Maryland’s big eighth inning results in fifth straight win

A six-run eighth inning lifted Maryland to its fifth straight win Wednesday, an 11-5 victory over visiting St. Joseph’s.

The Terrapins entered the inning tied with the Hawks but timely hits, including a leadoff solo home run by Madison Nickens, and two fielding errors by the St. Joseph’s’s defense, erased any doubt over the outcome elicited earlier in the game.

“Momentum is on our side,” Nickens said. “I’m the first guy to come up and I put us on top and everyone is just feeding off that. Everybody was excited.”

For the second time in two days, Maryland’s starting pitcher failed to make it out of the second inning, as Cameron Enck was chased after loading the bases and recording no outs in the second.

And for the second time in two days, the Terrapins received stellar play from its relievers, who combined to pitch 7.1 innings and give up only one run.

“That’s the second day we’ve been down by a big inning, so it’s a matter of trying to manage the staff through that game, as far as putting pitchers in the right position to hopefully be successful,” Head coach John Szefc said. “They really all did a pretty good job in general.”

The sophomore right-hander walked the leadoff hitter to open the inning, before giving up consecutive base hits to Matt Maul and Peter Sitaras, which scored one. Enck hit the next batter, which loaded the bases and ended his day.

Szefc called upon Tayler Stiles to replace Enck, one day removed from earning the win against William & Mary.

Enck remained on the hook for three more runs after Stiles surrendered two hits before striking out Charlie Concannon to close out the inning.

Stiles pitched into the fifth, where he was relieved by Jared Price. Stiles finished with four strikeouts and four hits over 3.1 scoreless innings.

Junior Justin Morris gets mobbed by teammates after his home run. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 3/8/2017

Maryland used another big second inning to initiate its comeback, manufacturing a Will Watson run and then receiving a solo home run from Justin Morris.

Marty Costes tied the game with a two-run shot the next inning, and AJ Lee gave the Terrapins their first lead in the sixth with a solo home run.

St. Joseph’s tied the game in the seventh, and nearly retook the lead in the eighth, after Andrew Miller put the first two batters on with back-to-back walks. Miller was taken out in favor of Mike Rescigno, who retired the next three batters, setting up the Terrapins’ big bottom eighth.

“I mean that’s the save right there,” Szefc said. “Once you get out of that inning as the home team, things will normally go your way at the point. But if they don’t, God knows where that game finishes.”

Nickens’s finished with only one hit Wednesday, but it was a moonshot over the fence in center field that dramatically shifted the outcome.

“[Nickens’s] home run was huge,” Rescigno said. “That probably won us the game honestly. I mean we put up what, five more after that, but that home run was definitely big for us.”

With 11 runs Wednesday, Maryland has now scored at least nine runs in four of the past five games, and 43 total runs during the win streak.

“What we’re trying to do is to make it difficult, very difficult for an opposing pitching staff to work through our team for 27 outs,” Szefc said. “Which I think they’ve done a really good job of that lately and it hasn’t even been 27, its been 24.”

Maryland hosts Bryant for its first home series of the season, starting Friday at 4 p.m.