A chilly cloudy morning gave way to a pleasant sunny cool late fall (er, early spring) afternoon. It was a nice opportunity to watch the Maryland Terrapins take on the Liberty Flames at Shipley Field at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. Pleasant of course until the Terps left a runner on base in each of their first four at bats and I got an angst-y sense of déjà vu that I might be watching a replay of last week’s disheartening loss to Mount St. Mary’s. Watching Maryland fall behind 1-0 after the Flames scored in the top of the second did nothing to relieve my discomfort. However, Jordan Hagel’s triple to deep left in the bottom of the fifth after Charlie White had drawn a two out walk did. When Liberty’s shortstop booted LaMonte Wade’s hard grounder into left center and Hagel scored, I felt even better.
Liberty bounced right back in the top of the sixth knocking out starter Alex Robinson and scoring two runs - only one of which was earned – to recapture the lead. The Terps tied it up in the bottom of the sixth when, with two outs, catcher Jack Cleary blasted a mammoth shot to left that thumped off the bubble. Bobby Ruse came on in relief of Jared Price to start the top of the seventh and retired the Flames in order. Maryland recaptured the lead in the bottom of the inning doing all their damage after two were out. Wade go things started with a one hopper to left through the hole at short. Kevin Martir followed with a slow chopper to the hole at short and beat the throw for an infield single. Designated hitter Greg Olenski worked the count to 3 and 1 before drawing a walk to load the bases. Redshirt freshman Anthony Papio looked at a first pitch strike, took two balls then lashes a single off second base into center field driving in Wade and Martir. Cleary popped out to first to end the rally but the Terrapins led 5-3 and, for the first time in the game didn’t leave one runner on base in an inning. This time it was two. Ruse, who was credited with the win, retired the Flames in order again in the eighth and Kevin Mooney came on to pitch a scoreless ninth and the Terps secured their twenty second win of the season. Maryland travels up I-95 tomorrow to take on intrastate rival Towson before heading south for a three game weekend series at Duke.
Todd Carton (AKA FHFAN)