored on a passed ball just moments later.

In the sixth inning, Grant Davis became Ohio State’s first baserunner when he was hit by a pitch, but Bloom got out of the inning unscathed. Maryland added some extra insurance in the bottom of the inning when Marty Costes homered to center field.

Bloom just never allowed Ohio State the opportunity to come back in the game.

And with the rested bullpen, and Shaffer starting on the hill in the second game, the pitching once again shut the Buckeyes down in the second game as Maryland improved to 17-15 on the season.

Shaffer went seven strong innings and gave up only five hits and one run, while striking out five batters. Ohio State lefty John Havird was able to out-duel him early with eight no-hit innings before being pulled in the top of the ninth after hitting the lead-off man. Maryland was trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth with no hits in the game, but the Terps lead-off baserunner once again made Ohio State pay and he scored not too long later on an error to force extra innings.

Then, in the bottom of the 10th, centerfielder Zach Jancarski recorded the Terps first hit of the contest and later stole second base to get into scoring position. That set the stage for Nickens.

The right-hander stepped to the plate and quickly got behind in the county, but the 6-foot-2, 210-pound transfer from LSU Eunice smashed a double up the middle of the field for the game-winning RBI.

“I was trying to get something going he said. “We were so cold all game. We took some bad swings. They cracked under the pressure. That’s what you got to do, keep the pressure on them.”

The win was Maryland’s first extra-innings game of the season and first comeback decided by one run. Basically, they gutted out a key victory that will guarantee at least a .500 conference record by the end of the series.

“After the course of a successful baseball season, a lot of teams can look back at a day or two and say ‘Hey man, we grew up, we turned the corner or we became something on that day,” head coach John Szefc said. “We’ve been waiting for a day like this for a long time.”

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Anirudh Sridhar

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