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NCAA Baseball Tournament 2017: Maryland’s season ends with 8-5 loss to West Virginia

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The Mountaineers scored eight runs in the last four innings to eliminate the Terps.

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nick cieri
Sung Min Kim/Testudo Times

Maryland baseball had a healthy 4-0 lead after five innings, but West Virginia scored eight unanswered runs to end the Terrapins’ season.

The story of the game was relief pitching, as West Virginia got a superb outing by Jackson Sigmund, who held the Terps to a single run through 4.2 innings. Meanwhile, the Terps’ bullpen imploded in a four-run eighth inning.

Maryland built its lead on the strength of home runs by Marty Costes and Brandon Gum. The latter also doubled in a run. Dunn added a solo shot in the ninth inning.

The Terps got on the board in the bottom of the second inning. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Costes worked the count to 3-2 before launching a bomb to left field. It was his 13th this season, tying him for the team lead with Kevin Smith.

The Terps grabbed another run in the third inning. Justin Morris walked, went to second on a force out at first, then came around when Gum lined a double to left center.

Tyler Blohm breezed through the first three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth. A walk and a single put runners on the corners with no one out. A walk to Cole Austin loaded the bases. That prompted pitching coach Ryan Fecteau to bring in John Murphy, who struck out the next three hitters to keep the Mountaineers off the board.

The Terps extended their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth. With one away, A.J. Lee singled through the box, and Gum hit a two-run homer.

Murphy allowed a run in the sixth. Darius Hill doubled, went to third on a passed ball, and then came home on a groundout.

Even though Murphy had already thrown 48 pitches, he was still on the mound to start the seventh. It proved to be a costly decision. Kyle Davis hit a leadoff double. Braden Zarbnisky flicked a bloop single to center field, putting runners on the corners. Jared Price came in to relieve Murphy. A force out brought home Davis. Kevin Brophy delivered an RBI single, and suddenly Maryland led by just 4-3. Gray doubled to right center field, and the lead run was on second base. Pinch runner T.J. Lake was caught in a rundown on an attempted suicide squeeze, and the Terps tagged him out at third. A flyout ended the top of the seventh, and Maryland was still on top.

The Terrapins held onto a tenuous lead, which went by the wayside in the top of the eighth. Ryan Selmer allowed a leadoff single, then Jackson Cramer just missed going yard, settling for an RBI double to tie the score. Zarbnisky singled in the go-ahead run for West Virginia. That was it for Selmer, who was relieved by Ryan Hill.

Jimmy Galusky’s single made it 6-4 in favor of the Mountaineers. A walk loaded the bases. Jamal Wade relieved Hill and walked in a run. Wade got the Terps out of the inning without any more runs scoring. However, four runs had come across and West Virginia led 7-4.

Cramer doubled with one away in the ninth, which brought in Tayler Stiles. A soft fly fell in just in front of left fielder Dan Maynard, then a single put runners on the corners. Zarbnisky hit a ball to Dunn, who flipped to Smith. But the shortstop wasn’t able to get it out of his glove to complete the double play. West Virginia was on top 8-4.

Mountaineer sidearm pitcher Jackson Sigmund baffled the Terps. After coming in to pitch in the bottom of the fifth, he held the Terps scoreless through 3.2 innings.

But Maryland would not go down easy in the bottom of the ninth. Dunn led off with a home run to left. Pinch hitter Madison Nickens singled to center field. After Morris fanned, Zach Jancarski doubled over the center fielder’s head, and the Terps had the tying run at the plate. However, Lee and Gum both fanned to end the game.

The loss eliminated Maryland from the Winston-Salem Regional, and the Terps ended the season with a 38-23 record.