Maryland’s return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017 got off to a rough start in a 13-10 loss to Charlotte in the Greenville Regional Friday.
It was a back and forth game to start off the contest with a tie game 3-3 going into the bottom of the fourth inning. That’s when Charlotte blew the game open against Maryland starting pitching Jason Savacool. The bases were quickly loaded on a walk, a single and a bunt single that scored a run on an errant throw by Tommy Gardiner that made the score 4-3. Charlotte would add another run and load the bases once more chasing Savacool out of the game and forced coach Rob Vaughn to go to his bullpen and bring in David Falco to try and put out a fire facing the top of the 49ers lineup in a big spot in the game.
But the fire wasn’t put out by Falco as Charlotte’s offense made their impact on the game with a sac-fly that scored another run and two more RBI singles suddenly made the score 8-3 and put the Terps suddenly in an early hole that be hard to climb out of.
The game got off to a scary start for Maryland when Chris Alleyne took a foul ball to the head and had to leave the contest in the first at-bat of the game and was replaced by Tucker Flint a brutal early blow for the Terps.
But Maxwell Costes gave Maryland its first lead and run of the NCAA Tournament in the second inning with a home run off of Andrew Lindsey to right field opened up the scoring and got the Maryland dugout fired up.
Charlotte answered right back and took the lead when Jack Dragum hit a two-run homer off of Savacool to make it 2-1. In the third inning, down 3-1, Maryland tied the game in the top of the fourth thanks to a Gardiner RBI single and a Troy Scheffler Jr. sac-bunt as both pitching staffs were struggling to contain these high powered offenses.
Now trailing by five runs Maryland loaded the bases in the top of the fifth without even putting a ball in play via three walks but could only muster up two runs on an RBI groundout by Costes and a wild pitch.
But every time Maryland tried to get back into the game Charlotte answered any rally the Terps had. A three-run six-inning for Charlotte was highlighted by two long home runs by David McCabe and Will Butcher gave Charlotte a 12-5 lead.
Maryland had one last rally in them in the seventh inning scoring four runs highlighted by a sac-fly by Randy Bednar and RBI singles by Costes and Gardiner to cut the lead to 12-9 and make things interesting.
But again all game, Charlotte would answer any momentum Maryland had with their offense when McCabe hit his second home run of the game to make it 13-9 in the bottom half of the inning leaving the Terps frustrated.
Bednar would hit a home run in the top of the ninth to make it 13-10 to show signs of life that the group wouldn’t quit at this point in the season but it was too little too late for Maryland. Charlotte spoiled their welcome back party to the NCAA Tournament and now Maryland will play Norfolk State in an elimination game Saturday at 1:00 p.m. looking to continue their season for another day.