Maryland baseball used a surprisingly spectacular midweek start from Tayler Stiles and a sixth-inning rally to jump in front of the UMBC Retrievers for good in a 6-2 victory.
It was crucial that the Terps not much of their bullpen Tuesday with a makeup game against James Madison on deck for Wednesday, and Stiles delivered.
The senior had had made only one start this season, making it an interesting decision for Maryland manager John Szefc to trot him out. Stiles proved him right.
The senior lefty, who came in with an ERA above 5.00, had also surrendered 28 hits in 21 innings of work this year. But he was a much better pitcher than that Tuesday, as he threw a stellar five scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and striking out six Retrievers in the process.
The Maryland offense took a while to get in gear, but the Terps used a big inning to do most of their damage. The turning point came on a Zach Jancarski RBI double and a Brandon Gum single that put Maryland ahead for good in the sixth.
Despite the early offensive struggles, it didn’t take long for the Terps to put a run on the board. Brandon Gum walked and Marty Costes reached on an error to put two runners on in the bottom of the first. Nick Dunn delievered the first RBI of the afternoon after he roped the first pitch he saw into center field to put Maryland up 1-0.
Stiles was dealing in the early portion of the ballgame. He did not allow a run in his first five innings, but UMBC sophomore starter Jacob Christian was his equal early on. Christian, who came into the afternoon with an ERA north of 6.00, fooled multiple Terps hitters with a fastball-curveball combo. In fact, he allowed only two hits through his own first five frames.
However, once Stiles left it became a whole new ballgame. Right-hander Ryan Hill relieved Stiles in the sixth inning only to allow UMBC catcher Hunter Dolshun to hit a two-run shot over the center field wall with two men down in the inning. This gave the Retrievers their first lead of the contest at 2-1.
But just as the Terps have done so many times this season, they came back with a direct answer in the bottom of the inning. After UMBC starter Jacob Christian mostly coasted after the first inning, Maryland seemed to get a feel for his stuff in the bottom of the sixth. Madison Nickens singled to lead off the inning, and he was eventually driven in after Zach Jancarski hit a ball over the left fielder’s head for an RBI double. One batter later, Brandon Gum lined a ball in between third and short to bring home Jancarski, which gave the Terrapins the lead once again. A.J. Lee would add the final two runs of the inning after he hit a hard single into left field.
Nick Dunn delivered the final blow in the bottom of the eighth, hitting his second home run of the season over the outstretched arms of the UMBC center fielder.
With the win, the Terps now sit at 32-15 on the year. The team will be back home Wednesday for another midweek game against James Madison at 4 p.m.