After weeks of weather cancellations and playing at Harford C.C. the Terps finally had a mid-week clash under Spring-like conditions. Coming to Shipley Field were the #29 rank VCU Rams (20 - 4) of the Atlantic 10 Conference. If you thought Florida State and Clemson hit for average, take a look at VCU. The Rams hit .312 as a team. Their pitching isn't too shoddy either, with a 3.51 ERA that is slightly higher than that of the Terps. The big difference is in SOS: the Terps are at 24th nationally while VCU has an SOS of 180.
The starters for this game were RHP Bobby Ruse (2-0, 2.89 ERA) for the Terps against vs. LHP JoJo Howie (2-0, 2.43 ERA) for VCU. Howie is a transfer from Everett (WA) C. C.
Still recovering from a concussion suffered last Friday and not in the line-up was Blake Schmit.
Terps have trouble scoring
VCU got a run in the first on a lead-off double by Cody Acker, who came home on a two out chopper through the box by Vima Machin.The Terps' hitting woes continued from last Friday as they could not get a hit off Howie through the first two innings (who was not throwing lightning bolts to say the least; the radar gun had him at 80-81).
With one out in the third Mike Rescigno was HBP. Cuas followed with a sharp single to left. Charlie White laid down a bunt and beat out a poor throw by the third baseman; that loaded the bases. But Brandon Lowe and LaMonte Wade both popped out.
Ruse looked sharp as he threw three scoreless frames after the fist inning. However the Terps went down in order in their half of the fourth. Going back to the Clemson series the Terps had scored just two runs in their last 22 innings.
In the top of the fifth the Rams got back to back singles after the first two batters were retired. However Ruse got the Rams' leading hitter, James Bunn, to hit a grounder right at Lowe to end the inning.
VCU pitchers' control problems allow Terps to take the lead
Papio led off the Terps' fifth with a walk. Rescigno sacrified Papio over to second. After falling behind 0 - 2 Cuas worked a couple of pitches, then smashed a double in the left field corner that scored Papio. The Trerps finally push a run across and the score was knotted at one all.
Ruse continued to pitch well and blanked the Rams in the sixth. In the bottom of the inning Wade started things off with a double in the gap. Convissar hit a swinging bunt that the third baseman couldn't come up with. The Terps had runners on the corners with no outs. Martir walked to load the bases.Howie was relieved by RHP Thomas Gill. Montville struck out looking. Papio got a four pitch walk and the Terps took the lead.Recsigno also walked and Convissar scored. Cuas got an infield hit and suddenly the Terps were up 4 - 1. White grounded out. Lowe walked and the fourth Terp run of the inning came home.Wade flew out for the last out.
Taylor Stiles came in to pitch for Maryland in the seventh. Ruse's line: six innings, four hits, one walk, one HBP, one run. Stiles set down the Rams in order. In the eighth there were some tense moments. After there was one out Bunn smashed a double that just missed leaving the yard. Joey Cujas blooped a single to right. Machin hit a ground ball that Lowe booted and Bunn scored.But Stiles got the next two batters to escape further trouble.
Kevin Mooney pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save of the season. Bobby Ruse went to 3 - 0 on the year.