Maryland baseball fights from behind against Iona for 2-0 start

It was a game of firsts for Maryland baseball on Saturday morning, facing the Iona Gaels for the first time in program history.

Saturday also marked collegiate debuts for freshmen Nick Dean and Ryan Ramsey on the mound and outfielder Bobby Zmarzlak in the box — all part of a loaded recruiting class that the Terps brought in.

All three played integral roles as Maryland followed a similar path to Friday night’s win, going down early and coming back to defeat Iona, 8-2, in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

Dean took the mound after a stellar performance from Sean Fisher in the season opener. While the freshman didn’t get past the fifth inning, he had a strong showing in his college debut, striking out six in 4.2 innings, throwing 87 pitches.

He gave up two earned runs in the first two innings and walked two, but settled down well. Iona was first to score on Saturday, with a Sam Punzi RBI single scoring Brian Picone.

Maryland answered back with a lot of help from Iona’s pitching, which gave up 12 free bases to Terps hitters (seven walks, five hit batters) in the game. 

Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Maxwell Costes joined the early season hit parade, recording his first hit and RBI of the year, singling through the left side to score freshman outfielder Tucker Flint. The freshman continued his hot start, going 1-for-2 with three runs scored, getting hit with two pitches.

The third inning was Maryland’s break-out inning, much like the seventh inning on Friday. Outfielder Chris Alleyne whacked a leadoff double and Flint continued to be right in the middle of the action, getting hit by a pitch. 

It was more small ball for Maryland as outfielder Randy Bednar drove in his third run of the season with sac fly. After his RBI, the the bases got clogged and a walk and two singles accounted for the other three runs the Terps scored in the third. 

Infielder Ben Cowles crushed a ball deep to left field, but his bomb slammed against the wall and into the outfield. His hit, and a single up the middle changed a 2-1 Iona lead into a 5-2 Maryland advantage. 

The Terps tacked on three in the sixth and seventh combined, starting with another hit batter as Tommy Gardiner was beamed to start the sixth. After a double play, Flint came up next, doubling and scoring after an errant throw to first, putting Maryland up 6-2.

Alleyne and Bednar, who both supplied big bats in the season opener, came through with an RBI single and bases loaded RBI walk, each. Bednar doubled his total for the season while Alleyne drove in his third.

Seven Maryland hitters recorded hits in the game and six drove in runs, including Zmarzlak, who earned his the tough way, a bases-loaded walk in the third.

Unlike Friday, the Terps used two pitchers to finish the game, starting with the lefty Ramsey, who threw 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out four. 

Sophomore Sean Heine, who had a tough freshman season, finished the game for the Terps, striking out three in two scoreless innings to seal Maryland’s second straight win to start the season.