Maryland baseball: Terps douse Liberty Flames 8 - 3

The Liberty Flames came in riding a hot streak of eight straight wins. However strong pitching by Jake Drossner combined with timely hitting by LaMonte Wade and Kyle Convissar put an end to that streak.

The Liberty Flames is an apt name. This team is on fire, having won eight straight and 16 out f their last 17 games. Their RPI is 21 and their SOS is a modest 75.  They've beaten Puke twice this year (thanks!) and played the Terps close in two losses last year. The Flames have a legit superstar in 2B/DH Ryan Seiz (.438 BA, .531 OBP, 6 home runs, 26 RBIs and 30 runs scored), a transfer from Lousviille who sat out last year.

Today's pitching match-up pitted LHP Jake Drossner (2 - 0, 2.87 ERA) for Maryland vs. LHP Jared Lyons (2-0, 0.51 ERA). The Terps have struggled against southpaws this year and Lyons is a good one: in 35 innings he's allowed just two earned runs, striking out 33 while walking only six.

Both teams motor their way to a run

The Terps scored in their opening frame. Charlie White lined a single to center, and stole second. Brandon Lowe walked. With LaMonte Wade at the plate both runners executed a perfect double steal. Wade then hit a fly to center that scored White. Convissar skied out to right; Lowe advanced to third. But Anthony Papio looked at a called third strike.

Drossner sailed through the first eight batters, striking out three. However he walked the nine-hole hitter Ashton Perritt, who has plenty of speed. True to form he stole second base. Will Shepherd hit a single to left and the score was tied.

In the Terps' third Wade hit a two-out double. Convissar followed that with a blast off the top of the left field wall for a run scoring double.

Drossner continued to fool the Liberty hitters using off-speed pitches mixed in with a sharp fastball. In the top of the fourth he struck out the first two hitters, then Dalton Britt hit a shallow fly that Michael Montville came in for and dropped. Britt stole second and came home on a double by Alex Close.

Lyons also was baffling hitters with off-speed pitches. Through four innings he had struck out five Terps.

Drossner held the Flames scoreless in the fifth, registering his seventh and eighth strike outs. He struck out Liberty's top hitter, Ryan Seiz (entering the game batting .438), three straight times.

The Terps had a golden opportunity to break open the game in their half of the fifth. Jose Cuas led off with a single through the middle. White laid down a great bunt hit. After Lowe struck out on a change-up in the dirt, Wade drew a walk, loading the bases. The Terps couldn't capitalize though, as Convissar popped up to first and Papio grounded out.

Wade and Convissar deliver key two-out hits

Montville started the Terps' sixth with a walk. He went to second on a passed ball. Rescigno also drew a walk, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Cieri bunted and the Liberty catcher hesitated before throwing late to third. That finished Ryan, who was relieved by LHP Michael Stafford. Cuas hit the first pitch out to left field that was far enough to score Montville. White hit a grounder that forced Cieri at second. White stole his third bag of the game. Lowe was plunked which again loaded the bases. Wade was batting and Stafford uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Rescigno. Wade hit a single through the right hand side and two more Terps came around to score. Wade went to second on the throw home. Convissar brought Wade home with a single. The Terps now led 7 - 2.

Jared Price came on to pitch in the top of the seventh. Drossner's line: six innings, three hits, two walks, one earned run, and nine strike outs. Price pitched well, getting four straight batters. Ben Brewster came in to get the last two hitters in the eighth.

The Terps got a run in the eighth on a single by Lowe, a double by Wade, and a sac fly by Convissar. Alex Robinson pitched the ninth and gave up a run on an infield hit, a balk, wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly.

Jake Drossner got the well-deserved victory to move to 3 - 0. Combined the Terps pitching held the powerful Liberty bats to five hits, striking out 13. The Terps are now 18 - 8 on the year and travel to Wake Forest this weekend.

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