Maryland baseball thrashes Bryant, 14-3, to open series

Maryland baseball loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth inning with no outs after a leadoff single and two walks. 

The Terps were in a similar position in the third, getting two into scoring position without recording an out before Bryant starting pitcher Tyler Mattison struck out the side to end the threat. Mattison was well on his way to do the same in the fourth, striking out Tavan Shahidi and Tucker Flint to bring up Bobby Zmarzlak with two outs and the bases loaded.

In the first, Zmarzlak Had  hit his first college home run, a two-run homer onto the roof of the back shed on the football practice field. He continued his career day at the plate, hitting a grand slam over the center field batter’s eye, putting Maryland ahead 8-2.

As he crossed the plate, first baseman Maxwell Costes shouted “Let’s go!” before chest-bumping Zmarzlak after he crossed the plate. It was the crucial hit that got the Terps going in a series-opening 14-3 thrashing of the Bulldogs.

“It was just a fastball, a little low,” Zmarzlak said. “I stayed through it and thankfully, I did it.”

Maryland was riding the wave of its offense, who put up 13 runs against Delaware in a 13-6 win on Wednesday. That continued against a Bryant team that was 2-8 coming into the weekend series. The scouts were out on Friday to see Mattison on the mound, but he had a rough go of things in his four innings of work. 

Despite striking out six, he walked five, giving up eight hits and eight earned runs over 99 pitches as his season ERA went up from 6.00 to 8.53.

The Terps jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead after the first, two coming from Zmarzlak’s first home run of the season and the other two coming within the first three batters of the game.

“I thought we were on-time,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “Mattison’s best pitch is his fastball and I thought we did a pretty good job at taking that away from him tonight…It’s big when you can go out and throw the first little haymaker…It’s a heck of a lot easier playing with a lead on a blustery day like tonight.”

Chris Alleyne increased his team lead in doubles with his eighth of the season to lead off the game. The center fielder tied the Maryland program record with a six-hit game, going 6-for-6 with a double and his first home run of the season.

“I trusted my approach that I’ve had the whole year,” Alleyne said. “See the ball up and hit it hard somewhere.”

Alleyne nearly got himself caught at third, slipping after Randy Bednar singled through the left side. A brief rainstorm before the game caused some slippery conditions, but an errant throw that got past Bryant catcher Gaby Cruz into the Bulldogs’ dugout, allowing him to score and Bednar to advance to third.

He came on a Costes RBI single and after one, the Terps had a big cushion for Friday starter Sean Fisher, who was tagged for nine runs against Coastal Carolina last weekend. 

Through some trouble, Fisher threw six innings of three-run baseball, striking out a career-high eight. For as well as the left-handed bounced back against Bryant, his day became much easier with an offense that generated 14 runs behind him. 

“[Fisher] was good,” Vaughn said. “He’s been that guy where the first time through the order, he’s lights out and the second time through the order, he’s scuffled a little bit. What I liked today is he kind of had that little scuffle, but then when we hung that four-spot, he settled right back in.”

Zmarzlak ended up driving in a career-high seven runs, coming up one RBI and one home run short of the program records for each. 

Overall, Maryland had five players with multi-run scoring games and four who had multi-hit games. The Terps benefitted from inaccurate Bryant pitching as the Bulldogs walked 12 hitters on the afternoon.

Connor Staine and Chris Chaney shut the door on Bryant, Staine throwing two scoreless innings and Chaney closing things out in the ninth for a statement win to open the weekend series.