Oh the joys of playing in the marquee games at a west coast site: another 11:00 p.m. EDT start. Speaking of which, tonight Maryland sent Ryan Selmer (3-0, 1.42 era) to face UCLA's LHP Hunter Virant (0-1, 3.28 era). Earlier today UCLA eliminated CS-Bakersfield 9-1. But by virtue of winning their first two games, Maryland just needs to either win tonight or on Monday night to advance to the Super Regional round.
Tonight also marked the return of Head Coach John Szefc, who sat out the first two games due to a suspension stemming from events in the B1G Tournament game.
Leadoff singles plague Terps
UCLA jumped out to an early lead using a reliable formula: get the leadoff man aboard, sacrifice him over, and then drive him in with a single. It worked in the first three innings. Kevin Kramer led off the UCLA first by singling to center, Brett Stephens bunted him over to second, and Luke Persico's single gave UCLA a 1-0 lead. The second inning was almost a replica of the first. Darrell Miller hit a leadoff single, went to second on a sacrifice, and then scored when Kramer singled him in.
In the top of the third, LaMonte Wade crushed a pitch that hit beyond the UCLA bullpen. Momentarily, the Terps were down by a run and very much alive. But in the bottom of the inning UCLA had their leadoff man cause problems. Ty Moore singled, then went to second on a groundout. After two batters were retired, Kurt Peterson singled Moore home, giving UCLA a 3-1 lead. Miller poked a single to left. When Selmer went to a 2-0 count on Cristoph Bono, Selmer was taken out in favor of Zach Morris. Bono eventually walked to load the bases. Morris got Trent Chatterson to ground out to end the inning. After three innings the Bruins had eight hits, all of them singles.
Terps close the gap, but come up short
The Terps got something brewing in the top of the fifth. Tin Lewis led off with a single through the left side. Kevin Biondic bunted Lewis to second. Wade punched an opposite field single, with Lewis holding up at third. Kevin Smith laid down a safety squeeze that plate Lewis and sent Wade to second. However, Brandon Lowe popped up to end the inning. Maryland had cut the lead to a single run, but would that be enough?
In the bottom of the seventh, Moore lined a double to left-center. He stole third, and came home when Martir's throw went over Cuas. It was an important run, given UCLA's dominant bullpen. However, the Terps had one more rally left in them. With one out in the eighth, Lowe laid down a bunt that that David Berg (UCLA's all-time saves leader) had trouble with, eventually throwing off the mark. Kevin Martir singled to center, putting the tying run aboard. Berg was able to escape any damage when he got Jose Cuas to pop out to second, and Nick Cieri grounded out to third.
Maryland had one more chance to score, trailing 4-2 going to the ninth inning. However, Berg retired the side in order, two on strikeouts.
Ryan Selmer got the loss to go to 3-1, and overall the Terps are now 41-22. Maryland and UCLA square off Monday night to decide who will advance to the Super Regional round.