Maynard’s Walk-Off Caps Off Weekend Sweep Over Ohio State

By Ethan Cadeaux (@Ethan_301)

After just three hits over the first eight innings, the Terps turned in a three-run, three-hit bottom of the ninth inning, capped off by freshman Dan Maynard’s walk-off single as the Terps defeated Ohio State 5-4 to complete the series sweep.

Entering the bottom of the ninth trailing 4-2, Nick Cieri drew a walk on a full count to but the tying run at the plate. The next batter, Kevin Biondic, singled to right, and then Kevin Smith drew another walk to load the bases. Center fielder Anthony Papio laced a first-pitch fastball to right, scoring pinch runner Zach Jancarski and Biondic, tying the game.

Maynard, who entered the game for catcher Justin Morris in the eighth inning, drove a 1-1 fastball past the third baseman, driving in Smith – the game-winning run.

“[My teammates] set it up very nice for me, all I had to do pretty much was put the ball in play,” said Maynard. “There’s no where to put me, so they couldn’t pitch around me, and that third pitch I knew I was just getting a fastball and I was ready for it.”

Compared to Friday’s doubleheader, today’s game was an offensive explosion. The first game featured just six total hits between the two clubs. In the latter game of the two, the Terps won while just totaling two hits all game. Today, the Terps tallied six hits, all of them coming after the fourth inning.

A series that was dominated by starting pitching looked to be following its course through the first five innings. Buckeyes’ freshman starting pitcher Brian Feltner was pulled after four and a third innings. The Hudson, Ohio, native allowed just two hits and one run on 67 pitches.

Terps’ starter Mike Shawaryn, who started his first Sunday game since his freshman year, went six and a third innings, allowing four earned runs and striking out 10.

“This week was kind of tough,” said Shawaryn, following the news that he would be this weekends Sunday pitcher instead of the typical Friday slot. “I talked to the coaches a lot and they helped me through it. I had to go out there and be the best Mike Shawaryn I could be. Earlier in the season I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, do more than I could. Today, I just tried to do everything I could control it.”

Shawaryn pitched much better than the numbers suggest, as he looked like his old, All-American caliber self for many points during the game.

“Any baseball team is only as good as their starting pitching,” said manager John Szefc. “I think our starting pitching is way better than it was this time last year. We feel pretty good about where our pitching staff is at.”

Reflecting on how he kept a positive mentality, Shawaryn recited a famous Yogi Berra line that ‘90 percent of [baseball] is mental’, and “that couldn’t be more true. If you don’t have a good mentality with anything in your life, it’s just not going to go your way.”

But when he exited, he was responsible all four runs the Terps gave up and in line for another loss. Yet, once Shawaryn was pulled, Ohio State was not able to muster another for the rest of the afternoon, keeping the Terps in striking distance of tying the game up.

Trailing 4-1 in the seventh inning, Smith hit a solo home run over the left field wall, trimming the Buckeye lead to two.

“I was looking for an inside fastball,” said Smith on his solo shot that brought life back within the clubhouse. “They had been going inside a lot. After playing two on Friday, we were just looking at the pitches, how they were pitching us. [I was] just trying to get any advantage I could and put a good swing on the ball.”

Smith’s home run brought energy back into the dugout. After coming from behind late on Friday, the ‘blue-collar’ Terps knew they had another comeback in them.

“The fact that we got it done on Friday night, getting no-hit through nine and still finding a way to win, I think that gave us some confidence today that all it takes is one inning to turn it around,” said Papio. “Every guy in our dugout is a tough guy. They grind things out, so I never consider us out of the fight.”

The Terps offense finally came alive in the ninth, and completed the comeback to stretch the winning streak to four.

“You have to win the ugly ones, too,” said Maynard. “We weren’t very good in the first seven innings, but we came around when it mattered and that’s the important thing.”

With four straight wins and a weekend sweep over Big Ten rival Ohio State, it seems the Terps have finally turned the corner.

“This is definitely the time to do it,” said Maynard on turning the corner. “Half way through the season, we are playing [well] right now. Every game we play is important. We are not going to get too far ahead of ourselves, just win the game that’s right in front of us.”

We’ll see if the Terps have turned the corner on Tuesday, where they travel to Richmond hoping to extend their winning streak to five. First pitch is at 3:00 p.m.

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