Maryland baseball erupted for a comeback in Sunday's rubber game against Rhode Island, winning 13-10 to take home their first series victory of 2016.
Saturday the Terps switched some players around in an effort to jump-start the offense, but it was to no avail. Sunday some more shuffling was done: freshman Peyton Sorrels started in left field and Kevin Smith was moved to the top of the line-up. Would the Terrapin bats start to get hot?
Rams batter Terps to take a 4-0 lead
The Rams almost got on the board in their half of the second. A two-out double followed by a HBP put Maryland starter Brian Shaffer in a tough spot. However, the Terrapin right-hander struck out Matt O'Neil to end the threat. On the other side, Ben Wessel had two 1-2-3 innings, with five of the outs coming on ground balls.
Things came apart in the top of the third. Ryan Olmo stroked a lead-off double. He went to third on an errant pick-off attempt by Shaffer. The dangerous Connor Foreman drew a walk to put runners on the corners with no outs. One out later, Martin Figueroa doubled in one run. Jordan Powell followed with a single to right, making it 3-0 Rams. Camron Enck relieved Shaffer. A seeing-eye single and a walk loaded the bases. Ryan Selmer came in to put out the fire. A high chopper to third brought home another Rhode Island run. A ground out ended the frame.
Terps and Rams trade home runs
The Terps fought back in their half of the third. Kevin Biondic singled to left, and then Justin Morris crushed a two-run blast over the center field wall. It was Morris' first collegiate home run.
The Rams put up a crooked number in the top of the fifth. With two outs, a single and a walk put two Rams on base. Chase Livingston homered to left to put the Rams up 7-2.
Cieri's grand slam puts the Terps on top
The Terps put up an eight spot in their half of the fifth. Anthony Papio opened things up with a seeing-eye single. He moved up to second on a ground out to first. Biondic then cracked a two-run homer to cut the deficit to 7-4. Hess was chased when he issued back-to-back walks to Morris and Smith. One out later Nick Dunn was HBP to load the bases. Nick Cieri got ahold of a 3-1 pitch for a grand slam that put the Terps out in front 8-7. But the Terps weren't done. Andrew Bechtold doubled, and then was brought home on a single by Papio. A wild pick-off throw allowed Papio to motor to third. Biondic's single, his third hit of the day, made it 10-7 Maryland.
Rams make a charge, but Terps respond
Tayler Stiles took the mound in the sixth inning, the first time he pitched in a game since his terrible injury last April. He looked like he didn't miss a beat, throwing strikes and mowing down the side in order. In the bottom of the inning Madisen Nickens muscled a solo home run over the right center field fence.
In the top of the eighth, the Rams made things difficult. A leadoff single and a swinging bunt put men on first and second. Foreman walked to load the bases, which caused Coach Bellanger to call in Rob Galligan from the bullpen. Chris Hess blooped a single to center that scored a run. Another run came across via a wild pitch. It got worse when Jordan Powell singled in a run to cut the Terps lead to a single run. Another wild pitch placed runners on second and third. Galligan bore down, striking out the next hitter and then getting a ground out to keep the Terps on top.
The Terps added two insurance runs in their half of the eighth. Smith singled to center and was sacrificed to second. Dunn hit a sharp double that scored Smith. Cieri followed by lining a double down the right field line to give the Terps a three-run lead.
Galligan retired the side in order in the ninth to get his first save of 2016. Ryan Selmer was credited with the win, and the Terps squared their overall record at 3-3.
Three things to know:
1. The Terps showed a lot of backbone. Down 3-0 and later 7-2, Maryland powered its way back to a stirring victory, a victory that gave the Terps a ...
2. Crucial series win. To lose a series at home to Rhode Island would have been a bad mark on the Terps' record, an RPI deflator. But it wasn't just the Terps bats that were noteworthy but ...
3. Tayler Stiles returned to the mound. Sporting a plastic face guard, the junior southpaw threw two scoreless innings before running into trouble. Stiles will be an important part of Maryland's pitching staff.