COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Senior righty Jake Stinnett struck out 13, one shy of his career high, en route to his ACC-leading fourth complete-game performance of the season as Maryland blanked Notre Dame, 2-0, Friday night at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium in the series opener between the Terps and Fighting Irish.
Stinnett entered the night tied with NC State’s Carlos Rodon for the ACC lead in strikeouts and complete games. The Vista, Calif., native ran his season strikeout total to 107, the third-highest single-season total in school history, and now holds an ACC-best two complete-game shutouts.
“I got myself into some tricky situations for the first three quarters of the game,” said Stinnett. “It was important that I really focused up and bared down and made pitches when I needed to.
“Overall, it was a game of timely pitching and timely hitting when we needed it. A great performance, great defense as always and the timely hit by Jose [Cuas] really picked us up."
The Terps (26-19, 10-14 ACC) used a two-out, two-RBI single from Jose Cuas in the first to take the lead. That was all the support Stinnett needed as he posted his third consecutive game with 10 or more strikeouts to earn his fifth win.
"We probably had the toughest 10-day period of our season that we are coming off of right now, “ said head coach John Szefc. “Cuas' hit knocked in two, but mentally it felt like it knocked in six. It gave us a lead and gave Jake some runs to work with. I told these guys that we might have only scored two runs, but we had some really good at-bats out there.”
Stinnett outdueled Notre Dame starter Pat Connaughton, who turned in a very strong outing, scattering five hits over eight innings. But two first inning hits, a walk and a wild pitch were enough for the Terps to score two and drop Connaughton’s record to 1-5.
LaMonte Wade hit a hard single off Connaughton’s leg for Maryland’s first hit of the game and moved to second on a Brandon Lowe walk. Both runners moved into scoring position with one out following a wild pitch.
Following a ground out by Blake Schmit, Cuas smacked a 1-0 pitch back up the middle past the diving shortstop for his 31st and 32nd RBI of the season.
Notre Dame (17-28, 4-18 ACC) placed a runner at third with one out in the third and the fourth innings, but Stinnett buckled down each time and stranded the runner to preserve the lead.
The Terps and Fighting Irish continue their three-game set Saturday. First pitch is at 2 p.m. from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.