March 4, 2017 || National Training Complex || 4:30 p.m.
CARY, N.C. – Senior outfielder Madison Nickens notched two hits, including a home run, and three RBIs to help lift the Maryland baseball team to a 9-2 win over No. 6 NC State in game two of the USA Baseball-Irish Classic at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
The Terrapins (3-5) jumped on the Wolfpack early and did not look back in a comprehensive win. Junior right-handed pitcher Taylor Bloom tossed seven innings to two-run ball to pick up the win, while Nickens and Marty Costes led the offense.
“That was really our sharpest game I thought from top to bottom,” Maryland head coach John Szefc said. “It’s always going to mean more when you get a good start. If you are going to beat a really good team you need a really good start, and Bloom gave that to us.”
Maryland knocked out NC State starter Cory Wilder in the first, scoring two runs on a walk and an RBI groundout. The Terps then added another run in the third on a Costes solo shot to left to take a 3-0 lead through three.
Bloom worked out of trouble in the first and second innings before settling in the third. The junior hurler ended the day with four strikeouts and allowed just single runs in the sixth and seventh.
The Terrapin offensive provided more support for Bloom in the fourth. After senior Nick Cieri walked to open the frame, Nickens hit a bullet over the left field fence for his first home run of the season.
Nickens was also at the center of things in Maryland’s two-run seventh. Sophomore Nick Dunn and Costes walked to start the inning before Dunn came in to score when NC State pitcher Kent Kylman’s throw to first got away on Brandon Gum’s sac bunt attempt. Nickens then plated Costes with a well-executed push bunt single to the first base side.
Maryland plated its final run of the game on a Dunn sac fly that plated Kevin Smith, who finished 2-for-3 with a walk, in the eighth. Redshirt junior Ryan Selmer finished out the game for the second consecutive night with two innings for scoreless relief.
Dunn finished the game with three runs scored. The win was Maryland’s first over a top-10 opponent since its NCAA Regional clinching win against No. 1 UCLA (June 1, 2015).
The Terps complete their trip to Cary with a game against Dayton on Sunday at the National Training Complex. First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m., and the game can be heard live on the Maryland Baseball Network.