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Maryland baseball: Terps edged by UCF 7-6

Maryland found itself behind by five runs and put together a valiant rally in the late innings. However the Terps came up just short against a very good UCF team.

Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Today's matchup pitted Tayler Stiles (0-0) against UCF's talented freshman RHP Cre Finfrock (1-0). Last week Finfrock (on my All-Names list) went six strong innings in his collegiate debut, giving up only three hits and no runs.

UCF runs up a five-run lead

The Knights got on the board in the bottom of the first. Dylan Moore ripped a double down the third base line, then went to third on a ground out. He was brought home on a sacrifice fly to left.

Finfrock was sharp, painting the corners. He retired the first eight batters before Kevin Smith singled through the box. Brandon Lowe lined out, and the Terps were scoreless through three innings.

Moore started the inning with a  hit a single to left. Derrick Salberg hit a grounder through the hole on the right side. Moore was running to third and made it safely, with Salberg taking second on the throw. Erik Barber brought both runners home with a sharp single to right center.

LaMonte Wade led off with an opposite field single. Jose Cuas was HBP to put two runners on with no outs. However, the Terps couldn't capitalize, as Nick Cieri hit into a double play and Kevin Martir stuck out.

The bottom of UCF's batting order came alive in the fourth. Kyle Marsh walked, and then Logan Heiser launched a two-run homer. On the other hand, Finfrock continue his mastery of the Terps' bats. Quite often Maryland hitters were swinging away on the first pitch, which minimized Finfrock's pitch count. Through five innings he had thrown only 48 pitches.

Robert Galligan took the mound for the Terps in the bottom of the fifth and held UCF scoreless.

Terps cut the score to 5 - 2

The Terps finally broke through in the sixth inning. Lowe got an infield single and Wade walked. Cuas hit into a force at second. Cieri drove Lowe home with a single to center. Tim Lewis drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Martir hit a Baltimore chop and was thrown out at first, but a run scored. The Terps now trailed by three, which ended Finfrock's day. Papio walked and the bases were once again loaded. However, pinch hitter Andrew Bechtold flied out to right.

Bobby Ruse was on the bump for Maryland in the seventh. Moore collected his third hit of the day, a single to right center. Derrick Salberg walked. Both runners advanced when Barber laid down a sacrifice bunt. Matt Diorio was intentionally walked to load the bases. A single brought home two runs and the Terps were once gain down by five.

Terps rally falls just short

The Terps wouldn't go quietly. Cuas drew a walk to start the eighth and Cieri was HBP. Lewis singled to center and the Terps trailed 7-3. Two outs later Bechtold walked to put Terrapin runners everywhere. Smith also walked to force home the Terps' fourth run. But Lowe flew out to shallow center to end the inning.

Taylor Bloom had a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in the bottom of the eighth.

In the ninth Wade grounded out. Cuas hit a shot into the right center field gap that went for a triple. Cieri was down 0-2 in the count, then was plunked by a pitch: the tying run was up at the plate. Lewis got an infield hit to bring home Cuas. Martir singled through the hole at short to bring the Terps within one run. Papio singled, but Martir overran second and was tagged out. Bechtold walked to load them up. On a 3-2 pitch Smith hit a hard grounder, but unfortunately it was right at the shortstop.

Tayler Bloom took the loss to go 1-1. The Terps are now 4-1 overall.