Terps lose 5-3, drop Game 1 of Super Regional

The Terrapins could not overcome a five-run eighth inning from the University of Virginia, falling 5-3 to the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Charlottesville Super Regional.

Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Terps led 3-0.

In that frame, starting pitcher Mike Shawaryn—the winningest pitcher in Terps history—gave way to Kevin Mooney—the all-time saves leader—with one away and two on base.

The Cavaliers followed with two straight RBI singles to cut the Terps lead to 3-2. After a comebacker and an intentional walk, the bases were loaded for left fielder Kevin Doherty. Doherty deposited Mooney’s first offering off the fence in left-center field, clearing the bases and giving the Cavaliers a 5-3 lead.

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The Terps could not muster their first hit against Virginia starter Connor Jones until the fourth inning, when Brandon Lowe singled with two outs. While Lowe was stranded, the Terps came through in the following inning, when Jose Cuas and Nick Cieri scored on a LaMonte Wade double for the first runs of the game. Then, in the seventh inning, a suicide squeeze from Kevin Biondic allowed Cuas to score again, giving the Terps an insurance run and a three-run lead.

It was in the next half-inning that Shawaryn, who held the Cavaliers scoreless through seven innings while striking out five, handed the ball off to Mooney.

Jones, despite surrendering all three of the Terps’ runs, was credited with the win. Josh Sborz, the Cavalier closer, came on in the eighth inning, allowing just one hit—a single to shortstop Kevin Smith—before retiring the Terps final five batters of the game.

The Terps and Cavaliers will play Game 2 tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Bloom, Terps Banish Top-Seeded Bruins

by: Matt Present

You wouldn’t know Taylor Bloom was a freshman. You wouldn’t know that he was making his fifth career start. Certainly not the way he pitched tonight. In a winner-take-all regional final, Bloom rose to the occasion, allowing just one hit, and retiring all but three batters he faced, in a 2-1 victory, to push Maryland into their second consecutive NCAA Super Regional.

The freshman from Crofton, Maryland never seemed influenced by the stage. He made quick work of the Bruin lineup, throwing just 58 pitches in six plus innings of work. While he only struck out two batters, few balls were put in play with much authority.

If you were wondering when the daily gem from LaMonte Wade would come, it was the top of the third when he unleashed his artillery. What looked to be a sure sacrifice fly to medium deep right-center, became another astounding outfield assist for the junior centerfielder, as Kevin Martir caught the throw on the money, blocked the plate, and applied the tag on Darrell Miller Jr. (Reggie Miller’s nephew) before leaping in the air and spiking the baseball in excitement.

The Terps took the lead just an inning later, when Anthony Papio drove a double to the wall in right-center, to bring home Martir, who got on base with a one out walk. Martir reached base in all four plate appearances; three singles and a walk. The double by Papio was the only extra base hit of the game.

Maryland tacked on one more run in the bottom of the six when Nick Cieri grounded out to second, bringing home Brandon Lowe. The critical play of the inning came earlier in the at-bat, when UCLA pitcher James Kaprielian delivered a wild pitch, allowing Martir to move up to second base. If not for the wild pitch, the groundout by Cieri would likely have resulted in an inning-ending double play.

UCLA would cut the lead in half in the top of the seventh, when Kort Peterson singled home Ty Moore, who had moved into scoring position on a Brandon Lowe error. But Kevin Mooney, who relieved Bloom, would come back to strike out the next two batters and preserve the Maryland lead.

Perhaps the three starts in the middle of the season proved their worth for Mooney. After escaping the seventh, he worked a 1-2-3 eighth, and then in the ninth, with Mike Shawaryn and Alex Robinson warming in the pen for insurance, Mooney quickly retired the first two batters.

But a two out walk, brought the winning run to the plate, and the next batter, Peterson, jumped on a fastball and drove it to right, to give the Bruins runners at the corners, the tying run 90 feet away. After a mound visit, Belanger stuck with Mooney. On his seventh consecutive breaking ball, Mooney froze Miller Jr., and the crowd that was chanting U-C-L-A just moments prior, collectively dropped their jaws.

Maryland will advance to play Virginia next weekend, in Charlottesville, an opportunity for the Terps to get some revenge from a year ago, when the Wahoos ended Maryland’s season, one game shy of Omaha.

Terps fall to top-ranked Bruins in Game 2 of NCAA Regional

Last season, the Terrapins knocked off the University of South Carolina—the top team in their Regional, to punch their ticket to the Super Regional.

The Terps had a chance to do the same tonight, a year later, but fell 4-2 to UCLA Sunday, setting the stage for a winner-take-all Regional Final game. Redshirt-freshman Ryan Selmer, making his third start of the season, took the loss, and sophomore reliever Tucker Forbes got the win. Senior closer David Berg recorded his 13th save of the season.

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The Bruins struck first when sophomore Luke Persico singled with runners on the corners to bring in the game’s first run. UCLA replicated the run-scoring formula in the 2nd inning, getting a leadoff single from sophomore Darrell Miller Jr, with junior Christoph Bono following with a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, junior Kevin Kramer singled to increase UCLA’s lead to 2-0.

Junior LaMonte Wade’s bat cut the deficit in half when he led off the 3rd inning with a solo home run over the right-field fence, but it was all the Terps could muster in the half-inning.

Junior center fielder LaMonte Wade hit his second home run of the Regional Sunday night. (Photo: Alexander Jonesi)
Junior center fielder LaMonte Wade hit his second home run of the Regional Sunday night.
(Photo: Alexander Jonesi)

UCLA battled back in the bottom half of the frame, once again starting the inning with a leadoff single. Two straight two-out singles brought left-fielder junior Ty Moore in to score, giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead.

Selmer exited the game after just 2.2 innings, giving up eight hits and all three of the Bruin runs. Junior southpaw Zach Morris took over for Selmer, inheriting a base runner and a 2-0 count to Bono. Morris eventually walked Bono (charged to Selmer), but got the next batter to ground out to end the inning.

The Terps managed to push one more across in the 5th inning, when freshman Kevin Smith executed a safety squeeze to bring in senior Tim Lewis. But, that’s as far as the Maryland offense would get as the Bruins shut-down bullpen took over.

After Forbes followed up the end of the 6th with a perfect 7th inning, the Bruins added some insurance when Ty Moore scored his second run of the game. Moore stole 3rd with two away in the bottom of the inning and scored when junior catcher Kevin Martir’s throw got by junior third baseman Jose Cuas.

Berg, the Bruins career saves leader, came on in the 8th inning and worked a six-out save. The right-hander danced out of danger in his first inning of work, getting Cuas to fly out and sophomore Nick Cieri to ground out to strand runners on first and second. The closer set the Terps down in order in the final frame to stave off elimination.

The Terps and the Bruins will meet again tomorrow night at 11:00 p.m. ET to compete for a spot in the Super Regional.

Terps Knock off Tournament’s Top Team, Set Single Season Wins Record

by: Matt Present

One year ago Rob Galligan had a team high 9.95 ERA. He pitched in a team low six games. Tonight, the Terps most improved player dominated in relief, as Maryland knocked off the tournament’s number one overall seed, UCLA, 4-1. The victory was the team’s 41st of the season, which is the most single-season wins in program history.

Starter Brian Shaffer who led the Terps to a huge victory over Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament his last time out, lasted just two innings, before departing with forearm discomfort. Bobby Ruse came in and retired the first five batters he faced, but then after allowing two men to reach, Jim Belanger summoned Galligan. The junior lefty walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, but proceeded to induce a chopper to second to get out of the jam. Galligan worked four and a third scoreless innings, striking out two, allowed just one subsequent base runner, earning the win for the Terps.

“I think everyone was fired up, and as the game started getting to end, we started believing it and feeling it,” said Galligan.

The Bruins got on the board first in the top of the fourth when they turned an error (which should have been ruled an infield single), a hit by pitch, a bunt single, and a sacrifice fly into their only run of the ballgame.

The Terps took the lead in the bottom of the second, a lead they held for the remainder of the contest. After Kevin Martir and Nick Cieri both singled up the middle, Tim Lewis dunked a perfectly placed triple down the left field line to give the Terps the 2-1 edge. The hit was Lewis’ first base knock since the Terps home finale against Liberty on May 12th.

The Terps added to their lead in the third when LaMonte Wade led off the inning by smashing a solo shot over the right field fence for his third round-tripper of the season. Kevin Smith followed with a double to right, and then the Terps used a Brandon Lowe sacrifice bunt and a Kevin Martir RBI groundout to push across their fourth run of the game.

The final ingredient to the Terps winning recipe was defense. After Wade made a leaping catch at the wall last night, he followed it up with his arm tonight, gunning down UCLA’s Christoph Bono to end the top of the second, on a play where Martir blocked the plate beautify, upon receiving the throw from the Terps center fielder. And then in the eighth it was Anthony Papio with a headlong dive in right, robbing Luke Persico of extra bases.

“Today when you look at the game, I think there are two really big things – our defense was tremendous; we took a big run off the board in the second inning, and then Rob Galligan, what he did today was very special,” said Belanger.

Kevin Mooney came in to seal the deal for Maryland, striking out two, on his way to his fifth post-season save this season. Maryland will play the winner of UCLA and CSU Bakersfield tomorrow night at 11:05 p.m. eastern time. A victory tomorrow night would advance the Terps to their second consecutive super regional. A loss would force an additional game Monday night to decide the region.

Terps Ride Pitching to a Win in First Regional Game

By Jimmy Perrino

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On perfect evening for baseball at the beautiful Jackie Robinson Stadium, the Maryland Terrapins (40-21) defeated Ole Miss Rebels (30-27) in the first game of the Los Angeles regional, 3-1.

The Terps got off to a hot start against Rebels starter Christian Trent (7-7). In the top of the first, the southpaw relinquished three consecutive doubles off the bats of Kevin Smith, Brandon Lowe and Kevin Martir, which plated two runs. Even without suspended head coach John Szefc, Maryland played their typical small ball. In the fourth inning, a squeeze by Kevin Smith extended their lead to three.

Those few runs were all Mike Shawaryn (13-2) needed. The Maryland ace was good again today, although he was plagued with command issues and a tight strike zone, issuing five walks. In five and one third innings of work he allowed one run, and only surrendered two hits. The winningest pitcher in Maryland history also added to his personal accolades tonight. His nine-strikeout performance was also good enough to break Jake Stinnett’s single season strikeout record at Maryland, a record he set just last year.

Maryland Baseball Network’s own John Vittas highlighted the importance of defense in this regional, and was proven correct during this game. Lowe made two sensational grabs for the Terps, stabbing a groundball up the middle and snaring a line drive out of the air to save two runs. LaMonte Wade made his own impact with the glove, robbing a homerun in the eighth inning. Austin Knight was equally as important for the Rebels, throwing out three Maryland base runners in the first four innings. This contributed to the Terrapins stranding ten runners through seven innings.

By the latter innings, both bullpens had taken over the game. Like Rob Galligan, who limited the Ole Miss damage in the sixth, Jacob Waguespack quieted the Terps after Trent exited the game in the seventh. While Waguespack finished the game for the Rebels, Bobby Ruse threw a perfect seventh and eighth for Maryland and Kevin Mooney closed out the game with a three strikeout ninth.

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Maryland will face the winner of UCLA and Cal State Bakersfield tomorrow at 11:00pm EST. Maryland’s probable starter is Freshman RHP Brian Shaffer (5-1, 4.73). As always, the game will be broadcast on the Maryland Baseball Network.

Terps fall short to Michigan, lose second straight Conference Championship Game

by John Vittas

Maryland left the bases loaded in the ninth, losing to their former head coach and the Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten Championship Game Sunday at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The Terps scored one run in the eighth and one run in the ninth but stranded three when Brandon Lowe popped out to left field to end the game. Maryland got hits in the ninth from Nick Cieri, Jamal Wade and LaMonte Wade to put the pressure on Michigan closer Jacob Cronenworth before Lowe popped out, sealing an NCAA Tournament bid for the Wolverines.

In a tournament in which Maryland won close games by forcing their opponents to make mistakes, it was the Terps to make the mistakes Sunday against Michigan. Several miscues cost the Terps a chance at their first Big Ten title:

1. Top of the 8th – 4-1 Michigan – Terps batting with 2 on and 2 out: Jose Cuas doubled to right field past a diving Johnny Slater. With Kevin Martir rounding third, base coach Rob Vaughn threw up a stop sign. However, the wrong guy noticed it. Vaughn intended to stop Cuas at second, but Martir who was rounding third, noticed the signal and came to sliding stop in the grass in foul territory. The Michigan relay came to third base, where Travis Maezes tagged out Cuas to end the inning before Martir reached home plate. The play cost Maryland at least one run. If the Terps had been on the same page, they would have had Cuas as the tying run at second with two outs for Anthony Papio. Instead, the Terps entered the bottom of the eighth down by two.

Martir, Cuas and Vaughn's miscoummincation may have cost the Terps a chance to win the Big Ten Tournament. (Photo: Alexander Jonesi)
Martir, Cuas and Vaughn’s miscoummincation may have cost the Terps a chance to win the Big Ten Tournament.
(Photo: Alexander Jonesi)

“Once I saw the right fielder dive, in my head I thought three,” Cuas said after the game. “I was overly aggressive. I didn’t pick up the coach at all and it cost us.”

2. Bottom of the 4th – 0-0 score – runner at 1st and nobody out – Maryland starting pitcher Taylor Bloom fielded a comebacker and mis-fired on a throw to second base. The ball caromed off shortstop Kevin Smith’s glove and into left center field, giving Michigan runners at the corners and nobody out. The error cost Maryland a potential double play and sparked Michigan’s four-run rally.

3. Bottom of the 4th – 2-0 Michigan – 2 outs, bases loaded – Rob Galligan bounced a curveball and catcher Kevin Martir was late in his attempt to block it. The ball bounced through Martir’s legs and allowed Cody Bruder to score the third Michigan run.

4. Bottom of the 4th – With two Michigan runs already across, Rob Galligan walked three consecutive Wolverines, adding fuel to fire in what was a disastrous top of the fourth for the Terps.

“Some days you have it, some days you don’t,” Galligan said. “Today was just one of those days I didn’t have it.”

5. Top of the 7th – Anthony Papio led off the inning with a double off the center field wall. The next three batters struck out and Papio never got beyond second base. The Terps also left the bases loaded in the third and ninth innings respectively, stranding nine runners on the day.

The Terps lost their cool during that seventh inning, as head coach John Szefc was ejected after Nick Cieri, Tim Lewis and the entire Maryland dugout vehemently argued several strike calls made by home plate umpire Jim Schaly.

“Things got intense in the dugout, some of the guys were upset with the calls,” Cuas said. “But it wasn’t the reason we lost.”

It was just one of many frustrations the Terps experienced Sunday. But perhaps the most significant reason the Terrapins will head home disappointed is because of their result in the conference championship last year. Maryland lost to Georgia Tech 9-4 in the ACC Championship game a year ago, meaning they’ve blown consecutive opportunities to bring home a conference championship.

“It’s tough for the guys that have been through it last year. But as one of our guys said last year, it’s better to lose this championship than the one next week,” Cuas said. “It’s important for us to put this behind us.”

The Terps will head home to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show Monday. The show gets underway at noon on ESPNU. It appears likely the Terps will secure an at-large bid, as the players look forward to getting back on the field.

“The biggest thing is for us to stay positive and not let this affect our momentum,” Galligan said. “We’ve been playing great baseball the past week. Hopefully we get to a good regional and we take care of business.”

Terps induce Indiana mistakes to earn berth in Big Ten title game

by John Vittas

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Maryland (39-20) used small ball to force Indiana (34-22) into several defensive miscues in the seventh inning, igniting a four-run rally that spurred the Terps’ 4-2 win, earning them a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game.

The win earns Maryland a trip to their second consecutive conference championship game. They lost to Georgia Tech 9-4 at the ACC Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2014. This year, they will take on either Michigan or Illinois Sunday at 2pm ET at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Maryland’s four-run seventh inning on Saturday began when Nick Cieri reached first on a dropped third strike, the first of many defensive miscues for Indiana. The Hoosiers would proceed to walk a batter, mishandle a bunt, boot a grounder and throw to the wrong base. Maryland would need just one hit, an RBI single by Kevin Martir, to take a 4-0 lead.

“The game is pitching and defense, obviously,” the Terps’ catcher Martir said. “That’s where the success is coming from, putting the pressure on them.”

Ryan Selmer turned in another excellent start for Maryland. (Photo: Alexander Jonesi)
Ryan Selmer turned in another excellent start for Maryland.
(Photo: Alexander Jonesi)

Alex Robinson allowed the first two men to reach in the Indiana eighth, but Kevin Mooney got the final six outs to seal the 4-2 win. Mooney earned his third save of the Big Ten Tournament Saturday, becoming the first pitcher in Maryland baseball history to reach 30 saves.

“We stumbled a little bit there in the eighth, but Mooney came in and does what he normally does,” head coach John Szefc said.

Ryan Selmer started the game on the mound for Maryland and worked five and two thirds innings of scoreless baseball, inducing three double plays to keep the Hoosiers off the scoreboard. He only needed two strikeouts.

“I think we have one of the best infields and outfields in the country and I think if I just put it in their hands and let them make the plays, then we’ll have a lot of success,” Selmer said.

Rob Galligan relieved him and pitched a spotless inning and a third. Galligan pitched a scoreless seventh inning to pick up the win.

The Terps’ starting pitching has been outstanding in Maryland’s three Big Ten Tournament wins. Selmer, Mike Shawaryn and Brian Shaffer have combined to hold opponents to just two runs in 19 and two thirds innings, equating to an ERA of 0.92.

Defense has been another positive trend for Maryland. They’ve committed only one error in three games, while their opponents have committed eight. Seven of the eight runs the Terrapins have scored in the Big Ten Tournament have been unearned.

“Defensively we were very solid,” Szefc said. “We’ve been successful with pitching and defense and we took advantage of some defensive miscues on their part.”

Maryland will take on either Michigan or Illinois in tomorrow’s Big Ten Championship game, and the Maryland Baseball Network will be live from Minneapolis to broadcast the action shortly before 2pm ET.