Strong relief pitching and the magic bat of Kevin Smith help as Terps avoid the sweep against UNC Wilmington

By Arielle Gurin

The ranked Maryland Terrapins (8-4) defeated UNC Wilmington (9-4) 11-9 after strong pitching relief from senior Bobby Ruse (3-0) and a five out save from junior Alex Robinson (1).

The Seahawks gained an early 4-0 lead until the 3rd inning when Brandon Lowe hit an RBI single scoring Kengo Kawahara who had his first collegiate hit in that inning. A solo shot by first basemen Corey Dick made it 5-1 Seahawks, and knocked out starter Brian Shaffer. Kevin Martir brought the game in reach for the Terps with a two-run shot in the 4th.

The Terps took Sunday's series finale to salvage a game against upset-minded UNC Wilmington
The Terps took Sunday’s series finale to salvage a game against upset-minded UNC Wilmington

The big blow however, came off the bat of freshmen Kevin Smith in the 6th. Cory Gantz came in to relieve Taylor Hyssong who loaded the bases. Down 6-4 with two outs, Smith took Gantz long for his first home run of the season, and RBI numbers 8-11, putting the Terps on top for the first time, 8-6.

“I’ve never had a grand slam so that was pretty exciting.” Smith said. “I just wanted to get a big hit for my team. We had been down for a while and we needed some energy. I was excited.”

Cuas’ solo shot in the 7th gave the Terps a comfortable lead going into the stretch. Kevin Smith’s day wasn’t over as he picked up RBI number five in the 8th after a double.

The defense wasn’t done quite yet for either team.

Tayler Stiles came in to pitch after a single by Connelly and a throwing error by second basemen Brandon Lowe knocked Ruse out. A couple of big hits and another error by the Terps ended Stiles’ stint. Taylor Bloom couldn’t get the job done as he walked Casey Golden on four pitches.

Enter Alex Robinson who went on to pick up the five out save. Robinson recorded two big outs, ending the 8th with a score of 10-9, Maryland still on top.

Head Coach John Szefc was pleased with his left-handed relief pitcher. “Alex has come a long way,” Szefc said. “That’s a money save right there. On the road, coming in to face two left handed hitters. He’s been as good as advertised.”

Kevin Biondic walked and went on to score the Terps’ eleventh and final run after a throwing error by McDowell.

Seven unanswered runs solidified a W for the Terps today in the series finale in North Carolina as they avoid the sweep.

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