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Bobby Zmarzlak leads the way for Maryland baseball in 14-3 win over Bryant

The Terps scored four runs in the first inning and the fourth inning to close out the Bulldogs in the series opener.

Maryland baseball celebration, 2020 Tyler DeSue / Testudo Times

Freshman designated hitter Bobby Zmarzlak had just one hit in the season coming into his first chance at bat against Bryant in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs and just redshirt junior catcher Tavan Shahidi on base, Zmarzlak seemed an unlikely candidate to break open the game.

Then on a 1-1 count, Zmarzlak capitalized on a hanging fastball in the middle of the plate and rocketed his first career home run to right field to give Maryland baseball a four-run lead.

Later in the bottom of the fourth inning, with bases loaded and two outs on another 1-1 count, the freshman smacked a grand slam over the center field wall to the delight of the Terps’ bench to push the Maryland lead to 8-2.

Zmarzlak, who finished going 2-for-5 with seven RBIs, led the way for Maryland all afternoon in the series opener winning 14-3 over Bryant Friday.

“I just know I needed to perform in the big situations,” Zmarzlak said. “I felt really good at the plate so I knew my swing felt good today.”

Maryland started hot in the first inning, with junior outfielder Chris Alleyne cracking a single to left center field off Bulldogs pitcher Tyler Mattison to get the Terps started. Junior outfielder Randy Bednar then followed suit with a single to left, and Alleyne rounded third to give the Terps the lead off a wild throwing error from the Bulldogs catcher.

Costes continued to early scoring run with the third straight single of the inning up the middle, bringing in Bednar to extend the lead to 2-0. The Terps finished the bottom of the first with the first five hits of the game and four runs to show for it, with two of those runs coming off the end of Zmarzlak’s bat.

“It’s big when you come out and throw the first little haymaker right there,” Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn said about scoring the first few runs of the game. “Especially with a junior on the mound, it makes it a heck of a lot easier playing with the lead.”

While Maryland struck early and often offensively, junior left-handed pitcher Sean Fisher held his own after struggling in his last start against Coastal Carolina.

Fisher managed to strikeout the first three batters he faced, taking down the Bulldogs on 12 pitches to close out the top of the first.

The junior then magically worked his way out of a jam in the top of the second inning to preserve Maryland’s early four run lead. After two Bulldogs reached base on first and third, Fisher tossed his fourth and fifth strikeout of the afternoon to close out the inning.

Fisher finished his strong start with 6.0 innings pitched, allowing five hits and three earned runs for his third win of the season. The Maryland native also put up eight strikeouts against the Bulldogs in the impressive outing.

After Maryland took control with a 8-3 lead in the fourth inning, the offense didn’t stop producing just yet.

After sophomore infielder Ben Cowles walked and stole second in the bottom of the fifth, freshman infielder Aaron Perez earned a walk as well to bring two runners on with no outs. Then, Alleyne rattled off his fourth hit of the day to right field to make it bases loaded.

Sophomore infielder Maxwell Costes followed with a sac-fly to center field to bring in Cowles to push the lead to 9-3 in the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Perez started the inning with a walk. Then, Alleyne kept the offense chugging with a single — his fifth hit of the afternoon. A wild pitch then allowed Perez to score, ballooning the lead to 10-3.

In the same inning with bases loaded, freshman outfielder Tucker Flint got hit by a pitch, bringing in Alleyne to extend Maryland’s lead to eight. Then, Zmarzlak walked on a full count, allowing Costes to find home to bring the lead to 12-3 for the Terps.

Maryland’s dominant offensive presence at the plate caused the Bulldogs pitching staff to give up 12 walks.

But, the Terps still weren’t done producing runs.

Cowles hit a solo home run to center field and then Alleyne followed suit with a solo home run of his own to shut the door on the Bulldogs in the eighth inning with the Terps up 14-3.

“I mean, I’ve been waiting for it for quite some time, so it’s good to get the first out of the way,” Alleyne said about his first home run of 2020. “Hopefully we got some more coming later.”

Maryland had done enough offensively to close out the Bulldogs after putting up five runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

Right-handed pitcher Connor Staine pitched in relief of Fisher in the top of the seventh. The freshman pitched 2.0 innings of work and let up just two hits and no earned runs.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Chris Chaney recorded the last three outs in the final inning and Maryland improved to 8-4 on the season with the win.

Three things to know

1. Maryland continues to find success in the early innings. The Terps have scored in the first inning in six of their opening 12 games in 2020. In five of those six contests, Maryland came out on top with the win.

The Terps’ bats came alive once again the opening inning against Bryant, putting up four runs on five hits on the Bulldogs to break open the game. When Maryland scored early, it’s usually giving it the upper hand for the rest of the game, resulting in wins.

2. Home runs coming at a premium for the Terps. With four home runs on Friday against Bryant, Maryland now has 13 total home runs in the last eight games. Maryland’s bats have been generally successful in just about every game except for the Coastal Carolina series, and once again the Terp’s offensive efficiency buoyed them to a win against Bryant.

3. Zmarzlak has his breakout game in a Maryland uniform. Zmarzlak’s two-run home run to right field in the bottom of the opening inning and his grand slam over the center wall in the fourth gave the freshman his first career home runs. The freshman had just one hit coming into the game, but ended the afternoon going 2-for-5, along with seven RBIs.

“It’s funny because you guys haven’t got to see that yet,” Vaughn said of Zmarzlak’s first home runs of the season. “We see that stuff every day from him and when he had the first one, I said, ‘That’s one of 30.’”