Designated hitter Brandon Gum hit a 2-1 pitch to right-center field for a leadoff triple Saturday, but given the Maryland baseball team's struggles with runners in scoring position in the first two games against High Point, it was uncertain whether his teammates could drive him in.
The Terps scored seven combined runs Thursday and Friday and failed to get on the board first in either contest. The lack of offense put the them at risk of being swept for the first time since their February series against LSU.
However, Maryland's 9-2 win to conclude the season represented one of its most complete performances this season. Gum scored on third baseman AJ Lee's ground ball, and from there, Maryland's offense coasted to a comfortable victory.
"For a game that technically didn't mean anything in conference play or in general, it meant a lot to us from a standpoint of getting guys feeling good again, and hopefully it holds the RPI at what it was," said coach John Szefc, who will lead the fourth-seeded Terps into the Big Ten tournament against No. 5 seed Iowa on Wednesday night. "It didn't mean too much to anybody outside our program."
Without outfielder Zach Jancarski, who is day-to-day with an oblique injury, the Terps put together a strong showing at the plate against right-hander Trevor Holloway.
After Lee's first-inning RBI, right fielder Madison Nickens and catcher Justin Morris recorded RBI singles in the second, and right fielder Marty Costes' two-run double made it a five-run contest.
By the time right-hander Taylor Bloom departed in the sixth, Maryland scored nine times.
"The biggest thing was getting back to the mindset we've had all year, being the aggressors and knowing the pressure's on the guy on the mound," Lee said. "It's a boost going into the tournament knowing our swings are in the best spot right now."
While the Terps offense produced, Bloom followed left-hander Tyler Blohm's short outing Friday with a six-inning performance in his final start of the regular season. He allowed two runs and and eight hits while striking out eight and not issuing a walk.
Third baseman Zach Vandergrift's RBI single in the fifth scored High Point's first run, and second baseman Hunter Lee's single in the sixth added another. However, that was all Bloom allowed.
"It was good to see him get a good start before we head out to the tournament," shortstop Kevin Smith said. "It was good to see him come in and have some confidence going into the tournament."
Left-hander Tayler Stiles didn't give up a run and struck out six over the final three innings to secure the win. From the outset, Maryland was dominant, snapping its four game skid ahead of postseason play.