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Maryland baseball defeats UNC-Wilmington, 10-6, behind 2 Kevin Smith homers

The shortstop had four home runs in two games this series.

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kevin smith
Sung Min Kim/Testudo Times

Kevin Smith hit two home runs for the second consecutive day, and Marty Costes hit a two-run shot to lead Maryland to an 10-6 win Wednesday over UNC-Wilmington. It was the Terps’ first true road win this year, and gave them a split with UNCW in this midweek series.

Unlike other midweek games, the Terps scored early. Although UNCW closed to within a run in the second inning, Smith drove in four runs with his two home runs to put the game away.

Tayler Stiles got his first start of the year, and lasted 2.1 innings. UNCW had their chances, loading the bases twice with one out, but came away empty both times. The Terps were able to turn two double plays at crucial times on Wednesday.

Ryan Hill pitched 3.1 scoreless innings to keep UNCW at bay until the Terps’ bats once again exploded. He moved to 2-0 on the year.

Costes blast helps Terps take an early lead

The Terps jumped out right away. With one out in the first, Nick Dunn singled through the middle, and Marty Costes followed with a no-doubter over the left field fence. It was Costes’ second home run in two days. Will Watson laid down a bunt single and the first baseman couldn’t hold onto the throw. Madison Nickens walked, and both runners advanced on a balk. Watson scored on a ground out by Smith. The next two Terps walked to load the bases, but Justin Morris just got under a pitch and skied out to right.

Stiles had trouble with his control in the bottom of the inning. After the leadoff batter flied out, the Seahawks filled the bases on two walks and a single. However, Stiles was able to get Ryan Jeffers to ground into an inning-ending double play. Stiles settled down in the next inning, striking out the side.

Things went awry in the bottom of the third with one away. A single and a two-run homer by Brian Mims pulled the Seahawks to within a run. The bases were loaded on a hit-by-pitch, single to left, and a walk. After getting the next batter to pop up to the catcher, Stiles gave way to Ryan Hill. After falling behind the batter 3-1, Hill was able to strike out Daniel Stack to end the inning. Hill continued to throw darts, striking out the side in the next inning after allowing a single.

Smith goes yard twice to propel Terps to a large lead

Dunn reached on an infield single and Costes singled through the hole at short in the fifth. Watson got a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Nickens hit a sac fly to deep right, scoring Dunn and allowing Costes to move to third. Smith then drove an 0-2 pitch off of the top and then over the fence in the right field corner for a three-run blast. The Terps led 7-2.

Hill kept the Seahawks off the board in the fifth and sixth innings. He finished with six strikeouts and only two hits allowed in 3.1 innings. Jared Price took over in the bottom of the seventh and allowed one run, but the Terrapin lead was still four.

In the top of the eighth, Smith turned on a pitch and hit his second home run of the game, his fourth in two days.

The Seahawks weren’t done though. In the bottom of the eighth, Terence Connelly drew a one out walk, and came home when Stack lined a double in the left field corner. That brought in Andrew Miller for the Terps. Miller put out the fire to keep the score 8-4 Maryland.

That went to 10-4 in the top of the ninth. Zach Jancarski singled and Dunn was hit by a pitch. On a double steal attempt, the catcher’s throw went into center field, allowing Jancarski to score. Watson walked, and on an attempted steal the throw was knocked down, allowing Dunn to score.

Those runs proved important, as UNCW was able to score some runs in the bottom of the ninth. Miller hit a batter, then gave up a two-run home run to Nick Feight. It was the first time this year that opponents scored on Miller. Ryan Selmer relieved Miller, and struck out the next two hitters; in all, Terrapin pitchers notched 14 strikeouts Wednesday.

With the win, Maryland moves to 13-7 overall. This Friday, the No. 18 Michigan Wolverines come to College Park for the Terps’ first Big Ten series.