FanPost

Softball: How You Could! Baseball: How Could You?

So I just got back from a post game tailgate with the softball team and their families and I got home thinking it had been a really good day. The Terps swept the doubleheader from UNC – winning 9-4 in the first and securing a 6 inning 9-1 run rule win in the nightcap- and the last I’d heard from Durham, the baseball team was leading 9-7 after six. Now, as I sit to write this, I’m choking back my dinner having learned that the baseball team dropped an 11-9 decision.

I’ll get the sickening stuff done first and with some brevity. After Friday night’s pitcher’s duel, the Terps broke on top early giving starter Brady Kirkpatrick a two run cushion in the top of the first on a Jordan Hagel single, a triple off the bat of LaMonte Wade and Kevin Martir’s ground out. Kirkpatrick gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the second on a lead off home run and back to back doubles. Maryland came right back in the top of the second with three more runs courtesy of three singles, a sacrifice and a ground out. Brandon Casas came on in relief of Kirkpatrick after Brady had walked Duke’s lead off batter. Casas retired the side in order. The Terps opened up a five run lead in the top of the third when Martir led off the inning with a single and moved to second on Anthony Papio’s sac bunt and to third when Jack Cleary ground out to second. Both runners scored on Blake Schmit’s double down the right field line. Casas got through the third but things exploded in the fourth as the Blue Devils scored five times to tie the score at seven. Maryland recaptured the lead in the sixth scoring twice on a couple of singles and a Duke error to reach the aforementioned 9-7 edge. Duke made it a one run game in the bottom of the seventh with Terrapin closer Kevin Mooney coming in to record the last out. Mooney, who has been living on the edge for much of the season, finally slid off it giving up three runs in the eighth and putting the Terps behind for the first time in the game. Maryland tried to mount a two out come back in the ninth when Cleary walked and Anthony Amaro followed with a double to left but the runners were stranded as Schmit ground out to third to end the game. The Terps will look to take two out of three in Sunday’s rubber match at 1:00 p.m.

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It was a fun day at Robert E. Taylor Stadium where the Terrapin softball team swept a doubleheader from the North Carolina Tar Heels with over 900 in attendance including a number of current (volleyball and field hockey) and former (linebacker and current Cleveland Brown Adrian Moten) Terrapin athletes stopping by as part of the Maryland day crowd.

Sophomore pitcher Kaitlyn Schmeiser got the game off to a good start for the Terps retiring the Tar Heels in order in the top of the first. A solo home run in the top of the second put UNC ahead 1-0 and sent the small but vocal group of Carolina fans attending into paroxysms of Tar – Heels call and response chants. They were less vocal when the Terps tied things up in the bottom of the second. Lead off hitter Lexi Carroll, who was being feted as the fourth and final Maryland senior, reached when she was hit by a pitch. First baseman Candice Beards who would have a big day in both ends of the twin bill lifted an opposite field double off the fence in right. After Juli Strange struck out, left fielder Bridget Hawvermale blooped a two out fly ball bust out of reach of the third baseman scoring Carroll to even the score. The Tar Heels put together three singles in the top of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead. Once again, the Carolina contingent began their chant and once again in the bottom of the inning the Maryland bats responded with “Not in our house” ferocity. Amanda McCann started the Terrapin rally with a one out bloop single to left. Sara Acosta followed with a bunt single and Lindsey Schmeiser loaded the bases with an infield single deep in the hole at short. Stepping to the plate with the bases full, catcher Shannon Bustillos fouled off five or six pitches to keep her at bat alive until she found a pitch to her liking and lined a single to center driving in McCann. Acosta also scored the go ahead run on the play when Carolina’s center fielder made a throw to no one in particular but in the general direction of the Carolina dugout. The errant throw also allowed Schmeiser and Bustillos to move up. With runners on second and third, Carroll came up and had an at bat similar to Bustillos’s fouling off four pitches with the count at 2-2 before powering an opposite field double off the fence in right to put the Terps ahead 5-2. Beards hit a fly ball to deep left and Carroll tagged up and moved to third. Strange then singled to left driving in Carroll and increasing the margin to four. UNC scored two unearned runs in the top of the sixth to narrow the gap to 6-4. This time their fans cheered but didn’t chant. No matter. Freshman Corey Schwartz, pinch hitting for Melissa Mancuso, led off the bottom of the sixth with a towering home run to left. After retiring the next two batters, the Carolina pitcher got generous hitting L. Schmeiser and walking Bustillos and Carroll. Beard made them pay with another opposite filed double driving in two. K. Schmeiser retired the Heels in order in the top of the seventh to wrap up her 14th win of the year as the Terps took the opener by a final of 9-4.

Freshman Maddie Martin, looking to build on her solid work against Delaware State, took the circle for the Terps in the nightcap. Although UNC managed to get a runner to third with two out, Martin buckled down and got out of the inning without any damage. Although the Terps got their lead off batter on in each of the first four innings, they were unable to push a run across. Carolina broke the scoreless tie in the fourth scoring a single run on a triple and a wild pitch. The Terps stayed within a run thanks to a strong effort from Martin particularly in the top of the sixth when she got out of a one out bases loaded jam inducing a grounder to third to force the runner at the plate before striking out a Tar Heel pinch hitter to end the inning. Then came the bottom of the sixth – an inning that deserves a paragraph of its own.

The inning opened with a lead off walk to Lindsey Schmeiser. Bustillos struck out swinging but Carroll followed with another base on balls. The runners moved up to second and third on a passed ball. Candice Beards stood at the plate (and tell me if you’ve read this before) doubled – this time off the fence in right center – to drive in two runs to nose the Terps in front 2-1 but the fun was just getting started. Strange then spanked a single to right scoring Beards. Hawvermale walked and Schwartz, making her second pinch hitting appearance of the day, was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Amanda McCann hit a soft liner to left center that dropped just beyond the outstretched dive of the Carolina outfielder and rolled all the way to the fence for a bases clearing triple. As the Terrapin lead ballooned to 6-1, the Maryland fans were growing louder and Carolina’s remained sullenly silent. McCann stood on third after Sara Acosta hit a liner right at the left fielder for the second out. Schmeiser then stepped to the plate for her second at bat of the inning. She worked the count to 2-1 and smashed a line drive that was still rising as it cleared the left field fence. In her second appearance of the inning, Bustillos lined a ball off the fence in right center for a double. Up stepped senior day honoree Lexi Carroll who lined a 3-1 pitch into right field driving in Bustillos and closing out the run rule victory with the ninth run of the inning. The Terps look to sweep tomorrow to earn their 30th win of the season and solidify their hold on second place in the ACC. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.

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Just a note for those who may be looking for the Sunday Sports recap: Don’t expect it until Monday. I’m headed to Chapel Hill tomorrow to watch the Terps and Tar Heels face off in the ACC title game for the fourth consecutive year. The game starts at 5:00 p.m. and I don’t think I’ll have the energy to write when I get home some time past midnight.

Todd Carton (AKA FHFAN)

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