Sunday was another twofer for Terrapin sports (at least for the ones I write about) as the softball squad tried for a series win against the NC State Wolfpack in Raleigh and baseball looked to salvage one win in their series with the nation’s top ranked team – the UNC Tar Heels – in Chapel Hill.
With Kaitlyn Schmeiser in the circle for Maryland, the softball team got off to a bit of a rough start as the Terps went three up and three down in the top of the first and Schmeiser yielded a home run to State’s leadoff hitter in the bottom of the inning. The trouble deepened as the Pack put runners on the corners with only one out but the sophomore from Dunkirk buckled down and escaped the inning with no further damage. The Terps evened the score in the third when second baseman Juli Strange drew a one out walk, moved to second on Amanda McCann’s bunt and scored on center fielder Sara Acosta’s single to right. The home team recaptured the lead on another solo home run in the bottom of the fourth.
Meanwhile, over in Chapel Hill, the Terps edged out in front of the Tar Heels picking up a run in the top of the third. The inning started with Jack Cleary skying out to left but Anthony Papio laced a one and one pitch to right center for a double. He moved to third on a wild pitch and, after a walk of Jose Cuas, Papio scored on Charlie White’s sacrifice bunt. The lead held only to the bottom of the fourth as Terrapin pitcher Kevin Mooney was afflicted with a quick case of “homer-itis” giving up a solo shot to the Tar Heels lead off hitter in the inning.
Back in Raliegh, trouble was brewing for the Terps as State loaded the bases with no one out on two walks bracketing a single. The Wolfpack took advantage scoring three. Maddie Martin, who came on in relief of Schmeiser to start the inning, got out of the inning when left fielder Amamda McCann threw out the State runner trying to score on the fly ball.
Jack Cleary led off the top of the fifth with a single and moved up on Papio’s sacrifice bunt. Cuas ground out to short but White singled up the middle knocking in Cleary. White stole second and LaMonte Wade, Jr. drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Kyle Convissar hit a one-two pitch up the middle that Carolina’s pitcher failed to field cleanly and everyone was safe loading the bases with two out for Kevin Martir. Martir drove a single to right center scoring two and putting the Terps ahead by a score of 4-1.
Conditions continued to worsen in Raleigh as the home team scored two more in the sixth leaving the Terps down by six runs with only one at bat remaining. The inning started well for the Terps as catcher Shannon Bustillos led off with a single to right and Lexi Carroll followed with a base hit to left. But Candice Beards flied to center and pinch hitter Corey Schwartz ground into a force out at second. Liane Newton kept the inning alive by drawing a walk to load the bases but the inning and the game would end there as Strange flied out to right and the Terps fell by a score of 7-1. The Terps will again step briefly out of league play with a mid-week visit to George Mason for a double header on Wednesday before continuing their road swing beading down to Atlanta to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a three game weekend series.
At UNC, the Tar Heels got one run back in the bottom of the fifth without benefit of a base hit. Jared Price came on in relief of Mooney who walked the lead off hitter and promptly walked the first batter he faced. A sacrifice bunt and a ground out to first later pulled the home team within two. The Terps went meekly in the top of the sixth and the Tar Heels mounted another threat in the home half of the inning. After striking out the lead off hitter, Price gave up back to back singles and allowed both runners to move up on a wild pitch. When Price issued a walk that loaded the bases, Coach Szefc brought Jamie Pashuck in to see if he could work his way out of the bases loaded one out jam. Pashuck’s first pitch hit the Carolina batter and the Heels were within one with the bases still full. One more hit batter later and the score was tied. That was all for Pashuck as the Terps called on Bobby Ruse who promptly gave up a single to right scoring one and putting Carolina in front for the first time in the game. After another walk, Ruse got out of the inning on a strikeout and fly out but the damage was done and the Terps now trailed 6-4 at the end of six.
White led off the seventh with a bunt single for Maryland but was forced at second on Wade’s grounder to short. Wade then stole second but was stranded there as Convissar struck out and Martir was out on a soft fly ball to left. The Terps mounted another threat in the eighth when Blake Schmit drew a one out walk and went to third on Papio’s two out single but again Maryland couldn’t push the run across as Cuas ground out to short to end the inning. The Tar Heels added to their lead scoring twice more in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead to four. In the top of the ninth Maryland once again mounted a two out threat this time on a Convissar single and a Martir double and once again could not push a run across and Carolina completed the sweep by a final of 8-4. VCU comes to College Park for a 4 pm game Tuesday afternoon.
Todd Carton (AKA FHFAN)