Maryland baseball has climbed back to .500. The Terps improved their record to 12-12 this spring with an 8-1 thumping of the VCU Rams. A five-run bottom of the second inning pushed Maryland far in front, and the Terps never looked back.
Junior Tayler Stiles tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just seven hits and one walk. The lefty wasn't overpowering (just two strikeouts), but he effectively pitched to contact. The Rams (16-8) couldn't push any runners past second base against him.
The offensive star was second baseman Nick Dunn, who went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Right behind him in the lineup, Nick Cieri was 1-for-5 with 3 RBIs. Every Terrapin in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit, and the team as a whole had 14.
Maryland opened with a run in the bottom of the first on a Nick Cieri RBI groundout, but blew the game open with five runs in the second. With the bases loaded and two outs, Nick Dunn and Cieri drilled two-run doubles. It was a short afternoon for right-hander Jack Alkire, who surrendered 8 hits and 6 runs (5 earned) in just 1.2 innings of work.
The Terps added two more runs in the fourth on a two-out triple by Anthony Papio to stretch the lead to 8-0. They didn't score for the rest of the game, but were never in any real danger. VCU got to John Murphy for a run in the top of the eighth, but he and Zach Guth sealed the deal for Maryland.
Three things to know
1. Tayler Stiles hurled his best game of the year. The junior entered Tuesday with a 7.23 ERA in 18.2 innings, but lowered that number to 5.26 with his seven shutout frames. Maryland's achilles heel all season has been the lack of pitching depth behind Mike Shawaryn, Taylor Bloom and Brian Shaffer, so Stiles' outing might just mean a hefty increase in workload going forward.
2. The Terps' situational hitting was fantastic. Maryland was 9-for-25 (.360) with runners on base and 7-for-15 (.467) with two outs. Half of the Terps' runs came during the two-out rally in the bottom of the second.
3. This was the first game of a home-and-home makeup. Two games between the Terps and Rams were postponed earlier in the season due to incessant rain in Richmond. The two teams will square off in Richmond Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m.