High Point took advantage of control problems from Terrapin relievers and some strange plays to defeat Maryland baseball 7-6, clinching the series win.
The Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Maryland closed to within a run. A strong seventh inning put High Point up by five runs. Once again Maryland rallied, scoring four runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but just came up short.
High Point came out swinging in the first inning. Conner Dunbar singled, and Carson Jackson doubled to the wall in left. Dunbar scored on a fielder’s choice. A nice play by Nick Dunn on a hard hit grounder kept the score at 1-0.
The Panthers didn’t quit hitting. In the second inning, Hunter Lee crushed a pitch for a leadoff triple, then came home on a wild pitch. High Point scored yet again in the next inning when Jackson hit a solo home run to make the score 3-0.
The Terps were held hitless through the first three frames, but the bats came alive in the fourth. Brandon Gum led off with a single to right, and one out later Marty Costes lined a single. Dunn hit a ball to deep center that Greene made a great catch on for the out. Will Watson walked to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Gum to score, and the other runners moved up. Kevin Smith fanned to end the inning, leaving two in scoring position.
Maryland grabbed another run in its half of the fifth. Madison Nickens was hit by a pitch, Kevin Biondic flared a single to right field and Gum hit a sac fly, bringing Nickens home.
Ryan Hill took the mound for the Terps in the bottom of the fifth. He escaped a jam, but found himself in trouble again in the sixth. Lee walked to start the problems. J.J. Woodard popped up a sacrifice bunt, but Justin Morris dove for the ball and just missed catching it, allowing Woodard to reach. A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position with no outs.
John Murphy relieved Hill and walked Sergent to load the sacks. Murphy struck out a pinch hitter. However, Austin Zente hit a pop-up that Murphy fielded, but slipped and couldn’t make the play; High Point led 4-2. Murphy struck out the next two batters to put out the fire.
High Point put up a crooked number in the seventh. Greene drew a leadoff walk, then went to second on a passed ball. Oerther hit a ground ball to Smith, who checked the runner but his throw pulled Biondic off the bag. After a flyout, the Terps brought in Ryan Selmer to pitch. Woodward singled to make the score 5-2, and a safety squeeze gave the Panthers a four-run lead. High Point scored another run on a single and led 7-2.
The Terps began to rally in the eighth. Gum led off with a solid single, then A.J. Lee hit his seventh home run of the season. One out later, Dunn and Watson hit back-to-back singles. After Smith flied out, Cieri hit a pinch hit RBI single to bring the Terps within two runs.
Biondic singled past the second baseman to start the top of the ninth. With one down, Lee drove a pitch that looked like it might go for a double, but Greene made a superb diving grab in center field. A passed ball scored Biondic to make the score 7-6. Costes walked to put the tying run on base. Dunn blooped a single down the left field line. Watson couldn’t bring Costes in from second, striking out to end the game.