Maryland baseball catcher Dan Maynard witnessed Michigan State’s mounting frustration against right-hander Taylor Bloom in the first three innings on Sunday afternoon. The pitcher’s tempo was so quick that by the third frame, Maynard felt he had caught fewer pitches than had been put in play.

As Bloom faced the Spartans lineup a second time, Maynard noticed hitters anticipating fastballs in the middle of the zone. But the pitch dipped before crossing the plate and the Spartans struggled to make solid contact against it.

Bloom channeled his 2016 success in his 7 ⅔ inning outing against the Spartans, his longest this season. After faltering earlier in the year, Bloom’s improved delivery has gotten him back on track entering Maryland’s three-game series against Indiana this weekend.

“It was frustrating on my end,” Bloom said. “Not getting off to a good start kind of killed my confidence a little bit. It got me wrapped up in my head. I bounced back and it’s just really good to keep it going now.”

Bloom lasted just three innings and allowed six runs in Maryland’s loss to Louisville during the Clearwater Tournament. He pitched two frames against LSU the next weekend. Though he had seven inning performances in both Maryland’s March 4 win over NC State and its April 16 win over Penn State — his strongest before Sunday — he sensed he wasn’t yet at full strength.

So, Bloom approached first-year assistant coach Ryan Fecteau, who works with the team’s pitchers, explaining he didn’t feel the same way he did last season. He had anchored Maryland’s staff in 2016, recording a 2.46 ERA, the best among the Terps’ weekend starters. That discussion prompted Fecteau to review video from last season.

Quickly, Fecteau realized Bloom’s arm slot was lower, which resulted in less movement on his fastball. As a result, his delivery was inconsistent, contributing to a four inning start against Rutgers, a 1 ⅓ stint against Nebraska and a brief appearance as a midweek starter against West Virginia on April 11.

Maynard made a similar observation. When Bloom delivered, he would step off the mound to the right instead of forward toward home plate. As a result, Bloom was throwing across his body, not straight toward the plate.

“He got away from a little bit of what he was,” Fecteau said. “He throws a lot of strikes, so guys have to swing, otherwise they’ll be down 0-1 [or] 0-2. It’s just a matter of the stuff getting a little more sink and depth.”

When Maynard caught Bloom’s bullpen session during practice early last week, he observed an adjustment. Bloom, whose arsenal features a sinking fastball, changeup and slider, wasn’t throwing across his body anymore. And in Bloom’s pregame warm-up against the Spartans, he realized his pitches possessed more movement.

Though Bloom only struck out four Michigan State hitters, his pace during Maryland’s seventh consecutive win indicated his return to form.

“He pitches to contact,” Maynard said. “He doesn’t need to strike guys out to win games. Guys were making weak contact outs. The game was flying by.”

Over his last two starts, Bloom has pitched 14 ⅔ innings and allowed just three earned runs, the production coach John Szefc and his staff expected from the outset and will continue to seek through the remaining Big Ten games.

“I realized [something wasn’t right] in the first few weeks,” Bloom said. “You can’t just fix it in a day. Each week, I’m building off being a little bit better. I like where I’m at right now.”