By Ethan Cadeaux (@Ethan_301)
Continuing the strong momentum they finished the west coast road-trip with, the Terps’ won their third straight game Tuesday night, defeating Liberty University 10-9 to bring their record to 10-10 and back to .500 on the season.
After falling behind early, the Terrapins’ bats came alive, as they scored ten runs over four straight innings, including a five-run sixth, to ultimately put them out in front for good. The Flames would have a late comeback attempt, scoring four runs in the ninth, but the comeback would fall just short.
The Flames started the scoring in the top of the third, when first baseman Andrew Yacyk singled in centerfielder Jack Morris. But Maryland would immediately get the run back in the bottom half of the inning, when shortstop Kevin Smith crushed a solo-shot over the wall in center field, just to the left of the batter’s eye.
After Terps’ starters Taylor Bloom and Brian Shaffer each threw a complete game over the weekend in California, the Terps’ pitching staff would need to use eight arms Tuesday evening. Starting pitcher Taylor Styles was chased just after three and a third innings pitched.
The Flames would tack on three more runs in the top of the fourth, when Morris would hit a three run shot to left field, scoring second baseman Andrew Kowalo and third baseman Josh Barrick.
But just like in the third, the Terps had an answer. Catcher Dan Maynard, who was placed in the lineup to give every-day catcher Justin Morris a day off, smoked a double to the left field corner, scoring first baseman Kevin Biondic and third baseman Andrew Bechtold. The Terps started to cut into the Flames’ lead, trimming it to just one.
“We got some pretty big contributions from some other people, said manager John Szefc. “I thought Maynard – the double he had to bring it back to 4-3 got us back in the game. For a first-year guy who hadn’t played a whole lot, he gave us a pretty good contribution. He’s a big part of the future here.”
Maynard went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI’s before being replaced in the sixth inning.
“It’s just a mindset more than anything,” said Maynard on staying locked in even knowing he won’t be in the lineup everyday. “Always [have] to be ready to go.”
The Flames’ would start freshman Jack DeGroat, who pitched well, giving up just two hits and one-run. But DeGroat would only last three innings, and the Terps took advantage of a Flames’ bullpen that has not been strong all season.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Terps’ offense would strike again. After the Terps loaded the bases, Biondic drew a walk to tie the game at four. The next batter, centerfielder Anthony Papio, would find the shallow gap in left field to score designated hitter Nick Cieri and give the Terps’ their first lead of the game. Maryland would leave the bases loaded, as Bechtold would ground into a double play to end the inning.
The Terps would score for the fourth straight inning, when right fielder Madison Nickens would single home Peyton Sorrels, who pinch ran for Maynard. Sorrels’ run would be the first run in a five-run sixth inning for Maryland.
Later in the inning, Cieri would single in Madison Nickens to extend the Terps’ lead to 7-4. The next batter, left fielder Marty Costes, would single in second baseman Nick Dunn, adding another run to the Terps’ lead. Then, Biondic would follow with a two-run shot to deep center, opening this game up for the Terps, giving them a six run lead.
After adding a run in the eighth, the Flames would make it interesting in the top of the ninth. Third baseman Josh Barrick would hit a three-run homerun to left, scoring Kowalo and catcher Payton Scarbrough, cutting the gap 10-8. Two batters later, Yacyk would single in right fielder Will Shepherd, narrowing the Terps lead just one. Yacyk would have five hits on the night, a career high.
But Terps’ pitcher Mike Rescigno would be able to get the final three outs, and the Terps were able to hold off the Liberty comeback.
“We are trying not to look at it as pitchers [versus] hitters, but if we have to put up ten runs a game, then we [have] to put up ten runs a game,” said Maynard on the offense carrying the load today. “I’m not worried about our pitching at all. We have a great staff.”
Maynard also mentioned how the pitching carried the team over the weekend with two great performances, including two complete games.
The Terps are back in action Friday, looking to extend their winning streak to four as they travel to University of Iowa for the Terps’ first Big Ten conference series of the season. First pitch is at 4:05 p.m.
“We are really excited for [conference play],” said Terps’ relief pitcher Andrew Green, who picked up his first career win today in one inning of work. “We just [have] to win the Big Ten. That’s the goal.”