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Maryland baseball’s bullpen has exceeded expectations early on

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The back end of the Terps’ pitching staff has done its part so far this season.

Maryland baseball Kevin Biondic vs. Army Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Maryland baseball’s win on Sunday snapped its four-game losing streak. The Terps had to come back from a 3-0 deficit before winning 6-3, and it wouldn’t have been possible without their bullpen.

After Maryland starter Hunter Parsons departed in the fifth, the Terps used three relievers, who threw a combined 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball to secure Maryland’s first home win of the season.

“I wasn’t just happy with the results, but the way they competed, the body language they showed, and the way they attacked people,“ head coach Rob Vaughn said of the bullpen after the game.

Coming into this year, the Maryland bullpen was a giant question mark, losing relievers Andrew Miller, Ryan Selmer, Mike Rescigno, Jared Price, Tayler Stiles and Jamal Wade. With such a depleted group, expectations were low for the Terps, but despite some shaky outings early on, they’ve exceeded expectations.

Three Maryland relievers have an ERA of 0.00 so far this season: closer John Murphy, Grant Burleson and Kevin Biondic. In eight combined appearances combined, the three have given up one unearned run and just three hits in 10 and one-third innings of work.

Biondic is known more for his bat and glove over at first base, but Vaughn decided to platoon him as a pitcher and first baseman. He wanted to try out something new and different.

“His first outing he had this year, he was super amped up and was trying to really get on it and go,” Vaughn said. “After that first outing, he’s really settled in to who he is. I mean, shoot, if he’s throwing that knuckleball for strikes and is coming at you with 92 [mph] with a hammer slider, he’s going to be tough to hit.”

In three appearances this season, Biondic has given up just two hits and an unearned run. Biondic hasn’t pitched since high school, but he said that pitching again is fun for him, and he’s enjoyed his new role in the early going.

“I couldn’t imagine this in the summer, but I think I’ve transitioned well and I hope to continue the success,“ Biondic said.

Overall, the Terps have kept their opponents off the scoreboard in the latter innings of the game so far this season, letting up only six total runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings combined in seven games.

Maryland’s starting pitching has had a rough start to the season. The Terps haven’t figured out their midweek starter situation, and Parsons has struggled on Sundays, but the bullpen has patched that early-season hole. The Terps need Biondic, Murphy, Sean Fisher and Mark DiLuia, among others, to step up when the starters don’t pitch deep into games.

Both Taylor Bloom and Tyler Blohm averaged less than five innings a start last season, so the bullpen will be heavily depended on this season. So far, though, the Terps’ relievers have come through when needed.