Thanks to timely hitting from new faces and shutdown relief pitching, Maryland baseball won its first game of the season Sunday. The Terps (1-2) earned a 5-3 comeback win against VCU (1-2) in their last game of the Brittain Resorts Invitational.
The Terps dropped the first two games in this weekend tournament to Campbell and No. 21 Coastal Carolina, and fell behind against the Rams as well. But Maryland took the lead in the sixth and held on from there to enter the win column.
In his first start since the middle of the 2018 season, junior left-hander Tyler Blohm did well, giving up one earned run and two hits in 2.2 innings of work. On the other side, VCU’s Justin Sorokowski gave up two earned runs in just three innings of work. For both teams, it turned into a bullpen day, but Maryland’s bullpen emerged stronger.
Sophomore Randy Bednar led the Terps’ offense, going 2-for-4 with a pair of crucial RBIs late in the game. Caleb Walls and Sebastian Holte-Mancera each had two hits of their own.
Maryland began the scoring in the top of the first. Walls singled, Bednar walked, Taylor Wright sacrificed them into scoring position, and Maxwell Costes drove Walls home with a sacrifice fly. VCU tied the score in the bottom frame, with two singles and a walk to load the bases before Blohm hit Jack Schroeder with a pitch to allow a runner to score. Maryland scored again in the third with a walk, single and safety squeeze that turned into a bunt single to allow Chris Alleyne to score, giving the Terps a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth, VCU retook the lead on pitching and infield errors. A walk and single put runners on the corners before Trevor LaBonte threw a wild pitch, allowing the runner from third to score. Sean Fisher took over and looked to get out of the inning when he caught the runner from first in a pickoff, but an errant throw from Michael Pineiro into left field allowed another runner to score, giving VCU a 3-2 lead.
Maryland took the lead back in the sixth thanks to timely hitting from fresh faces. Ben Cowles recorded his first Maryland hit, a double off the wall, scoring on an RBI double from Holte-Mancera to tie the score. A bad running mistake eliminated the runner going home, but Randy Bednar was there to clean up the mess, hitting an RBI single to drive in Alleyne and give Maryland a 4-3 lead.
The Terps got insurance in the form of Bednar in the eighth. Holte-Mancera reached on an infield single, advancing to second on a sac bunt before Bednar singled him home for his second RBI of the day, putting Maryland up 5-3.
From there, closer John Murphy, eligible for the first time in 2019 after serving a suspension in the first two contests, shut the door in the last two innings. VCU got runners on first and second in the ninth, but the senior kept the Rams at bay. After Trevor LaBonte’s Maryland debut, the Terps’ bullpen was almost flawless, not allowing a run over the next five and one-third innings, giving up just five hits, striking out five over five different pitchers.
The Terps return to the diamond next weekend in College Park, as they open up their 2019 home schedule against Maine for a weekend nonconference series beginning on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.