Aggies come from behind again to clinch Fall World Series

In two consecutive games, the Old Liners were only three outs away from clinching the Fall World Series. Both times, the Aggies battled back from three runs down in the final inning.

One day after scoring four runs in their final at-bats to tie the series, 1-1, the Aggies scored three runs on three hits in the top of the seventh after being held scoreless the entire game.

After forcing extras, Aggies first baseman Michael Pineiro came up with the bases loaded and delivered a two-run single to give his team a 5-3 lead. One pitch later, third baseman Max Costes boomed a double to deep left field, scoring yet another run for the Aggies in the eighth.

The late-inning onslaught not only gave the Aggies a comeback 6-4 win, but also a Fall World Series victory after losing the first game last Wednesday. The Aggies scored six runs in the final two innings, with right-hander Will Glock holding on for the save.

For much of the afternoon, though, the Old Liners pitchers were able to strand the tying runs on base with a two-run lead.

Left-hander Billy Phillips made his second start of the series for the Old Liners, going three strong scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and striking out three. He stranded the bases loaded in the first inning and cruised through the next two.

After two walks to start the fourth, right-hander Nick Turnbull came in looking to strand the two potential tying runs on base. He did just that, retiring the next three batters to get out of a jam unscathed.

An inning later, Old Liners reliever Sean Fisher did the same once Turnbull got into similar trouble. Coming in with two runner in scoring position and nobody out. The southpaw preserved the two-run lead as well to get out of his first inning of work.

Right fielder Randy Bednar went 3-for-4 and stole four bases for the Old Liners, playing a part in all three of the team’s runs. After driving in left fielder Caleb Walls with an RBI single in the first, Bednar swiped second before also coming around to score in the two-run frame.

The sophomore looked confident at the plate as one of Maryland’s returning bats from a season ago. In addition to driving in a run and scoring in the first, he doubled and singled again before touching home for the Old Liners’ third run in the sixth inning.

Despite Bednar’s production, the Aggies bats outmatched him late in the game.

From top to bottom, the Aggies lineup delivered in the late crucial moments of the game in order to give them the victory in the series finale. Although they struggled to score runs early — stranding eight base runners through the first six innings — they didn’t leave anyone hanging with the game on the line.

 

 

 

 

 

Aggies walk off in thrilling Game 2 of Fall World Series

Zach Doss was mobbed by his Aggies teammates as he made his way down to first base, moments after he was plunked to bring in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Down 5-2 with only one out remaining, the Aggies loaded the bases before using four free passes — capped off by Doss’ hit by pitch — to give the Aggies a series-tying win over the Old Liners in the Fall World Series.

After the Old Liners got off to a hot start, with redshirt-junior Caleb Walls having a big night, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a single and a solo homer, the win seemed in the bag for the team. With Walls as leadoff hitter, the Old Liners put up three runs in the first two innings.

But the Old Liners offense, which held a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, wasn’t enough in the end.

The Aggies started their comeback in the fourth, putting up two runs off two wild pitches and an RBI-groundout from Doss that combined to score Max Costes and Kody Milton, respectively.

With an offense that lagged behind that of the Old Liners, it was the Aggies’ relief pitching that allowed for the late-inning comeback.

After relieving Zach Thompson in the second, left-hander Tuck Tucker went 2.2 innings, recording eight straight outs including four strikeouts.

Then, after a solid fifth inning from Tyler Blohm, redshirt sophomore Mike Vasturia threw a solid sixth inning and worked out of a jam in the top of the seventh to strand a runner at third after recording two strikeouts in a row. With that, the Aggies had a newfound momentum for a late-inning rally.

A walk from pinch-hitter Bryce Cunningham followed by a double down the third-base line from Ben Irvine and a walk to Michael Pineiro gave Costes the chance to give the Aggies the walk-off with two outs.

It took two more three more batters for the walk-off to come, after the Aggies worked four walks in a row and a final hit-by-pitch to seal the deal, making the late-inning comeback possible.

With the series tied at one game apiece, both teams will look claim the fall classic on Monday, with a Game 3 start time of 3:30 p.m.

 

Old Liners hold on against Aggies for Game 1 win in Fall World Series

Entering the fifth inning, the Old Liners were hitless in Game 1 of the Fall World Series but only trailed the Aggies by one run.

Once that hit came, an RBI-double from sophomore Randy Bednar, the Old Liners’ offense kept coming, and a two-run bottom of the fifth led them to their 3-2 win in the seven-inning contest.

“After something like that, you’re kind of more amped up, kind of more into it,” Bednar said.

The sophomore outfielder also scored the Old Liners’ first run, after a missed throw to first from Aggies freshman reliever Andrew Vail put him on second with no outs in the third inning.

A sacrifice fly from catcher Justin Vought drove home the run to tie the Aggies at one run apiece. The sophomore also pulled through for the Old Liners behind the plate, catching two runners stealing.

Bednar was just one of many underclassmen whose offensive production helped their respective team. For the Aggies, both runs came from freshman. Outfielder Max Costes knocked an RBI-double to right-center in the first frame, scoring first baseman Michael Pineiro from first with one out, giving the Aggies the early lead.

“The young guys have done a really good job this fall of buying in and really getting into what we’re doing here,” said senior A.J. Lee. “We had some big swings from young guys today… [they’re] really stepping into their own and they’re not feeling like freshmen anymore.”

Then, in his second at-bat of the night, freshman Kody Milton singled to second. He crossed the plate two wild pitches and a sacrifice squeeze later, scoring the Aggies’ temporary tie-breaking run in the fourth inning.

The Aggies also relied on freshman power on the mound. Right-hander Trevor LaBonte delivered two hitless innings to start, followed by a solid 2.1 innings from Vail.

“I think [LaBonte’s] going to be really good,” Head Coach Rob Vaughn said. “A little bit of our success this season is going to be dictated on how fast some of our young pups grow up.”

A shutdown bottom of the sixth from redshirt-sophomore Mike Vasturia maintained the Old Liners’ one-run lead, giving the Aggies the chance for a comeback in the seventh and final inning.

“When you can get a 1-2-3 inning there, with us (the Aggies) down one going into the last inning, it’s huge,” said Lee. “The arms we ran out there today are really good. I think [with] the depth of our staff, I think we’re pretty good.”

The Aggies threatened in the top of the seventh, as junior Ben Irvine drew a leadoff walk. He then swiped second and moved to third on a wild pitch with only one out.

But Old Liners right-hander Elliot Zoellner, who came on the for save, kept Irvine 90 feet away. He induced a ground ball with the infield in to record the second out and registered the final out with a strikeout to secure the one-run victory in Game 1.

“That’s the best intersquad game we’ve played (in the two years the current coaching staff has been together)” Vaughn said. “As far as intensity, as far as communication, as far as young guys being involved in executing, that was one of the best we’ve had in two years.”

Game 2 of the Fall World Series will be at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, as the Aggies look to even the series.

5 takeaways from Maryland’s exhibition against Southern New Hampshire

Maryland baseball played in one of its two fall exhibitions Sunday afternoon, hosting Southern New Hampshire for a 19-inning marathon.

The Terps scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to secure a 3-2 lead through nine innings. A scheduled 18-inning exhibition went one more, as Maryland scored three runs in the bottom of the last inning to eventually earn a tie after one extra inning.

Here are five takeaways from the exhibition:

1. Justin Vought made a difference in multiple areas.

Sophomore Justin Vought — the team’s only returning catcher — hit a home run, threw out a would-be base stealer and scored the go-ahead to help the Terps secure a lead through nine innings.

In the second inning, Vought launched a solo shot to left-center field to tie the game at 1-1. He hit three home runs last season in his freshman campaign, now poised for a breakout second year in College Park.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Vought worked a walk and later came around to score as the go-ahead run in the first nine frames. Vought continued his success in the latter half of the day, doubling before receiving rest in the last six innings of the afternoon.

2. The relievers shut down the Penmen in the first nine innings. 

Senior right-hander Hunter Parsons and junior lefty Tyler Blohm — two of last year’s weekend starters — tossed the first three innings of the afternoon, each conceding a run. From that point on, though, Maryland’s relievers contained the Penmen through nine innings.

Junior right-hander Nick Turnbull relieved Blohm after the third, tossing two scoreless frames. The transfer from Harford Community College faced the minimum in his first inning before working into a jam in the fifth. He stranded two runners in scoring position to escape.

Sophomore left-hander Sean Fisher hit two batters in the sixth but struck out three hitters to go unscathed before working around a two-out double in his second inning of work. Senior John Murphy also tossed a pair of scoreless innings, which would’ve earned himself a win in a normal nine-inning contest.

3. The Terps battled back throughout the afternoon.

Maryland fell behind early against Southern New Hampshire, which stole home to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Vought’s homer in the next inning tied the game momentarily, but the Penmen scored again in the third to reclaim an advantage.

After a slow start offensively to the day, Maryland scratched across two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Junior Taylor Wright stretched a single into a double to spark a late rally that gave Maryland a 3-2 advantage through the first nine innings.

In the start of the second half of the 19-inning affair, Maryland fell behind four runs to Southern New Hampshire, but responded with four runs of its own in the next half-inning. The Terps had two walks, two singles a double and a three-run homer to climb back into the game. Maryland scored the following inning for its fifth unanswered run.

Down three in the bottom of the day’s final inning, Maryland used singles from sophomore Bubba Alleyne and freshman Bryce Cunningham to get back within a run. Junior Barrett Smith delivered a game-tying sacrifice fly to force a 19th inning and an eventual tie.

4. Michael Pineiro had a standout day at the plate.

The sophomore didn’t step on the field a season ago for the Terps, but he had more hits than any one of his teammates Sunday afternoon. Pineiro went 4-for-5 at the plate with a walk and a run scored, playing in 15 innings

In the first half of the day, Pineiro picked up two hits and stole a base. He reached scoring position twice but never came around to score. In the second half, though, Pineiro singled and doubled in consecutive plate appearances. He touched home for his only run of the day to cap off Maryland’s five unanswered runs in the second half.

Both an infielder and outfielder, Pineiro was used differently in each half of the afternoon. He played in two positions that were left vacated after last season: first base and left field. He began the first half in the infield but switched to left field for the second half of the day, playing solid defense in both spots.

5. Several new players made an impact. 

Maryland brought in a large freshmen recruiting class and a slew of transfers, many of which played well in their first action against an opponent this fall.

Head coach Rob Vaughn began the second half of the game with three first-year Terps in the lineup: Sebastian Holte-Mancera, Benjamin Cowles and Kody Milton. The trio combined for three hits, three RBIs and a walk.

Holte-Mancera, a junior from Ellsworth Community College, blasted a three-run homer to right-center field in his first at-bat to tie the game at one point. Cowles and Milton, both freshmen, singled in limited action.

Junior right-hander Zach Thompson was on the team last season, but had to sit out a year after transferring from St. Mary’s College. He flourished in 2.2 innings, allowing no runs out of the bullpen. He allowed a double and a single in his last inning of work but stranded both runners on base.

Maryland baseball to open 2019 season in Coastal Carolina tournament

Maryland baseball will begin the 2019 season on Feb. 15 in the Coastal Carolina tournament, according to the team’s schedule released Wednesday morning. The Terps will also play against Campbell and VCU during the opening weekend.

Maryland went 24-30 last season in head coach Rob Vaughn’s first year at the helm, finishing with a losing record for the first time since 2011. The campaign marked the Terrapins’ first year without a postseason appearance since 2013.

The schedule is highlighted by a compelling conference home slate, which features four Big Ten tournament teams from last season: Indiana (March 29-31), Ohio State (April 19-21), Michigan (May 3-5) and Iowa (May 16-18).  

The Big Ten road slate is less challenging for the Terps, who went 9-14 in the conference last year. Maryland will travel to two 2018 Big Ten postseason teams in Illinois (April 5-7) and Minnesota (May 10-12), while also visiting Penn State and Northwestern. Minnesota won the Big Ten tournament and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals last season.

Maryland is scheduled to face six teams from last year’s NCAA tournament: East Carolina, Coastal Carolina, Stetson, Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio State. Of the 16 total games against those teams, nine will be played at home.

The first series at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium will be from Feb. 22 to Feb. 24 against Maine. The Terps will host East Carolina — who swept Maryland in a three-game set last season — from March 15 to March 17 in their only other nonconference home series.

The Terps’ four home-and-home series are the same ones from a season ago. They include William & Mary, VCU, Delaware and James Madison. Maryland went 3-5 in those games last year.

The team will play a three-game road series against Louisiana Lafayette for the first time in program history during the first weekend of March. Over spring break, the Terps play two games in two days at Elon and a three-game series at Creighton.

Maryland will also play one game each against Towson, West Virginia, Villanova, Creighton and George Mason.

Listen to all 50+ games during the 2019 season only on the Maryland Baseball Network.

Former Terp Brandon Lowe set to make MLB debut

Former Maryland infielder Brandon Lowe is set to make his Major League Baseball debut for the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday afternoon. He received his first call up to the majors on Saturday after playing in 46 games this season for the Durham Bulls (AAA).

Lowe is the third Terrapin on an active MLB roster in 2018. He joins left-handed pitcher Adam Kolarek on the Rays, who are one game above .500 and less than 10 games out of the second wild card. Brett Cecil is currently on the 10-Day Disabled List for the St. Louis Cardinals.

In two seasons with Maryland, Lowe helped the Terps toward the first two NCAA Super Regionals appearances in program history. He slashed .338/.448/.509 over his two-year college career, as Maryland made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1971 in his first season on the field in 2014.

Tampa drafted Lowe in the third round (87th overall) in the 2015 MLB Draft. It took less than three years for him to work his way through the Rays’ minor-league system to get his first MLB opportunity. He began his ascension in 2016 with the Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods.

Lowe played on two levels in 2017, the Class-A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs and the Class-AA Montgomery Biscuits. He hit .298 with 11 home runs and 58 RBIs combined between the two clubs. He started this year with Montgomery, but moved up to Durham after 54 games. In 46 games in AAA with the Bulls, Lowe hit .304 with 14 homers and 35 RBIs.

Second baseman Daniel Robertson, who Lowe replaced on the Rays roster, is reportedly out for the season with a thumb injury according to MLB.com. Lowe will start in left field — a position he learned in the minors — and bat seventh against the Chicago White Sox at 1:10 p.m. ET on Sunday.