Maryland baseball won their first conference series in almost a month thanks to the heroics of Marty Costes, defeating Michigan State 5-3 on Sunday.
After snapping a seven-game losing streak in the Big Ten on Saturday, the Terps now have their first conference series win since Northwestern in late March.
Costes was the big difference on both sides of the ball. He hit a go-ahead grand slam in the fifth that end up being the difference. His diving catch in the bottom of the fifth also prevented Michigan State from clawing back into the Maryland lead.
Tyler Blohm got the starting nod for the Terps on Sunday, as Maryland’s weekend rotation was still affected by the departure of Taylor Bloom, who was concussed during the Terps’ series at Michigan. However, Bloom would make his return on Sunday, but not before Blohm dazzled on the mound.
The sophomore lefty threw six innings of one-run baseball, allowing just three hits. He did walk five Spartan batters, four of those walks coming in the fifth and sixth innings, but he was able to limit the damage, thanks in large part to the Maryland defense.
Michigan State took the early lead in the first inning. Danny Gleaves tripled to lead off the inning. Chad Roskelly drove him in with a RBI sacrifice fly, putting the Spartans up 1-0. Blohm settled down for the rest of his outing, but he got no support from the Maryland offense early on. He was keeping the Terps in the game.
However, things changed drastically in the fifth inning, when Costes, who had been struggling at the plate, came up big for the Terps. Randy Bednar and Justin Morris singled with one out. Nick Dunn walked with two outs to load the bases for Costes. Michigan State starting pitcher Mike Mokma made one mistake, and Costes jumped on it, hitting a grand slam over the scoreboard in left field, putting Maryland up 4-1.
He wasn’t done in the fifth. In the bottom half, Michigan State threatened, loading the bases with two outs. Roskelly came up and hit a ball out to left field which looked like it was going to drop and the Spartans were going to be able to cut into the lead. However, Costes made a diving catch, saving several runs and keeping the score at 4-1.
Maryland added an insurance run the eighth. Zach Jancarski walked, and Taylor Wright, who had also been struggling coming into the game, doubled into the gap, and Jancarski scored, putting Maryland up 5-1.
Blohm’s day was done after the sixth, and Taylor Bloom entered for his first appearance since the incident at Michigan. His return was worth the wait for the Terps. Bloom threw a scoreless seventh inning, but faced trouble in the eighth. However, he was able to limit the damage.
Justin Antoncic doubled to start the inning for the Spartans, and he advanced to third on a wild pitch two batters later. Michigan State then began a two-out rally. Marty Bechina singled home Antoncic to cut the Maryland lead to three. Bechina advanced to second on a wild pitch during pinch hitter Adam Proctor’s at-bat. Proctor then singled him home, cutting the lead to 5-3, but that’s all the Spartans would get as Bloom was able to escape the threat.
Michigan State (16-23, 7-7 Big Ten) came up empty in the ninth, but Maryland closer John Murphy had to win a 14-pitch at-bat against Antoncic to do that, securing at the save and the win for the Terps.
Maryland (19-24, 5-9) will travel to West Virginia on Tuesday before heading to Nebraska for a three-game series next weekend.