In Maryland baseball right-hander Taylor Bloom’s first two starts, the team’s defense struggled while he had difficulty throwing strikes. Entering Saturday’s matchup with No. 10 NC State, Bloom had a 14.40 ERA in five innings.
So, when Bloom took the mound for the first time with the Terps leading, 2-0, it was new territory for the Crofton, Maryland native. He ended up pitching seven innings, his longest outing of the season, and led the Terps to a 9-2 win over the Wolfpack in Cary, North Carolina. He allowed five hits and two walks while striking out five.
After Maryland’s offense scored twice in the ninth inning of its 4-3 win against Notre Dame on Friday, it gave Bloom an early advantage Saturday. Four consecutive Terps reached base in the first against Wolfpack right-hander Cory Wilder, who departed without recording an out.
First baseman Brandon Gum walked with the bases loaded, and designated hitter Nick Cieri drove in a run with a fielder’s choice to give the Terps an early two-run edge. Then, right fielder Marty Costes and left fielder Madison Nickens homered in the third and fourth innings, respectively, increasing Maryland’s lead to five.
Still, Bloom wouldn’t need all of the run support he received, as he had success using his changeup late in counts. NC State first baseman Shane Shepard deposited one of the Bloom’s few mistake pitches into right field to make it a four-run contest in the seventh, but that’s the closest the Wolfpack came.
Though Maryland’s starters struggled last weekend against No. 4 LSU, Bloom delivered the Terps’ second quality start in as many days. Right-hander Brian Shaffer allowed one earned run over six innings against the Fighting Irish to open the weekend.
In Bloom’s third start of 2017, the defense didn’t commit an error and the bullpen secured the win. Right-hander Ryan Selmer kept the Wolfpack off the board in the final two innings to help the Terps defeat a top-10 team for the first time this season.