The Terrapins baseball team struggled to figure out Cal State Fullerton’s pitching staff Friday.
Entering this weekend, the Titans held the fourth best ERA (1.92) in the country and allowed the fewest hits per game in the nation (5.2).
Coach John Szefc’s squad recorded just one hit through the first six innings in an eventual 3-2 loss Friday. Saturday, the Terps faced another challenge in right-hander Connor Seabold, who had allowed just five hits and two runs in 16.1 innings entering Saturday.
But this time, the Terps figured out the Titans starter early.
They scored three runs in the first inning and rode that momentum the rest of the contest. The Terps recorded 14 hits, including three home runs, in an 8-4 victory at No. 23 Cal State Fullerton for their third win in their past nine games.
Right-hander Taylor Bloom threw his second consecutive complete game. Last weekend, the Terps (8-10) failed to support Bloom in a shutout loss. Saturday, though, Bloom got the backing he needed.
Before Friday, the Titans (11-7) hadn’t given up two or more runs since March 8. It took the Terps one inning to change that.
Shortstop Kevin Smith scored off designated hitter Nick Cieri’s single before left fielder Marty Costes blasted his second career home run to put the Terps up 3-0 in the first inning.
The Titans responded in the next frame when catcher Chris Hudgins hit a home run to cut the Terps’ lead to 3-1.
After Smith scored in the third inning, the Titans cut the Terps’ lead to 4-2 in the sixth when designated hitter Dalton Blaser singled in shortstop Timmy Richards.
Cal State Fullerton almost added another score in the frame when they put runners on second and third with two outs. But Bloom tagged right fielder Scott Hurst out at first to end the threat as the sophomore pumped his fist with excitement.
In the seventh inning, right-hander Brett Conine, who entered Saturday with a 4.26 ERA, replaced Seabold. And the Terps took advantage by adding insurance.
Second baseman Nick Dunn hit an RBI triple to score Smith before Cieri bunted Dunn home. Costes and first baseman Kevin Biondic then belted back-to-back home runs to extend the Terps’ lead to 8-2.
While they struggled to generate runs Friday, the offense bounced back Saturday against one of the best pitching staffs in the country.