Before Maryland baseball first baseman Kevin Biondic ditched his batting gloves for his fourth inning at-bat against Radford on Friday, the senior had been scuffling at the plate, along with the rest of the Terps lineup.
Through the first eight games, Biondic hit .172 and Maryland hit for a conference-worst .202 average. But once he went bare-handed in the batter's box because he said he lost grip on his gloves, Biondic singled up the middle, marking his first base knock in a breakout weekend for him and the rest of the batting order.
Biondic supplied nine RBIs and hit .615 during Maryland's three-game tournament sweep as the Terps posted double-digit scoring outputs in two of the contests. Maryland hopes its batting onslaught continues Tuesday against Delaware after its average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage rose over the weekend.
"We hit a lot of hard-hit balls last weekend that just didn't fall," Biondic said, "and I think this weekend saw more ground."
Maryland's batting order was stagnant during its series loss against Army and its two-hit win over VCU last Wednesday. Coach Rob Vaughn figured his lineup was one hit away from re-establishing the form that enabled Maryland to capture a season-opening series win against Tennessee.
Facing Coastal Carolina on Saturday, Biondic supplied a two-out RBI single into center field, giving the Terps an early edge.
"That's kind of that hit we've been missing for the last week to 10 days," Vaughn said. "We had a lot of at-bats, or a lot of games I guess, over the last couple weeks where we really set innings up and just kind of struggled to get that final hit and punch through."
Biondic struggled at the plate last season, hitting .161 after his .278 mark sophomore year. He served primarily as a defensive replacement for graduate transfer Brandon Gum last year.
Vaughn was impressed with Biondic's work ethic in the summer with the Thunder Bay Border Cats in the Northwoods League, where his average stabilized and he flashed similar power to that of his second season in College Park. He carried that momentum into his offseason training with Maryland.
"It would've been very easy for him to feel bad for himself after last year, and he didn't do that," Vaughn said. "Went out and had a great summer. Worked his tail off. And you know, it's not a shock."
After going without a long ball his junior campaign, Biondic launched a three-run home run Sunday as part of his career-high seven-RBI performance in the Terps' 13-1 win over Ball State.
He notched a triple in the outing as well, and his three this season tie for most in the Big Ten, validating Vaughn's choice to promote him to the cleanup role in the tournament finale.
His batting average rose to a team-high .310.
"The pitching staff knew the offense had it in them, no doubt," right-hander Hunter Parsons said. "[Biondic] just goes out there and competes every at-bat, leaves the last at-bat behind him, and I think you're finally starting to see that pay off."