Maryland baseball: Terps bounce back with big win over Florida, 9-7

Rob Foldy-US PRESSWIRE

Maryland almost gave it away late, but held on to tie up the series.

Mike Shawaryn allowed three hits and just one earned run in five and two-third innings of fantastic baseball, and the Terps were able to hold on for the victory despite almost giving it away. Maryland defeated Florida 9-7 Saturday night, tying up the series and bringing the Terps back to .500.

Charlie White led off the game for Maryland with a single through the right side, and Brandon Lowe walked on four pitches to give the Terps an early opportunity with two on and nobody out. Szefc showed his affinity for the sacrifice bunt once again, mysteriously bunting with the third-hitter Lamonte Wade (bringing questions as to why you would bat a hitter third if you were willing to give away his at-bat for an out).

It worked out this time, however, as catcher Kevin Martir (who had two of the Terps' three hits Friday) smacked a double down the right side, scoring White and Lowe and giving the Terps their first two runs of the season.

Maryland brought the 2-0 lead into the second after Mike Shawaryn retired the Gators in over, and Anthony Papio led off the second with a double down the right field line. Szefc elected for the bunt once again, as Jose Cuas advanced him to third on the sacrifice. Anthony Amaro singled him home next, giving Maryland the 3-0 advantage. The Terps were unable to score any more runs in the inning, which ended on a double play -- the sacrifice bunt is baseball's version of kicking a field goal as soon as you get into range (no matter the down), and what it actually sacrifices is the chance to put together a rally.

Shawaryn got into a jam in the bottom of the second, hitting Justin Shafer with the pitch to give Florida runners on first and second with one out. After striking out A.J. Puk, Shawaryn forced Josh Tobias to foul out to first, getting out of the jam.

Nick Cieri led off the fourth with a double for Maryland, and Szefc chose not to bunt this time around. After Papio flew out to left, Cuas walked and Cieri was able to take third on a stolen base. The Gators then brought the designated hitter Puk in to relieve true freshman starter Brett Morales, and he struck out Amaro to make it two outs with two runners on. Charlie White came through, with an infield single up the middle to score Cieri and give the Terps a 4-0 lead. Lowe continued the two-out rally with a hit over the third baseman, scoring Cuas and extending the lead to 5-0.

Papio led off the top of the sixth with a home-run to right-center field, giving Maryland the 6-0 lead. Shawaryn was taken out in the bottom of the sixth after allowing just three hits, and reliever Tayler Stiles allowed one of the inherited runners to score on a wild pitch, and another on an error. Braden Mattson singled another runner home, cutting the lead to 6-3. Stiles was able to get out of the inning, as the Terps held on to the three-run lead heading into the seventh.

Up 6-3 in the seventh, Lowe and Wade led off the inning with back-to-back singles for the Terps. Szefc elected to bunt twice with Martir (the team's best hitter during the series) and Schmit, scoring one run instead of taking a chance for a larger rally -- despite the team's fourth and fifth hitters coming to the plate.

Florida scored on another Maryland wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh, but relief pitcher Ben Brewster was able to get out of the jam with no further harm done. White got the run back in the top of the eighth, beating out a double play to allow the run to score and expand the lead to 8-4.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Gators scored two runs on a bases loaded single by Buddy Reed, cutting the lead to 8-6. Richie Martin followed up with a line-drive single into right-center, scoring a run and making it just 8-7 Terps. Kevin Mooney struck out Ryan Larson to end the inning, keeping Maryland's slim lead alive.

Brandon Lowe made things a bit easier for the Terps in the top of the ninth, smacking his first career home run to make it 9-7. Mooney was able to get out of the ninth with no issues, giving the Terps the win.

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