COLLEGE PARK, Md. – After surrendering two runs in the first three innings, Maryland held West Virginia scoreless over the final six and used some timely hitting to defeat the Mountaineers (27-21) by the score of 4-2 Tuesday afternoon at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium and extend its season-long winning streak to nine.
With the victory, the Terps improved to 34-19 on the season to match the school record for wins set in 2002. Maryland will await the results of this weekend’s conference series to determine its seed at the ACC Tournament, set to begin on May 20.
“This was a really good win for us and an important win for us for a lot of reasons,” said head coach John Szefc. “They had a 27 RPI coming in. That’s a really good RPI win for us. I’m hopeful that it can potentially get us into the top 30 RPI wise. When you’re building your resume for the NCAA tournament, those wins are really, really important wins.”
A RBI single from Kevin Martir in the fourth scored the tying run, and a safety squeeze from LaMonte Wade two batters later scored the eventual winning run. The Terrapin bullpen led by Bobby Ruse made the lead hold up.
Ruse entered in the fifth after four strong innings from starter Zach Morris. Ruse gave up one hit over 2-1/3 scoreless innings to earn his seventh win of the season. Ben Brewster then struck out three of the six batters he faced and turned it over to Jake Stinnett in the ninth, who earned his first save of the season in his final appearance at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
Trailing 2-1 after three innings, the Terps scored twice in the fourth to come-from-behind to win for the fifth straight game. An Anthony Papio walk and single by Nick Cieri set the Terps up with runners at first and third. Martir then dropped a single in front of the left fielder to tie the game. With one out, Wade and Cieri pulled off a safety squeeze as Wade laid a perfect bunt down the first base line allowing Cieri to score easily and give the Terps a lead they would not relinquish.
“I think these guys have almost kind of embraced that as a little bit of an identity playing from behind,” said Szefc. “At this point, I almost feel more comfortable playing from behind as long as the deficit’s not that big. Our pitching staff has done a really good job of keeping deficits small. That’s a big, big part of this whole run has been that.”
The Terps tacked on an insurance run in the fifth. After Jose Cuas reached on an error and Blake Schmit singled him to second, Tim Lewis, who is riding a season-high 10-game hitting streak, slapped one up the middle allowing Cuas to score.
Maryland will have the weekend off before beginning play at the ACC Tournament on either Tuesday, May 20, or Wednesday, May 21.