Rain doesn’t spoil Fall World Series opener

Heavy rain drenched College Park, Md., Friday afternoon, pushing first pitch of Game 1 of Maryland’s annual Fall World Series back by nearly an hour.

Once the downpour subsided and the game began, Team Martir wasted no time getting on the board. In the first inning, senior Nick Cieri stepped to the plate with runners on second and third after Kevin Smith led off with sharp single to left and Madison Nickens walked. Cieri pulled a hard ground ball down the right field line off Team Papio starting pitcher Mike Rescigno to give his team a 2-0 advantage.

That was all Team Martir, coached by former Terrapin All-American catcher Kevin Martir, would need, as Ryan Selmer, Jamal Wade and Tyler Brandon combined for the six-inning shutout, giving Team Martir the 3-0 win. Nickens reached base three times, scoring twice.

Selmer started and got the win, hurling 2 1/3 scoreless frames, allowing just two hits, striking out four and walking none.

Nickens helped his team widen its lead in the fifth, capitalizing on a Team Papio error. With one out, he reached on a single up the middle and promptly stole second base. Then, he was nearly picked off of second base, but pitcher Truman Thomas threw wide of the bag and the ball went into center field, allowing the speedy Nickens to score standing up, giving Team Martir a three-run lead.

Despite not putting any runs on the board, Team Papio, led by Maryland’s all-time leader in games played, Anthony Papio, had plenty of chances to score. Papio’s team tallied seven hits and worked three walks but left multiple runners on base in four different innings, going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Team Papio’s final scoring chance came in the sixth inning. Facing defeat with two outs and nobody on base, Zach Jancarski worked a walk and AJ Lee lined a single into left field off pitcher Tyler Brandon, prompting a mound visit from Martir. Next up was sophomore Nick Dunn, who had already singled and doubled, but Brandon got him to ground out, securing the save and giving Team Martir a 1-0 series lead.

The two teams will meet again on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium for Game 2 of the series.