May 10, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland baseball team split its Saturday doubleheader against No. 17 North Carolina State, winning the first game to clinch a winning record for the first time since the 2002 season.
Senior Kevin Biringer (Albuquerque, N.M./Bradley University) had a career day in the final start of his collegiate career, pitching a career-high eight innings and limiting the Wolfpack (34-16, 16-9 ACC) to two runs in a 6-2 Maryland (29-25, 9-20 ACC) victory.
Unfortunately, NC State put up seven runs in the top of the first inning of the second game and cruised to a 12-1 win, eliminating the Terps from ACC Tournament contention.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning of game one, the Terps put together four straight hits with two outs to plate two runs and take the lead.
First baseman Will Greenberg (Gaithersburg, Md./Washington College) singled to right field, scoring Jensen Pupa (Germantown, Md./Northwest) on the play. Right fielder Matt Payne made a good throw home, but Pupa executed a perfect hook slide to avoid the tag and tie the game.
Senior Chad Durakis (Cockeysville, Md./St. Paul's) followed Greenberg with a double to left field, scoring Mike Murphy (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Prep) to give the Terps a 2-1 lead, a lead they would not relinquish.
Maryland mounted another two-out rally in the bottom of the third. Durakis doubled to right and scored on an AJ Casario (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) single to right field for a 3-1 Terps lead. Payne made another good throw to the plate, but like Pupa earlier, Durakis made a good slide to get in safely.
Payne homered to left field in the top of the fifth to make it 3-2 Maryland, but the Terps got the run back in the bottom half on back-to-back doubles by Durakis, his third double of the game, and Casario.
Up 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, the Terps added two insurance runs.
Second baseman Dan Benick (Glen Lyon, Pa./Nanticoke) doubled to left to lead off the inning and moved to third when Joe Palumbo (Bowie, Md./DeMatha Catholic) laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Pitcher Drew Taylor tried to get Benick at third on the play, but Benick beat it out and Palumbo reached safely on a fielder's choice.
Nick Jowers (Beltsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic) scored Benick with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Pupa made it 6-2 Terps with an RBI double to left-center field.
Biringer came out to start the ninth in an attempt at the complete-game victory, but a hit by pitch and single to start the inning forced a change as Dan Gentzler (Berwyn, Pa./Conestoga) came out of the bullpen.
Gentzler induced a double play off the bat of leadoff hitter Ryan Pond and got a ground-out to end the game.
Biringer got the win to improve to 4-3 on the season while Wolfpack starter Clayton Shunick, one of the best pitchers in the country, took the loss, allowing four earned runs in six innings.
Gentzler earned his first-career save.
Durakis and Casario each had three hits for Maryland and Casario drove in two runs. With his three doubles, Durakis is now only one hit shy of moving into fifth place in school history and one double shy of third place in school history.
The momentum gained from the first game did not carry over to the second game, however, as starting pitcher Brett Jones (Dunkirk, Md./Southern) struggled with his command.
After a pair of walks, NC State cleanup hitter Jeremy Synan hit a three-run home run to center field.
The Wolfpack made it 4-0 on a Nick Stanley RBI single and Jones was pulled for Adam Kolarek (Baltimore, Md./Catonsville) after two-thirds of an inning.
With the bases loaded and two outs, left fielder Devon Cartwright laced a bases-clearing double down the left-field line for a 7-0 lead.
Stanley added a three-run home run later in the game.
The Terps didn't score off NC State starter Jake Buchanan until the bottom of the ninth inning when Murphy hit his 13th home run of the season, a solo shot.
Buchanan got the win to improve to 2-1, going all nine innings on only 98 pitches.
Jones fell to 1-1 with the loss.
Murphy and Greenberg each had two hits to combine for four of Maryland's five hits in the game.
Stanley had three hits and four RBIs for NC State while center fielder Marcus Jones went 4-for-6.
The Terps will go for the series victory at 1 p.m. tomorrow in the final home game of the season.
Eight Maryland seniors will be honored before the game for Senior Day: Brett Tidball (Bethesda, Md./Georgetown Prep), Mike Sufczynski (Darnestown, Md./St. John's), Biringer, Steve Braun (Granada Hills, Calif./Pierce CC), Brad Taylor (Silver Spring, Md./Good Counsel), Palumbo, Jowers and Durakis.