By Gill Vesely
After opening their first 2015-2016 home stretch with a 1-0 victory over the Rhode Island Rams Friday, the Maryland Terrapins looked to pick up another win Saturday in the second game of the series.
Unfortunately for the Terps, the Rams had other plans, and were able to top the home team 2-1.
Maryland’s Taylor Bloom and the Rams’ Tyler Wilson were pitted against each other on the mound, with Bloom and the home team Terps taking the field first. Bloom got off to a hot start, striking out the Rams’ leadoff hitter Mike Foley.
Connor Foreman was able to figure out Bloom, lining a single to right field. Foreman then advanced to second on a throwing error by the Terps’ Kevin Smith. He later scored on another Maryland error, this one by center fielder Madison Nickens, to give the Rams a quick 1-0 lead.
The Terps’ Nick Dunn struck out to open Maryland’s day at the plate. Wilson then fooled Smith to get his second strikeout in two batters. A Nickens pop-out ended the inning and kept the tally at 1-0, Rams.
Bloom got two more Ks to open the second inning before giving up single down the third base line to Rhode Island’s Derek Gardella. Gardella was left on first after Bloom picked up his fourth strikeout of the game, this one on the Rams’ Matt O’Neil.
Maryland’s Nick Cieri and Andrew Bechtold were retired by the Rams’ defense in the bottom of the second before Anthony Papio was hit by a pitch to get to first. Papio advanced to second on a wild pitch by Wilson, but was stranded there after Jamal Wade struck out to end the inning.
Bloom got Foley down on strikes again early in the third, but Foreman followed with another hit, this one a double off the wall in center. Chris Hess singled to push Foreman to third, but Bloom was able to get out of the jam, keeping it at 1-0, Rams.
Marty Costes went down looking to mark the first out of Maryland’s half of the third. Brandon Smith then fell in the same way, giving Wilson his fifth strikeout of the game. Dunn reached second on an error by Rams third baseman Martin Figueroa, then scored on a double by Kevin Smith to knot it up at 1-1.
The Rams’ Ryan Olmo started the fourth with a long double to center, then advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Powell. Rhode Island got their second run on the board after another bunt, this one by O’Neil, scored Olmo. Bloom struck out Foley to end the top of the fourth.
Cieri doubled to right to get the Terps going in the bottom of the fourth, then got to third on a Bechtold bunt. Papio was again hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners. The Terps couldn’t capitalize on their base runners though, leaving it at 2-1, Rhode Island, through four.
Hess got a single then stole second in the top of the fifth, but Bloom got Olmo to pop out, ending the half inning without any further run damage. Wilson picked up two more Maryland strikeouts in the bottom of the fifth.
Bloom tallied his seventh strikeout in the sixth. Bechtold doubled in the Terps’ offensive half on the inning, but was not able to score, allowing the Rams to hold on to their 2-1 lead with three innings to go.
Jessie Lee and Foley went down swinging to record the first and seconds outs of the seventh and give Bloom his eighth and ninth strikeouts of the game.
In his first hit as a Terp, freshman Dan Maynard (pinch hitting for Brandon Smith) got a single to left in the bottom of the seventh. Maryland’s Kengo Kawahara pinch ran for Maynard. Dunn was hit by a pitch to get to first and move Kawahara to second.
Kevin Smith sent a long shot out to right that would have scored three, but it was called foul. He then went down on a called third strike, ending the inning.
The Terps’ Mike Rescigno replaced Bloom (who had a career-high nine strikeouts) on the hill in the eighth and enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning. Rhode Island’s Wilson (11 strikeouts) was also replaced in the eighth. Jake Rockefeller hit Nickens, the first batter he faced, but was able to get out of the inning unscathed.
Rescigno recorded a strikeout to get the first out in the top of the ninth. The Rams’ Sam Ilario, pinch running for Gardella, stole second then made it to third on a sac fly. Robert Galligan came in to pitch for the Terps and successfully closed out the inning, sending the Terps to the bottom of the ninth trailing the Rams by one.
Tyler Barss took the bump for Rhode Island and got Wade to fly out on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth. Costes was then retired before Kevin Biondic grounded out to end the game, giving the Rams a victory to tie the series at one apiece.
The Terps and Rams will play in the rubber match Sunday at 1 p.m.