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Maryland baseball strikes early and often in 8-3 win over Bryant

The Terps secure the series thanks to a productive offense and a scoreless pitching performance from starter Nick Dean.

Randy Bednar, Maryland baseball, Rhode Island Tyler DeSue / Testudo Times

As junior Randy Bednar beat out a throw from shortstop Tommy Ditullio for an infield single in the bottom of the first, Maryland’s bench was buzzing.

After a Maxwell Costes walk, Bobby Zmarzlak came up to bat as Maryland baseball’s new cleanup hitter. Wasting no time, the freshman continued his hot hitting and laced a double into the left center gap to score Bednar and put the Terps up one run.

An ensuing Troy Schreffler walk loaded the bases and prompted an early mound visit for the Bulldogs. But the visit was no help to starter Tyler Schoff, who gave up another hit, this time a single into right field by freshman Matt Orlando to score another run for the Terps. The offense wasn’t done yet however, as Ben Cowles extended the lead to three with an infield single to short.

Maryland’s bats didn’t skip a beat in game two of its weekend series, striking early and often to secure an 8-3 series-clinching victory over Bryant (2-10).

The Terps (9-4) kept the pressure on the Bulldogs in the second inning. After back-to-back groundouts from Chris Alleyne and Bednar, Maryland loaded the bases off of two walks and a hit-by-pitch. But Orlando couldn’t build off it and grounded out to short before the Terps could score any runs.

Cowles started the third inning for Maryland’s bats with a double into right field with no outs. After an Austin Chavis bunt moved Cowles over to third, new catcher Brenton Davis look to drive in his first run as a Terp. But it wasn’t meant to be, as a 2-2 line drive was snagged by first baseman Gaby Cruz before it could escape the infield. Alleyne also couldn’t muster any magic as he grounded out to end the inning for the Terps.

Maryland finally got back on board once again as the bottom of the fourth inning rolled around. Bednar started things off by smacking a single over the shortstop, stealing second base and advancing to third on a fielders choice by Maxwell Costes.

After a following Zmarzlak strikeout, the Terps once again had a runner in scoring position with no outs. However as Troy Schreffler stepped up to the plate, Rob Vaughn decided to make an interesting call.

As the first pitch came sailing towards the plate, Schreffler quickly pivoted to bunt, sending the ball dribbling down the first base line. Bryant pitcher Tyler Schoff hustled to the ball and threw it to first as fast as he could, but it was too late as both Cowles and Schreffler safely raced over their respective bases to extend Maryland’s lead to 4-0

The Terps would provide another scoring gut punch to the Bulldogs in the fifth inning. After two walks and a sacrifice bunt put Austin Chavis on third and Brenton Davis on second, Maryland was looking at another prime opportunity to score. Bednar stepped was next up, immediately hopping on John MacDonald’s first pitch, rocketing it into to the left center gap for a bases clearing double to bump Maryland’s lead up to 6-0. The Terps would tack on one more run before the inning ended, as Bednar scored from third on a Maxwell sac fly to push the lead to 7-0

While Maryland’s bat’s provided ample firepower against Bryant’s pitching, starting pitcher Nick Dean completely shut down the Bulldogs on the mound. Dean seemed to have recovered after his last start against Coastal, holding Bryant completely scoreless through six innings while only giving up three hits.

When Ryan Ramsey came in for relief in the seventh inning, it looked like Maryland was ready to take finish off Bryant’s bats. But Ramsey was in for a rude awakening, as the righty quickly gave up three consecutive singles to load the bases.

With no outs and runners threatening to score Rob Vaughn had no choice but to pull Ramsey from the game in favor of Elliot Zoellner.

However things didn’t get much better for Zoellner, as a passed ball scored Bryant’s first run of the game to make it a 7-1 contest. With men on second and third with only one out, Bryant continued to build on its hope for a comeback as outfielder James Ciliento lined a two RBI single into right field to cut the lead to 7-3.

After giving up the three runs, Zoellner was able to settle back into his groove and strike out the following two batters to end the Bulldogs rally.

Despite a messy top inning from the bullpen, Maryland didn't let the three runs get to it, but instead fought back with its own fire. After working a 1-1 count Brenton Davis cracked a home run over the right field wall to make it 8-3, which held through the final inning.

Three things to know

1. The Terps got on the board early yet again. Seeming to be a trend for the Terps of late, Maryland’s offense got hot early in today’s game. Maryland was able to score get on the board in the first inning in their third consecutive game thanks to clutch hitting from Bobby Zmarzlak, Ben Cowles, and Matt Orlando.

2. Nick Dean had an impressive performance. Nick Dean gave the Terps one of his best performances of the season against Bryant. The freshman righty threw 101 pitches over six scoreless scoreless innings, striking out five and only giving up three hits.

3. Brenton Davis had a big moment. JuCo transfer Brenton Davis started his first game for the Terps today. Slated at the nine hitting spot, there wasn’t much expected from the backup catcher offensively. But with his first career hit for an RBI and home run coming in today’s game, it’ll be interesting to see how Vaughn utilizes Davis and Tavan Shahidi as Justin Vought recovers.