With runners on first and second and no outs in the ninth inning of the Maryland baseball team's 2-0 win over Princeton on Sunday, right fielder Marty Costes came down with pinch hitter Eli Kimbell's deep fly ball. With additional wind, Kimbell's hit likely would have exited Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium to give the Tigers a one-run lead.
Left-hander Andrew Miller induced an inning-ending double play to secure Maryland's sweep of the Tigers and 11th over their last 12 games. But it took savvy defense for Maryland to be in that position.
Costes' catch was his second highlight-reel play of the afternoon. In the fourth, he robbed left fielder Paul Tupper of an extra-base hit that would have tied the game at one. His defense gave left-hander Tyler Blohm the confidence to put together his most extensive outing of the season.
"Marty had two really good plays today," coach John Szefc said. "The play he made in the ninth was huge. I didn't think he was going to get to that. [We're] thinking is he going to bunt here? They chose not to."
Costes and shortstop Kevin Smith, whose leaping catch prevented right fielder David Harding from reaching base to open the fourth, anchored the Terps' defense, which struggled through the first few weekend series. But because of Blohm's dominance on the mound, the unit wasn't tested often.
Left fielder Madison Nickens' second inning home run put the Terps on the board, and Princeton (2-9) catcher Alex Dickinson's error in the fourth allowed first baseman Brandon Gum to score.
From there, Blohm took control. The freshman followed his six-inning outing against Bryant with a career-high seven innings against the Tigers. His eight strikeouts also set a new career mark.
After each of Maryland's standout defensive plays, Blohm left the mound and clenched his fist.
"It kind of pumped me up," Blohm, who allowed two hits, said. "It got me real hyped to help me perform the way I did…Went out there with confidence. We just rode on that confidence."
Though right-hander Jared Price followed Blohm with a scoreless eighth inning, right-hander Ryan Selmer allowed a hit before Miller secured the win. If it weren't for Costes' catch in the ninth, Maryland's two runs might not have been enough to seal the victory before their two-game midweek series against UNC-Wilmington.
"We were able to scratch out runs when we needed to," Costes said. "We're going to find ourselves in a lot of pitching duels throughout the season. It's all about keeping the confidence."