On the weekend of Maryland's last home basketball game of the year, the Terps' baseball team had their first homestand of the new season, taking all four games from visiting Manhattan to improve to 9-1 on the season.
The Terps, a new addition in the recent Perfect Game (#20) and Collegiate Baseball News (#27) rankings, were coming off the heels of successful roadtrips in California (taking two out of three from UCLA) and North Carolina (defeating Western Carolina, Eastern Carolina and Purdue in the Keith LeClair Classic).
In the first game, the most exciting of the series, Brady Kirkpatrick (1-0, 0.44 ERA) started for the Terps against John Soldinger (0-1, 1.29 ERA) of the Jaspers. The Terps took the lead in the bottom of the third after an error by first baseman Matt Troisi, but Manhattan tied it in the fourth on a sac fly (Kirkpatrick's first earned run allowed of the year) and then took the lead on a fielder's choice that followed an error by Maryland catcher Aaron Etchison.
In Soldinger and Kirkpatrick, there were two very effective pitchers with vastly different styles of play. Kirkpatrick allowed two walks while striking out no one, while Soldinger walked and struck out eight batters. The two pitchers only gave up three and two hits, respectively.
The Jaspers brought in Taylor Sewitt (1-1, 6.75 ERA) in the eighth with a one-run lead after Soldinger walked Tim Kiene and Michael Montville to start out the inning, and the reliever ended up loading the bases with one out. Sewitt struck out Jordan Hagel looking and then got KJ Hockaday to line out to second to end the inning.
After Korey Wacker retired Manhattan in order in the top of the ninth, Sewitt came back out to pitch the bottom half of the inning, with the Jaspers still leading 2-1. Pinch hitter Greg Olenski was hit by a pitch, and speedster Charlie White got a bunt single to put runners on first and second with none out. Alfredo Rodriguez attempted a sacrifice bunt, but reached on a fielder's choice after Olenski was thrown out at third. Tomo Delp walked to load the bases, and Montville popped out to second. With two outs, Kyle Convissar was hit by a pitch, tying up the game. On a 1-2 count, Ryan Holland singled up the middle, scoring Rodriguez and winning the game, 3-2.
Wacker got credit for the win, improving to 2-0 on the year.
On Saturday, the Terps took both games of the doubleheader, starting with an excellent performance from David Carroll in game one. The senior pitched a complete game, picking up his second win of the year, allowing two hits, two walks, one unearned run, and striking out six.
Maryland took the lead in the bottom of the second, off a triple by Hockaday and singles from Rodriguez and Hagel. The Terps scored an insurance run in the fourth when Holland was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, but it was unnecessary - Carroll retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced. Maryland won the game, 4-1.
In the second game of back-to-back, the Terps struck early. Hagel hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, and Maryland never looked back. Sander Beck picked up his first win of the year, allowing one run on five hits and no walks in five innings with three strikeouts, while Charlie Haslup and Will Bouey each pitched two scoreless innings in relief to secure the 10-1 win.
In the final game of the series, the Terps had perhaps their most impressive game of the year, beating down the Jaspers by a final score of 9-0. Brett Harman improved to 2-0, pitching seven scoreless innings with five strikeouts and no walks, with Michael Boyden and Jimmy Reed pitching two scoreless frames to end the game.
At the plate, it was the hero of game one who had another great game - Ryan Holland went three-for-three and scored a run. K.J. Hockaday was two-for-three with two runs and an RBI, Matt Bosse was two-for-three with four RBI's and two runs, and Alfredo Rodriguez was three-for-four with a run and an RBI.
Over the four games, the Terps outscored Manhattan 26-4, with timely hitting and some great pitching performances. Maryland may have one of the best pitching staffs in the ACC, and it's a group that will be tested soon - they travel to Wake Forest this weekend for their first conference series of the year.
At 9-1, Maryland has a day off tomorrow before hosting Delaware on Tuesday, March 6. The game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.