The Maryland Terrapins were leading West Virginia 4-3 heading into the eighth inning, just six outs away from advancing to the regional final. The eighth inning was a different story than the rest of the game though, and Maryland was sent home packing after losing to WVU 8-5.
The eighth inning was just as surprising as it was devastating for Maryland. The Terps pitching had been very solid in the game, and one of their most dominant pitchers, Ryan Selmer was coming in for a six-out save attempt. Selmer ended up going just .1 IP, while giving up four runs.
The Terps, having just blown a lead, did not go down without a fight. Nick Dunn lead off with a home run, and Maryland soon had two runners on with one out, bringing the tying run to the plate, before eventually falling to WVU.
Early on, it was Maryland who was scoring. Marty Costes unleashed a bomb to left in the second to give the Terps an early 1-0 lead. One inning later, it was Brandon Gum who doubled home Justin Morris, putting Maryland up 2-0.
That looked to be good run support for Tyler Blohm, who again did not allow many runs or hits, but struggled to give Maryland length. Blohm went just three innings, not allowing a run while striking out four.
He was relieved by John Murphy, who was thrown in a tough situation in the fourth. Murphy inherited a bases loaded, nobody out situation in just a two-run game. Murphy showed why Head Coach John Szefc has so much trust in him, as he struck out the side to end the inning, and was understandably fired up.
MURPH IS A MAGICIAN!
— Maryland Baseball (@TerpsBaseball) June 4, 2017
“I felt Murphy was really tremendous today,” Head Coach John Szefc said. “I give him credit, he pitched three innings right in the middle of the game and kept us in it.”
Murphy then was given some run support himself, as Brandon Gum snuck a two-run home run inside the left field foul pole, plating A.J. Lee.
“Yeah, that was big, got a little help from the wind,” Brandon Gum said. “When you can go up 4-0 with our guys on the mound, you definitely feel good about it.”
WVU added one run in the sixth, and two in the seventh to get within one. It looked like they were going to tie the game or take the lead, but Justin Morris came up big behind the plate.
WVU was attempting a suicide squeeze play, but the pitch by Jared Price went array. Morris made a great play to nab the wayward pitch, and also was alert enough to tag out the runner trying to get home.
Maryland, conversely, was struggling mightily offensively. The Terps had success off starter Kade Strowd, who gave up 4 ER in 4.1 IP. Jackson Sigman, the senior reliever for WVU, shut down Maryland until the ninth. He pitched 4.2 innings, striking out seven while allowing just one run.
WVU had plenty of offensive success in both games in the regional against Maryland, scoring nine and eight runs respectively in the two games. They did their scoring in much different ways though, as in the opening game of the series, the Mountaineers hit six home runs, but Sunday’s game they played small ball, not hitting one long ball.
Maryland’s season is over with the loss to WVU. The Mountaineers will go on to face Wake Forest in the Winston-Salem Regional Final.