Aggies come from behind again to clinch Fall World Series

In two consecutive games, the Old Liners were only three outs away from clinching the Fall World Series. Both times, the Aggies battled back from three runs down in the final inning.

One day after scoring four runs in their final at-bats to tie the series, 1-1, the Aggies scored three runs on three hits in the top of the seventh after being held scoreless the entire game.

After forcing extras, Aggies first baseman Michael Pineiro came up with the bases loaded and delivered a two-run single to give his team a 5-3 lead. One pitch later, third baseman Max Costes boomed a double to deep left field, scoring yet another run for the Aggies in the eighth.

The late-inning onslaught not only gave the Aggies a comeback 6-4 win, but also a Fall World Series victory after losing the first game last Wednesday. The Aggies scored six runs in the final two innings, with right-hander Will Glock holding on for the save.

For much of the afternoon, though, the Old Liners pitchers were able to strand the tying runs on base with a two-run lead.

Left-hander Billy Phillips made his second start of the series for the Old Liners, going three strong scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and striking out three. He stranded the bases loaded in the first inning and cruised through the next two.

After two walks to start the fourth, right-hander Nick Turnbull came in looking to strand the two potential tying runs on base. He did just that, retiring the next three batters to get out of a jam unscathed.

An inning later, Old Liners reliever Sean Fisher did the same once Turnbull got into similar trouble. Coming in with two runner in scoring position and nobody out. The southpaw preserved the two-run lead as well to get out of his first inning of work.

Right fielder Randy Bednar went 3-for-4 and stole four bases for the Old Liners, playing a part in all three of the team’s runs. After driving in left fielder Caleb Walls with an RBI single in the first, Bednar swiped second before also coming around to score in the two-run frame.

The sophomore looked confident at the plate as one of Maryland’s returning bats from a season ago. In addition to driving in a run and scoring in the first, he doubled and singled again before touching home for the Old Liners’ third run in the sixth inning.

Despite Bednar’s production, the Aggies bats outmatched him late in the game.

From top to bottom, the Aggies lineup delivered in the late crucial moments of the game in order to give them the victory in the series finale. Although they struggled to score runs early — stranding eight base runners through the first six innings — they didn’t leave anyone hanging with the game on the line.

 

 

 

 

 

Aggies walk off in thrilling Game 2 of Fall World Series

Zach Doss was mobbed by his Aggies teammates as he made his way down to first base, moments after he was plunked to bring in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Down 5-2 with only one out remaining, the Aggies loaded the bases before using four free passes — capped off by Doss’ hit by pitch — to give the Aggies a series-tying win over the Old Liners in the Fall World Series.

After the Old Liners got off to a hot start, with redshirt-junior Caleb Walls having a big night, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a single and a solo homer, the win seemed in the bag for the team. With Walls as leadoff hitter, the Old Liners put up three runs in the first two innings.

But the Old Liners offense, which held a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, wasn’t enough in the end.

The Aggies started their comeback in the fourth, putting up two runs off two wild pitches and an RBI-groundout from Doss that combined to score Max Costes and Kody Milton, respectively.

With an offense that lagged behind that of the Old Liners, it was the Aggies’ relief pitching that allowed for the late-inning comeback.

After relieving Zach Thompson in the second, left-hander Tuck Tucker went 2.2 innings, recording eight straight outs including four strikeouts.

Then, after a solid fifth inning from Tyler Blohm, redshirt sophomore Mike Vasturia threw a solid sixth inning and worked out of a jam in the top of the seventh to strand a runner at third after recording two strikeouts in a row. With that, the Aggies had a newfound momentum for a late-inning rally.

A walk from pinch-hitter Bryce Cunningham followed by a double down the third-base line from Ben Irvine and a walk to Michael Pineiro gave Costes the chance to give the Aggies the walk-off with two outs.

It took two more three more batters for the walk-off to come, after the Aggies worked four walks in a row and a final hit-by-pitch to seal the deal, making the late-inning comeback possible.

With the series tied at one game apiece, both teams will look claim the fall classic on Monday, with a Game 3 start time of 3:30 p.m.

 

Old Liners hold on against Aggies for Game 1 win in Fall World Series

Entering the fifth inning, the Old Liners were hitless in Game 1 of the Fall World Series but only trailed the Aggies by one run.

Once that hit came, an RBI-double from sophomore Randy Bednar, the Old Liners’ offense kept coming, and a two-run bottom of the fifth led them to their 3-2 win in the seven-inning contest.

“After something like that, you’re kind of more amped up, kind of more into it,” Bednar said.

The sophomore outfielder also scored the Old Liners’ first run, after a missed throw to first from Aggies freshman reliever Andrew Vail put him on second with no outs in the third inning.

A sacrifice fly from catcher Justin Vought drove home the run to tie the Aggies at one run apiece. The sophomore also pulled through for the Old Liners behind the plate, catching two runners stealing.

Bednar was just one of many underclassmen whose offensive production helped their respective team. For the Aggies, both runs came from freshman. Outfielder Max Costes knocked an RBI-double to right-center in the first frame, scoring first baseman Michael Pineiro from first with one out, giving the Aggies the early lead.

“The young guys have done a really good job this fall of buying in and really getting into what we’re doing here,” said senior A.J. Lee. “We had some big swings from young guys today… [they’re] really stepping into their own and they’re not feeling like freshmen anymore.”

Then, in his second at-bat of the night, freshman Kody Milton singled to second. He crossed the plate two wild pitches and a sacrifice squeeze later, scoring the Aggies’ temporary tie-breaking run in the fourth inning.

The Aggies also relied on freshman power on the mound. Right-hander Trevor LaBonte delivered two hitless innings to start, followed by a solid 2.1 innings from Vail.

“I think [LaBonte’s] going to be really good,” Head Coach Rob Vaughn said. “A little bit of our success this season is going to be dictated on how fast some of our young pups grow up.”

A shutdown bottom of the sixth from redshirt-sophomore Mike Vasturia maintained the Old Liners’ one-run lead, giving the Aggies the chance for a comeback in the seventh and final inning.

“When you can get a 1-2-3 inning there, with us (the Aggies) down one going into the last inning, it’s huge,” said Lee. “The arms we ran out there today are really good. I think [with] the depth of our staff, I think we’re pretty good.”

The Aggies threatened in the top of the seventh, as junior Ben Irvine drew a leadoff walk. He then swiped second and moved to third on a wild pitch with only one out.

But Old Liners right-hander Elliot Zoellner, who came on the for save, kept Irvine 90 feet away. He induced a ground ball with the infield in to record the second out and registered the final out with a strikeout to secure the one-run victory in Game 1.

“That’s the best intersquad game we’ve played (in the two years the current coaching staff has been together)” Vaughn said. “As far as intensity, as far as communication, as far as young guys being involved in executing, that was one of the best we’ve had in two years.”

Game 2 of the Fall World Series will be at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, as the Aggies look to even the series.

5 takeaways from Maryland’s exhibition against Southern New Hampshire

Maryland baseball played in one of its two fall exhibitions Sunday afternoon, hosting Southern New Hampshire for a 19-inning marathon.

The Terps scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to secure a 3-2 lead through nine innings. A scheduled 18-inning exhibition went one more, as Maryland scored three runs in the bottom of the last inning to eventually earn a tie after one extra inning.

Here are five takeaways from the exhibition:

1. Justin Vought made a difference in multiple areas.

Sophomore Justin Vought — the team’s only returning catcher — hit a home run, threw out a would-be base stealer and scored the go-ahead to help the Terps secure a lead through nine innings.

In the second inning, Vought launched a solo shot to left-center field to tie the game at 1-1. He hit three home runs last season in his freshman campaign, now poised for a breakout second year in College Park.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Vought worked a walk and later came around to score as the go-ahead run in the first nine frames. Vought continued his success in the latter half of the day, doubling before receiving rest in the last six innings of the afternoon.

2. The relievers shut down the Penmen in the first nine innings. 

Senior right-hander Hunter Parsons and junior lefty Tyler Blohm — two of last year’s weekend starters — tossed the first three innings of the afternoon, each conceding a run. From that point on, though, Maryland’s relievers contained the Penmen through nine innings.

Junior right-hander Nick Turnbull relieved Blohm after the third, tossing two scoreless frames. The transfer from Harford Community College faced the minimum in his first inning before working into a jam in the fifth. He stranded two runners in scoring position to escape.

Sophomore left-hander Sean Fisher hit two batters in the sixth but struck out three hitters to go unscathed before working around a two-out double in his second inning of work. Senior John Murphy also tossed a pair of scoreless innings, which would’ve earned himself a win in a normal nine-inning contest.

3. The Terps battled back throughout the afternoon.

Maryland fell behind early against Southern New Hampshire, which stole home to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Vought’s homer in the next inning tied the game momentarily, but the Penmen scored again in the third to reclaim an advantage.

After a slow start offensively to the day, Maryland scratched across two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Junior Taylor Wright stretched a single into a double to spark a late rally that gave Maryland a 3-2 advantage through the first nine innings.

In the start of the second half of the 19-inning affair, Maryland fell behind four runs to Southern New Hampshire, but responded with four runs of its own in the next half-inning. The Terps had two walks, two singles a double and a three-run homer to climb back into the game. Maryland scored the following inning for its fifth unanswered run.

Down three in the bottom of the day’s final inning, Maryland used singles from sophomore Bubba Alleyne and freshman Bryce Cunningham to get back within a run. Junior Barrett Smith delivered a game-tying sacrifice fly to force a 19th inning and an eventual tie.

4. Michael Pineiro had a standout day at the plate.

The sophomore didn’t step on the field a season ago for the Terps, but he had more hits than any one of his teammates Sunday afternoon. Pineiro went 4-for-5 at the plate with a walk and a run scored, playing in 15 innings

In the first half of the day, Pineiro picked up two hits and stole a base. He reached scoring position twice but never came around to score. In the second half, though, Pineiro singled and doubled in consecutive plate appearances. He touched home for his only run of the day to cap off Maryland’s five unanswered runs in the second half.

Both an infielder and outfielder, Pineiro was used differently in each half of the afternoon. He played in two positions that were left vacated after last season: first base and left field. He began the first half in the infield but switched to left field for the second half of the day, playing solid defense in both spots.

5. Several new players made an impact. 

Maryland brought in a large freshmen recruiting class and a slew of transfers, many of which played well in their first action against an opponent this fall.

Head coach Rob Vaughn began the second half of the game with three first-year Terps in the lineup: Sebastian Holte-Mancera, Benjamin Cowles and Kody Milton. The trio combined for three hits, three RBIs and a walk.

Holte-Mancera, a junior from Ellsworth Community College, blasted a three-run homer to right-center field in his first at-bat to tie the game at one point. Cowles and Milton, both freshmen, singled in limited action.

Junior right-hander Zach Thompson was on the team last season, but had to sit out a year after transferring from St. Mary’s College. He flourished in 2.2 innings, allowing no runs out of the bullpen. He allowed a double and a single in his last inning of work but stranded both runners on base.

Maryland’s 2018 season ends with 13-3 loss to Indiana

Maryland baseball learned during pregame warmups that Saturday’s game against Indiana would be its last of the season. Michigan State’s win clinched the final spot in the Big Ten tournament, eliminating the Terps from postseason contention for the first time since 2013.

Maryland (24-30, 9-14 Big Ten) arrived in Bloomington with their eyes set on a fifth straight conference tournament berth, but left with three straight losses and a nine-month wait before their next game. For a handful of Terps — whether it be because of graduation or the upcoming MLB Draft — Saturday’s 13-3 loss was their last time donning the Maryland uniform.

In the last four seasons, Maryland has participated in every conference tournament, earned three trips to the NCAA Tournament and advanced twice to the NCAA Super Regionals. That streak of success wasn’t replicated in the 2018 season, which failed to yield a postseason appearance.

Indiana (37-15, 14-9) still had motivation to play well in the regular season finale, hoping for better seeding in next week’s tournament while celebrating senior day. The Hoosiers scored in five of the first six innings, jumping on starting pitcher Mark DiLuia and a variety of relievers thereafter.

Right fielder Logan Sowers blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the first off DiLuia, taking advantage following a Maryland error and a one-out walk. The Hoosiers scored three more times in the next two frames against the freshman, who had been great for the past month and a half before Saturday.

Maryland nearly came back twice before the Hoosiers started to pull away. Junior third baseman Taylor Wright finished the season strong, collecting another two RBIs on a two-out single to cut Indiana’s lead to 3-2. After Indiana added another run, freshman Randy Bednar crushed a solo homer for his sixth of the season.

At least four players in Saturday’s starting lineup won’t be back next season, but Wright and Bednar both will be. They accounted for three of Maryland’s five hits and all three runs driven in.

Left-hander Sean Fisher worked a scoreless fourth inning, but it took four different pitchers to get through the next two frames. Fisher and right-hander Elliot Zoellner each finished short relief outings with three earned runs before Alec Tuohy entered and conceded a run and just one out. Senior Ryan Hill got the last two outs of the sixth after Indiana opened up a 13-3 lead. Hill pitched a scoreless seventh inning, capping off his Maryland career.

Senior Kevin Biondic’s pitching career began by fooling around with a knuckleball in pregame throwing lines and over last summer. He finished his first and only season as a Maryland pitcher with the same exact pitch, striking out Indiana’s Sam Crail with the erratic motion in the bottom of the eighth.

Maryland’s bats then went down in order in the ninth inning, ending the season by getting swept in Bloomington.

 

Maryland loses for 2nd straight day as postseason race tightens

Maryland baseball no longer controls its own destiny, now requiring assistance to earn a Big Ten tournament berth after losing for the second straight day against Indiana. All eyes for the remainder of Friday will turn to East Lansing, where Michigan State has a chance to put itself a game ahead of the Terps heading into the final day of the regular season.

Senior right-hander Taylor Bloom’s potentially last collegiate start was primarily successful, but Maryland’s offense stranded 12 runners — twice leaving the bases loaded — as the Terps never led in a 5-1 loss.

Maryland had two opportunities to control its fate this series, but with back-to-back losses, it’ll need some help now. If Michigan State beats Ohio State Friday at 4 p.m., the Spartans would overtake the No. 8 seed with one game left in the postseason race. Nebraska, too, remains alive with the Terps’ loss.

In the midst of retiring 13 straight hitters at one point, Bloom became just the second pitcher in program history to eclipse 300 innings in his career. He trails just former Terrapin and 2015 fifth-round MLB draft pick, Mike Shawaryn, but won’t catch his record unless Maryland makes the postseason.

The senior took several batters to settle in, walking the first batter he faced on five pitches before conceding a single on a 2-0 count. He wouldn’t allow another base runner until the fifth inning, but Matt Gorski’s RBI groundout in the first was the game’s only run for the first half of the game.

Maryland’s offense looked uneasy one time through the batting order against Indiana starter Pauly Milto (7-2, 2.00 ERA). The junior right-hander effectively used off-speed pitches, allowing one hit to the first nine batters.

The Terps fared much better in the following innings, but still struggled to find the tying run. Maryland loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning, but third baseman Taylor Wright struck out swing to end the threat. Designated hitter Randy Bednar singled to lead off the fifth, but a failed hit-and-run turned into a double play.

Right fielder Marty Costes began the sixth by working a walk, and then advanced around to third on two wild pitches. Left fielder Will Watson, on a 3-0 count, selected a pitch he liked and drove home Costes on an RBI double to tie the game. Still with no outs, the Terps were unable to bring across the go-ahead run.

Bloom walked the first two batters he faced in the following half inning, both of which came around to score to put Indiana back on top, 3-1. The Terps loaded the bases in their next trip to the plate, but first baseman Kevin Biondic struck out to strand all three runners on base.

Gorski and Luke Miller provided insurance runs with two solo home runs to put away the Terps, as Bloom preserved Maryland’s bullpen by completing all eight innings on 118 pitches. The final game of the series on Saturday is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.

Eighth-inning homer dooms Maryland, drops series opener to Indiana

Junior right-hander John Murphy struck out the first two batters he faced out the bullpen — each representing the go-ahead run  — narrowly escaping an eighth-inning jam before conceding a costly three-run home run in an all-important series opener against Indiana.

The Terps (24-28, 9-12 Big Ten) held a 4-2 lead before a two-hour weather delay halted play at Bart Kaufman Field in the top of the seventh. The stoppage ended junior Hunter Parson’s successful start for Maryland after six innings, and the bullpen was unable to preserve the lead in a 6-5 loss.

Before the home run, everything Maryland needed to happen to create separation in the postseason hunt, did. Rutgers, Michigan State and Nebraska — the three teams directly trailing the Terps in the standings — all lost Thursday.

While the loss is disappointing, absolutely nothing changes in the hunt for the No. 8 seed. With two games left in the regular season, Maryland still holds the final spot. The Terps have the same conference record as the Spartans, but hold a tiebreaker, while Nebraska sits 1.5 games back. Rutgers’ loss eliminated it from postseason contention.

Center fielder Zach Jancarski gave Maryland an early advantage following Will Watson’s leadoff single in the second inning. The senior launched a towering fly ball that cleared the left field fence for his seventh homer of the season to put the Terps up 2-0. The Hoosiers, who lead the Big Ten in home runs, used their strength to immediately answer. After Parsons worked a 1-2-3 first frame, the junior allowed a solo home run to Luke Miller.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Indiana tied the game using an unusual sequence. Following a leadoff single, right fielder Logan Sowers hit a line drive to center field that scored Matt Gorski all the way from first. Sowers ended up in a rundown in between first and second, deflecting all attention away from Gorski as he scampered home.

Indiana starter Jonathan Stiever escaped a jam in the fifth after the Terps got the first two hitters of the inning on base. Rather than electing to sacrifice bunt with Marty Costes, the right fielder flew out to straightaway center field. Kevin Biondic then grounded into an inning-ending double play.

A leadoff walk issued to Watson later hurt Stiever when Taylor Wright delivered the go-ahead hit in the sixth. Following Stiever’s departure, Maryland instantly  jumped on reliever Tommy Sommer. Lee led off the top of the seventh with a double. Nick Dunn — who became the 13th player in Maryland history to record 200 hits in his career earlier in the game — then singled to put runners on the corners. Costes lifted a sacrifice fly to extend Maryland’s lead to 4-2.

An almost two-hour rain delay ensued, knocking Parsons out of the game after 77 pitches. Following the delay, senior right-hander Ryan Hill replaced the starter and pitched a scoreless seventh frame.

But after Wright provided another insurance run that gave Maryland a 5-2 lead, it all fell apart in the bottom of the eighth. Left-hander Grant Burleson allowed an RBI single before Murphy entered the game and allowed Miller’s second homer of the game to put Indiana ahead, 6-5.

Maryland can still clinch a tournament berth with a win Friday and a Michigan State loss. The Terps’ game was moved up to 1 p.m. from an original 6 p.m. start.