COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Leading 3-1 in the eighth, third baseman Jose Cuas hit a two-run home run to left field to give Maryland a four-run advantage and help propel the Terps to a 5-2 victory over 11th-ranked NC State earning a three-game sweep of the Wolfpack Sunday afternoon at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
For Cuas, it was his team-leading third homer of the season and his second in four games, and helped Maryland (16-6, 5-4 ACC) earn its first ACC sweep since winning all three games against Wake Forest in 2009 (May 8-10). Cuas finished the afternoon with two hits and three RBI.
"You want to win series and then you want to sweep series,” said head coach John Szefc. “We were able to take a pretty substantial step in the same weekend. Our guys need to get used to having this kind of success. They are good enough to have it, but we are trying to get them to expect this kind of success. They are good enough to have it, now let's go have it, and that's what happened."
For the third consecutive day, the Terrapin pitching staff quieted the Wolfpack attack. Freshman Tayler Stiles, making his first career start, scattered four hits and allowed one run with two strikeouts over three innings of work. Stiles was relieved in the fourth by Bobby Ruse, who was superb out of the bullpen.
Ruse held NC State (14-8, 3-6 ACC) scoreless over 3-2/3 innings with five strikeouts to earn his second win of the season. In his last four appearances spanning 12 innings, Ruse has surrendered only one run on six hits with 10 strikeouts.
The turning point in Sunday’s contest came in the eighth inning. With Maryland clinging to a two-run lead, NC State loaded the bases with two outs with pinch hitter Carlos Rodon set to bat. Kevin Mooney entered from the bullpen and struck Rodon out looking on three pitches to end the threat.
In the bottom of the frame, Mike Rescigno walked to lead off the inning. Cuas then stepped in and drove a 3-2 pitch from Wolfpack reliever Eric Peterson down the left field line just inside the foul pole for a two-run home run. With a four-run cushion, Mooney closed out the ninth for his fourth save of the season.
Maryland opened the scoring in the first inning against NC State starter Brad Stone, who did not escape the opening half inning. Blake Schmit led off the frame with a walk and moved to second after Kyle Convissar was hit by a pitch. Both runners moved into scoring position following a double steal. Kevin Martir then picked up a RBI with a sacrifice fly to left scoring Schmit. After Anthony Papio walked, Mike Rescigno singled to center scoring Convissar.
NC State cut its deficit in half in the top of the second. Second baseman Logan Ratledge hit his third home run of the season over the wall in left field. The Terps regained their two-run lead in the sixth behind a RBI single from Cuas after Papio led off the inning with a double to right center.
"I was happy to see us play more consistently this weekend with our offensive approach and our at-bats were tougher throughout the weekend,” said Szefc. “We've been pitching pretty consistently for a long time and playing pretty good defense."
Maryland returns to action on Tuesday when it travels to Fairfax to take on George Mason at 3 p.m.