On Saturday Maryland split a doubleheader with Penn State, thereby taking the series. It was the first B1G series win away from College Park since the Ohio State series last May. Penn State took game one 2-0, spoiling a complete game performance by Taylor Bloom. The Terps had plenty of opportunities to score early in that game but came up empty. In game two the Terps scored early and often, busting the game open with a four-run seventh to win 8-3. They were helped in the process by Penn State's inability to properly field bunts.
Penn State got all the run support they would need right off the bat. In the bottom of the first, lead off hitter Nick Riotto drilled a pitch over the right field fence to put Penn State up 1-0.
The Terps had two base runners aboard in both the first and second innings, but couldn't get the key two-out base hit. The frustration continued in the third inning. Nick Dunn walked, and Kevin Biondic dropped a single down the right field line. Nick Cieri drew a walk to load the bases with two away. However, Anthony Papio grounded out to first and the Terps remained scoreless.
RHP Sal Biasi settled down and retired seven straight hitters before walking Andrew Bechtold. With Biasi now over 100 pitches, that prompted his removal from the game. RHP Dakota Forsyth came in for the Nittany Lions and got Jancarski to ground out to end the top of the sixth.
Other than Riotto's home run in the first inning, Bloom kept Penn State scoreless over the next six innings.
The Terps had not had a runner in scoring position until two outs in the top of the eighth. Cieri doubled in the right center field gap. Anthony Papio walked. Kengo Kawahara pinch hit for Bechtold. Penn State then brought in their closer, submarine RHP Jack Anderson, who led the nation with a 0.65 era. Anderson struck out Kawahara to end the Terrapin threat.
In the bottom of the eighth, Jim Haley led off with an infield single, and went to second on a bunt. After a ground out, a single brought home Penn State's second run of the game.
With one out in the top of the ninth, Madison Nickens punched a single through the left side. Kevin Smith grounded out, with Nickens taking second base. But Nick Dunn grounded out to end the game. The loss ended Maryland's four-game winning streak.
Maryland got on the board quickly in game two. Nickens led off with a single, stole second, and went to third when the throw went into center field. He scored on an infield hit by Costes. The Terps scored another run in the second inning. Cieri singled, was bunted over to second, and scored on an rbi single by Bechtold.
Maryland would double their lead to 4-0 with two runs in the fourth inning, in part thanks to poor fielding by Penn State. Biondic led off with an infield hit, and Cieri walked. Jancarski laid down a sacrifice bunt which Klemann made an errant throw on: Biondic scored and Cieri took third. Bechtold drove Cieri in with a sac fly to left.
Brian Shaffer was dealing it for Maryland, shutting out the Nittany Lions through five innings. Penn State finally scored in the sixth on a single and two Maryland errors.
The Terps busted the game open with four runs in the seventh inning. Nickens singled to right center, and when Smith attempted a sacrifice bunt Penn State's pitcher threw past the first baseman. The Terps had runners on secong and third with no outs. Nickens scored on a wild pitch, with Smith going to third. Dunn singled through the right side to plate Smith and make it 6-1 Maryland. Costes doubled in Dunn, and later scored on a sac fly by Cieri. The Terps now led 8-1.
Penn State scored their first earned run off of Shaffer in the bottom of the seventh on doubles by Tyler Kendall and James Coates. That was Shaffer's final inning of work, his line being: 7ip, 2r, 1er, 0bb, 7k, 101tp. Hunter Parsons pitched a scoreless eighth, and the Nittany Lions got one run off of Mike Rescigno in their final at bat.
With the split of the double header the Terps are now 24-19 overall, 9-6 in the B1G.
Three things to know:
1. All three of Maryland's starters in this series pitched solid games. Shawaryn, Bloom, and Shaffer are rounding into a formidable trio of starting pitchers.
2. Winning a road series against a B1G opponent, especially one that isn't a cupcake is significant. Maryland now has home series against Illinois and Rutgers, respectively, before finishing the year against Michigan State.
3. Nick Cieri got on base six times on Saturday. The junior catcher/DH has been mired in a batting slump the last two weeks, but still manages to play a pivotal role. His double in game one almost got the Terps back in the game, and in game two Cieri seemed to always be involved in the scoring.