By Megan Smedley
Maryland won the series against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday after winning 9-5 and it was all for Tayler Stiles. Stiles started the game but was injured on a line drive by Dustin Vaught. Stiles collapsed to the ground in pain holding the left side of his face. He received a standing ovation as paramedics carted him off the field. The Maryland baseball team was visibly shaken by the incident and came together for a team-wide prayer for Stiles.
“Tayler is as good of a guy as there is,” said Maryland head coach John Szefc. “He’s an easy guy to root for. Not to mention he’s one of our best players.”
Szefc credits Anthony Papio for calming the team down and getting them mentally focused again. Robert Galligan began warming up to pitch while Maryland’s fielders tried to maintain their emotions. Galligan called the team to the mound to calm them down.
“Guys were saying prayers as I was coming in and had tears in their eyes,” said Galligan. “That’s why I brought them all in. I said ‘Hey guys, come on, just give me everything you’ve got right now. If anything let’s do it for Tayler.”
The Terps jumped out to an early 3-1 run lead in the first following RBI singles from Kevin Martir and Papio. Another run was scored in the third from a Martir double. Brandon Lowe added some insurance runs in the sixth when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Lowe hit a two RBI single up the middle putting the Terps up 6-2. Galligan exited in the seventh inning after allowing one earned run on six hits with six strikeouts. Galligan is normally a relief pitcher but his recent appearances have been for extended amounts of time.
“It’s just kind of endurance,” said Galligan on his extended appearances. “Just preparing well and being ready for anything.”
Anthony Papio launched a solo shot over the center field wall in the seventh, his fifth homerun of the year. The Terps tacked on a couple of extra runs in the eighth following an RBI single from Zach Jancarski and an RBI double from Kevin Smith. With this win, Maryland improves to 27-10 on the year. They finish out the series against Cal State Sunday at 1 p.m.
“I’ve been doing this for 26 years now and that’s probably the best team performance I’ve seen considering the situation,” said Szefc.