It was the bottom of the eighth inning on Sunday afternoon, and Maryland baseball was down 3-2 to Northwestern. Jack Pagliarini, Northwestern’s starter, was cruising, having retired 15 straight Maryland batters at one point.
The Terps had a man on with two outs for Kevin Biondic. Coming into that at-bat, Biondic was 1-for-10 in the series with four strikeouts. He quickly turned that narrative around, hitting a go-ahead, two-run home run to give Maryland the lead.
His day wasn’t done, though. John Murphy, Maryland’s regular closer, was taken out after loading the bases with two outs in the ninth, and Biondic came in to replace him. He needed just one pitch to finish off the game, getting Connor Lind to line out to left field.
“He looked at me and he said ‘You got this.’ I looked back at him and I said, ‘I got this for you.’” Biondic said. “I didn’t think it was going to be that quick, but we got the job done.”
This has become the norm for Biondic this season. Along with hitting .257 with 28 hits, three home runs, 19 RBIs and .450 slugging percentage—all in the top three on the team—he has been dominant on the mound. The senior holds a 1-0 record with a 0.67 ERA and two saves, and has allowed just one earned run in 13.1 innings of work.
“He’s been just so good all-around. We had him hit in the three-hole. He plays an unbelievable first base,” Vaughn said. “He’s tough as nails. He’s a senior. He’s been in this program for four years, and he’s a winner. It ain’t always pretty, but the guy wins.”
Biondic currently has three different roles on the team: starting first baseman, middle-of-the-order hitter and high-leverage relief pitcher. He said his success this season has been due to him focusing on each role individually rather than all three.
“I think it’s just separating my at-bats from my pitching. It doesn't matter if I’m striking out or if I’m hitting home runs,” Biondic said. “I think that separating my at-bats from playing in the field and pitching on the mound helps me concentrate more on what needs to get done.”
Over the weekend, a large contingency of Biondic’s family came to support him from Oak Lawn, Illinois, and they played a big part in the series, carrying around fatheads of Biondic on sticks. Regardless of whether his family was in attendance or not, though, Vaughn has praised Biondic’s daily enthusiasm and love for his teammates.
“Kev’s such a team player that if this would’ve been William & Mary with no family here on Tuesday, he would’ve been just as excited,” Vaughn said. “It’s always special for a senior to do that.”
As for Biondic, his attention is focused towards the future, specifically Maryland’s upcoming Big Ten home series against Illinois, beginning with Friday’s doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. ET.
“These two wins that we had this weekend were come-from-behind wins. I think that’s huge for us. Now we know we can play from behind,” Biondic said. “Going into a good Illinois team, I think we’re going to need to maybe come back from a deficit.”