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NCAA Baseball Tournament 2014: Terps score 3 in ninth to edge ODU 4 - 3

For eight innings it looked like the Terps were headed for defeat. Then ODU pitchers imploded in the ninth and the Terps dramatically scored three runs to win. The tying and winning runs came on back-to-back pitches that hit Maryland batters. Kyle Convissar got a key double and Jake Stinnett set the Maryland single-season mark for batters struck out.

You take a win any way you can get one. The Terps somehow, some way managed to do just that, coming from behind in the ninth for the first time this season.

ODU’s bottom of the order gives them the lead

Jake Stinnett needed only eight pitches to set down the Monarchs in the first. Andy Roberts was almost as efficient, retiring the Terps on 15 pitches. In the second Stinnett again got the side in order.

There was trouble in the third. With one out Mike Perez hit a ball in the left-center field gap that rolled to the wall for a triple. With the infield drawn in Tyler Urps lined a shot off of Brandon Lowe’s glove, and the Monarchs led 1 – 0. Meanwhile Roberts looked very good through three innings, allowing singles to Jose Cuas and Kevin Martir. Roberts is not a flame-thrower, but he kept the Terps’ batters off-balance and struck out three.

Stinnett struck out P.J. Higgins to begin the fourth. It was Stinnett’s 125th K this year, setting a new Maryland record. With two-outs in the bottom of the inning Cuas doubled for his second hit of the day. A balk sent him to third. But Blake Schmit grounded out to short.

Monarchs scratch out two more runs

The Monarchs struck again in the fifth. Ben Slaton hit a Baltimore chop that Schmit fielded, but the throw was a tad late. One out later Perez executed a perfect hit and run, putting runners on the corners with one out. A bit of bad luck ensued. Urps hit a 20 foot roller that Martir grabbed, but Slaton barely avoided the tag. The Monarchs were up 2 – 0.

In the bottom of the inning pinch hitter Kyle Convissar drew a one-out walk. On the next pitch Anthony Papio was hit on his leg. Martir flew out to center. Then White was HBP to load the bases. Even though Roberts had struck out Wade (the batter due up) twice, ODU elected to bring on LHP Ryan Yarborough, normally a weekend starter. Yarborough got Wade to ground out to keep the Terps frustrated.

Higgins got a single to right to start the sixth. On a 2 – 1 pitch the Terps called a pitch-out. The runner was going but Martir had trouble getting the ball out of his glove. Burney flied out far enough to send Higgins to third. Josh Eldridge hit a long fly ball that scored Higgins. The Monarchs led by three runs after five and a half innings.

Terps desperately need a spark

Things were beginning to slip away. The Terps looked flat and needed a spark to ignite them. It almost happened in the sixth, but once again the Terps were stymied. Yarborough struck out the first two Terps in the sixth. Schmit kept things alive with a single to center. Tim Lewis followed that up with a bouncer that went through the hole at short. However Yarborough fanned Convissar to end the inning. Then in the seventh Yarborough retired the Terps in order.

Stinnett retired the Monarchs in order in the eighth. His line: three runs, six hits, one walk, and seven strike outs.

In the bottom of the eighth Wade started things with a solid single to right. Lowe followed with an opposite field hit. Cuas hit a single to left and the bases were loaded. That finished Yarborough; RHP Conner Overton came in to pitch. Schmit hit a tailor-made double play grounder. The Terps scored a run but lost a great opportunity to tie the score. Lewis fanned and after eight the Terps trailed 3 – 1.

Tayler Stiles was on the mound for the Terps in the ninth. He was greeted rudely as Eldridge drilled a single to right. However pinch runner Brian Beard was picked off first. Stiles proceeded to strike out the next two batters.

ODU implodes in the ninth

Convissar hit a 0 – 2 pitch to the left-center field gap for a lead-off double. This brought the tying run up to bat. Papio hit a grounder to short for the first out. ODU chose to bring in their closer at this point. RHP Brad Gero had 12 saves so far this season. Martir got aboard off an error by the shortstop (it was a hard hit ball through the hole that the SS couldn’t pick up). White lined a pitch to center to make it 3 – 2. Wade then walked to load the bases, putting the winning run (White) in scoring position. The first pitch to Lowe nipped him to tie the score. Gero’s very next pitch hit Cuas and the Terps had won the game 4 – 3.

Tayler Stiles gets the win, Maryland's 37th this season. A particular shout-out to senior Kyle Convissar, who in a clutch situation delivered a key hit.