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Maryland baseball: Terps rally from two down to beat Pitt 6 - 4; sweep series

After a bizarre four-run seventh inning for Pitt, Maryland found itself down 4 - 2. But two runs in both the eight and ninth innings got the Terps their third series sweep of 2014. Lewis had three hits and Wade had a key triple to open the ninth.

Tim Lewis had three hits today
Tim Lewis had three hits today

Fresh off of taking the series from Pitt, Maryland tried to go for the sweep. Today’s match-up pitted Jake Drossner (4 - 1, 2.42 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Wotherspoon (5 – 5, 4.93 ERA).

Both teams stymied through three

The Terps had runners in scoring position with two outs in the first and second innings, but couldn’t bring either home.

With one out in the bottom of the second Drossner ran into trouble. He issued eight straight balls to put men on first and second. However he got Caleb Parry to ground a 2 – 1 pitch right back at the mound for a 1 – 6 – 3 double play.

Kevin Martir led off the top of the third with a solid single to left. Charlie White sacrificed Martir to second. LaMonte Wade skied out to left for the second out. It seemed that Wotherspoon pitched very carefully to Brandon Lowe, eventually issuing a walk. Cuas also got a base on balls. Wotherspoon ran the count full on Blake Schmit, then got Schmit to hit a grounder to second. The Terps had now had runners in scoring position in the first three innings, but nothing on the board to show for it.

Even though Drossner was falling behind hitters, he had shut down the Panthers through three, allowing just one single.

Terps hit three doubles to take a two-run lead

Tim Lewis began the Maryland fourth with a double to left-center field. Anthony Papio flied out to right, allowing Lewis to take third. Nick Cieri hit a grounder to first that scored Lewis. With two outs Martir got his second hit of the day, a double down the left field line. White followed that up with a hard shot just past the second baseman’s dive; the ball hugged the ground and White turned it into a double. The Terps led 2 – 0.

With the Terps on top, Drossner had his best inning, retiring the side in order and getting his first K.

After one was way in the top of the fifth, Jose Cuas was struck on the helmet by a Wotherspoon pitch.  Somehow Cuas shook it off and stayed in the game.

Drossner retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth. He had gotten 10 straight outs and looked firmly in control.

Lewis began the Terrapin sixth by singling to right. Papio hit a high chopper to the second baseman, whose only play was to first. Cieri flied out to left. Martir came to the plate, having gone 2 for 2 so far today. But this time Wotherspoon got Martir to fly out to center.

Panthers threaten, and then finally break through

There was one out in the bottom of the sixth when Stephen Vranka singled up the middle. It was his, as well as Pitt’s second hit today. A. J. Lardo walked and the Panthers had the tying run on base. That was Drossner’s last batter, as Bobby Ruse came in to try to put out the fire. Drossner’s line: 5.1 innings, no runs, two hits, three walks, and two strike outs. Casey Roche hit a high chop that Schmit snared and stepped on second, barely getting the runner. Boo Vazquez then flied out to end the inning.

The Terps went down in order in the top of the seventh, still clinging on to a 2 – 0 lead. Things got bizarre in the bottom of the inning. On a 0 – 2 pitch Ruse hit Eric Hess. Dylan Wolsonovich hit a single to left-center to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Jordan Frabasilio hit a single through the left side and Pitt had finally scored. Kevin Mooney came in to pitch for Maryland. It was 2 – 1, with men on first and second, and still no one out in the Pitt seventh. Parry sacrificed the runners over to second and third. Pinch-hitter Nick Yarnall hit a grounder to Wade. It was hard to tell what then transpired; it looked like Yarnall stopped running half-way up the base path. He actually backed up and Wade/Mooney assumed the batter was called out., and Yarnall trotted over to first. The umpire claimed that a runner on the first base line can back all of the way up to home if he wants to. It was ruled an error on Wade. (Thanks to Matt Bertram of UMTerps for the explanation.) The bases were loaded. Vranka flied out to shallow right and the runner on third held up. But Lardo walked to tie up the score. Roche singled up the middle and suddenly Pitt was on top 4 – 2. Vazques struck out to end the inning.

Terps rally to tie it up in the eighth

Pitt sent one of their best relievers, RHP Hobie Harris to the mound for the top of the eighth. He walked Cuas on four pitches. Schmit hit a grounder just past the diving third baseman. After Lewis was called out on strikes, Papio worked a walk to load the bases. RHP T J Zeuch came in for Harris. Used primarily as a mid-week starter, Zeuch had not recorded a save yet in 2014. Cieri bounced a 0 – 2 pitch back up the middle that took a high hop. The shortstop and second baseman weren’t in synch, causing a bobbled throw that didn’t get Papio.  Cuas scored on the play. Kevin Martir hit a grounder to third that also bounced funny. The only play the third baseman had was to step on the bag. Schmit scored the tying run. White grounded to the shortstop for the third out. However Maryland had tied the score.

Mooney got two quick outs in the bottom of the eighth. But he hit Frabasilio and Parry singled to center. Pazos hit another Cost Field high bouncer that Schmit charged, then made a nifty play to throw out the runner.

Wade’s triple, and singles by Lowe and Lewis give the Terps a two-run lead

Wade opened up the ninth by crushing a pitch in the right center field gap for a triple. Pitt brought their infield in to cut off a run. Lowe slapped a liner past the drawn in third baseman to give the Terps the lead. Cuas hit a high popup that the catcher caught leaning over the top of the Pitt dugout. Schmit tried to bunt for a hit and the throw just beat him. With two outs Lewis gave the Terps an insurance run by flaring a single to left center that brought home Lowe. On the throw home Lewis tried to take second but was thrown out.

Down 6 – 4, Pitt had one more chance to get a win. Vranka hit a high fly that Papio was able to run down. Mooney struck out Lardo. On a 1 – 2 pitch Mooney got Roche to bite at a curve to end the game.

Mooney got the win to go to 1 - 1. The Terps are now 33 – 19 overall. More importantly, they are 15 – 14 in the ACC, tying a school record. for conference wins. It was the first season since 1981 that the Terps had a wining ACC record. With the sweep the Terps have won eight straight ballgames. They are in the ACC Tournament and most likely the NCAA tourney as well.