Dirty Terps prevail late, take series in Portland

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Eddie Hacopian was at the plate with the game tied and the bases loaded in the top of the eighth. Hacopian was hitless to that point in the game making good contact that just never found a safe place to land. This at-bat ended with soft contact and perfection.

Hacopian bunted the first pitch he saw from right-hander Curtis Hebert and the ball hugged the third base line all the way past the bag. The Portland third baseman could do nothing but watch as the Terps took the lead on a RBI bunt single.  

Hacopian’s bunt was part of a four-run eighth inning, helping the Terps beat the Portland Pilots, 7-6, Sunday afternoon. 

The eighth inning scoring started with Elijah Lambros who came into the inning without a hit in his prior three at-bats. Lambros drove a double into the left center field gap bringing home two of Maryland’s three baserunners, tying the game at five. Following Eddie’s bunt single, the Terps scored one more on a Sam Hojnar hit-by-pitch, expanding their lead to two. 

Alex Walsh pitched the last two innings in relief for Maryland weathering a ninth inning rally from the Portland bats to earn his second save of the season. The Pilots scored one run in the bottom of the ninth, but Walsh pitched out of trouble getting Zach Toglia to pop out to Chris Hacopian in foul territory to end the game. 

The Terps offense improved as the weekend went on, culminating in a solid showing in Sunday’s game. Maryland recorded 15 hits with five of them going for extra bases. 

Eight of those hits came from Chris Hacopian and Jacob Orr who each went four for five. The pair’s four hits were their career highs for hits in a game.  

Chris started the scoring blasting the second pitch of the game over the left field fence for his team leading fifth home run of the season. Orr drove in the second run of the game on a RBI double an inning later.

Those were the only two runs Portland’s starter, Carter Gaston, gave up in his first start of the season. Gaston had primarily been a bullpen option for the Pilots appearing in five games before this afternoon’s start. Gaston finished his outing giving up six hits and no walks, while striking out seven Maryland batters in five innings of work.  

Maryland’s starter, Joey McMannis, went the same distance as his counterpart. McMannis’ five innings pitched was the longest start of his young collegiate career. 

McMannis pitched well allowing three runs to score (only two were earned runs) on 83 pitches. McMannis did struggle with command, walking five Portland batters, but it didn’t hurt him until he gave up his first hit in the bottom of the fifth. 

Riley McCarthy was the Pilot hitter that broke the hitless seal with a double that put two runners on base for Jake Holcroft. Holcroft drove in both baserunners, delivering Portland’s first lead of the afternoon. 

The lead went away a half-inning later with a Hojnar solo homer, but the Pilots earned it right back facing Maryland reliever Trystan Sarcone. 

Sarcone gave up three hits in the bottom of the sixth, the biggest hit off the bat of Ben Patacsil. Patascil blasted his first home run of the season over the left field fence giving the Pilots a 5-3 advantage going into the final three frames. 

The Terps outscored Portland four to one in the final three innings, winning their fifth weekend series this season. The Terps have yet to lose a weekend series this season. 

Maryland got great contributions from Orr and freshman Chris Hacopian throughout the weekend, combining for a .565 average, four extra base hits, and six RBI.

Maryland will try to make it three wins in a row as it returns to College Park for a mid-week matchup against James Madison on Tuesday.