This was the first game of Maryland's last ever home ACC series, and it was ironic that the Terps' opponent was a conference newcomer. Today's pitching match-up featured a pair of big, hard throwing right handers: Jake Stinnett (4 - 6, 2.92 ERA) for Maryland vs. Pat Connaughton (1 - 4 5.54 ERA) for Notre Dame. Connaughton was moved from his Sunday slot into today's game as Sean Kennedy was still suffering from a sore forearm: good news for the Terps as Kennedy was proving to be one of the best pitchers in the ACC.
Maryland was on a four game losing streak and had dropped six of their last seven games. They had consistently fallen behind early in their losses. Not tonight though.
The Terps strike quickly
With one out in the bottom of the first LaMonte Wade scorched a liner off of the pitcher and got on base. Brandon Lowe walked. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, then came around on a two-out single by Jose Cuas.
For a change Jake Stinnett had the advantage of pitching with an early lead.
Ryan Bull started off the Irish third with a single to right. Phil Mosley laid a bunt down the first base line and was thrown out; but no one was covering third, so Bull scooted over there. However Stinnett registered his third strike out, then got a ground out to hold the Irish scoreless.
In the next inning Cavan Biggio hit a grounder that Lowe charged and misplayed. A wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt sent Biggio to third with one out. Once again Stinnett prevailed, striking out the next two batters.
Goose eggs get put up on the board
Connaughton settled down after the first inning, retiring 13 straight Terrapins. After five innings the Terps were holding on to a 2 - 0 lead.
Zak Kutsulis drew a walk to start the Irish sixth. Kyle Fiala squared to bunt but pulled the bat back and swung away. He hit a hot shot that Lowe knocked down and was able to get the out at first. Stinnett struck out Biggio and Blaise Lezynski to strand yet another ND player in scoring position. Most of Stinnett's Ks were coming on off-speed pitches.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth Lowe laced a double in the right-center field gap, ending Connaughton's streak at 15 straight Terrapin batters. It was only the Terps' third hit of the day. Blake Schmit grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.
Stinnett walked the lead-off hitter in the seventh. After a strike out and a ground out, ND got their second walk of the inning. But pinch hitter Ricky Sanchez became Stinnett's 10th strike out victim of the game.
Can the Terps hang on?
Cuas singled to start off the Terps' seventh. Kyle Convissar attempted to bunt but popped the ball up. Tim Lewis then lined a single to right, and Cuas went to third. Anthony Papio struck out, with Lewis stealing second. Kevin Martir walked to load the bases. However Charlie White lined out to left to end the inning.
Stinnett retired the side in order in the eighth. But Connaughton did the same in the bottom of the inning, so we went to the ninth with the Terps leading by two runs.
Stinnett was on the mound to start the ninth. He struck out the first two batters. Forrest Johnson hit a 2 - 2 pitch down the right field line for a double. Stinnett didn't flinch as he got pinch hitter Kyle Richardson to ground out to end the game.
Jake Stinnett got the victory to go to 5 - 6. The Terps moved to 26 - 19 overall, 10 - 14 in the ACC. Stinnett's line: nine innings, four hits, three walks, 13 strike outs, and no runs. He threw 128 pitches.