When Maryland baseball right-hander Elliot Zoellner's wild pitch plated Coastal Carolina third baseman Seth Lancaster in the seventh inning on Saturday, uncertainty entered a previously steady outing for the Terps' pitching staff.
It appeared as if Maryland's inexperienced bullpen, trying to overcome extensive offseason turnover, would cost the Terps in their matchup with Coastal Carolina. Desperate for a way out of trouble, coach Rob Vaughn turned to closer John Murphy with seven outs remaining.
Murphy forced a popup down the right field line, and first baseman Kevin Biondic made an inning-ending diving catch to preserve the Terps' three-run edge. Biondic let loose a fist pump, and the pitchers in the bullpen behind the right field fence jumped up and down to celebrate a play that helped Maryland to a 7-6 victory.
Biondic then shifted to the mound, where he allowed a three-run ninth inning home run before preserving a quality start from left-hander Tyler Blohm. The Terps extended their winning streak to four games with the win.
Home runs from second baseman Nick Dunn and pinch-hitter Will Watson supplied enough run support to cover for Lancaster's three-run longball off Biondic in the ninth. The production validated Vaughn's decision to shuffle his lineup despite posting 11 runs on Friday against Radford.
Maryland's order reflected former coach John Szefc's preferences last season, with left fielder Marty Costes in the cleanup spot after his average had dipped to .143 from the leadoff role entering Saturday.
The Terps' lineup continued its late-game Friday success, backing Vaughn's prediction that an offensive breakthrough would come soon. Biondic, who led the Terps with three hits against Radford, laced a first-inning RBI single into center field. Third baseman Taylor Wright's two-run single in the second established a 3-0 lead.
Maryland (6-4) put pressure on the Coastal Carolina (9-3) bullpen in the fifth after starter Zack Hopeck (0-2, 4.60 ERA) surrendered a double to Biondic to set up RBIs from right fielder Randy Bednar and catcher Ty Friedrich against reliever Davie Inman.
Blohm (1-1, 2.60 ERA), meanwhile, minimized damage throughout his six innings, notching seven strikeouts and surrendering just two runs on five hits. The sophomore allowed solo home runs to center fielder Parker Chavers and first baseman Kevin Woodall Jr., but he otherwise managed to avoid serious harm.
Watson powered a home run in the eighth to extend Maryland's lead to four, covering for Lancaster's three-run shot against Biondic in the ninth. After the longball, Biondic scampered out of danger with a strikeout and a game-ending batter's interference call on designated hitter Kyle Skeels, who jostled catcher Justin Morris on his throw down to second.
The unusual last play bailed out the Terps, who relied on a first baseman-turned-reliever in his senior year to earn his first save of the season.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this article misidentified the Maryland closer as Ryan Murphy. He is John Murphy. This article has been updated.