COLLEGE PARK, Md. – After spotting the 13-ranked Tar Heels five runs in the first two innings, the Maryland baseball team battled back and pulled within one run late in Sunday’s contest, but could not overcome the deficit ultimately falling to North Carolina, 9-4, in the series finale at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
North Carolina (14-5, 4-2 ACC) benefited from three Terrapin errors, which led to seven unearned runs. After the Terps (11-6, 2-4 ACC) trimmed the five-run deficit to one in the bottom of the eighth, the Tar Heels scored four runs, three unearned, in the top of the ninth to put the game away.
Strong relief efforts from Zach Morris and Ben Brewster kept the Terps in the game after starter Kevin Mooney lasted only two innings. Morris worked four innings of scoreless baseball scattering four hits and striking out one. Brewster pitched two scoreless innings and struck out one.
The Terps began to chip away at the five-run deficit in the fourth. Right fielder Anthony Papio, who went 3-for-3 on Sunday, ripped a single past a lunging first baseman to score LaMonte Wade from second.
In the sixth, the Terps trimmed the UNC lead to 5-3. Charlie White doubled off the wall in left center moving Krysthian Leal to third. Wade then stepped in and drove a 2-0 pitch back up the middle to plate two runs.
Maryland threatened in the seventh getting runners to second and third before pulling within a run in the eighth. After Kyle Convissar reached on a single and moved to second on a wild pitch, Kevin Martir picked up a RBI on a single to left.
After a Papio single and a sacrifice bunt by Blake Schmit, the Terps had runners at second and third and one out. But Tar Heel reliever Chris McCue struck out Andrew Amaro and got Mike Rescigno to fly out to right to end the threat.
In the ninth with momentum in Maryland’s corner, North Carolina got a triple from Michael Russell, a RBI each from Skye Bolt and Parks Jordan, and a two-RBI double from Korey Dunbar to put the game out of reach.
The Terps outhit the Tar Heels finishing with 12 knocks on the afternoon compared to 10 for UNC. Wade went 3-for-5 with two RBI, while Papio had three hits and one RBI.
North Carolina starter Zac Gallen earned the win to improve to 2-1. Gallen went 5-2/3 innings allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits with four strikeouts. Mooney took the loss in his first start of the season. The sophomore righty went two innings allowing five runs, one earned, on three hits with three strikeouts. McCue posted his seventh save of the season.
Maryland returns to action on Tuesday when it faces Delaware at Harford Community College. The Terps return home on Wednesday to take on UMBC at 4 p.m. before beginning a three-game series in College Park against NC State Friday.