Four-Run Sixth Propels Terps Past VCU

Maryland Athletics
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. Maryland rode the arm of junior right-hander Bobby Ruse and scored four times in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie en route to a 5-2 victory over VCU Tuesday afternoon at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

After surrendering two hits and a run in the first inning, Ruse held the Rams to two hits over the next five innings with two strikeouts to earn his third win of the season. After the first, Ruse retired 15 of the next 19 batters he faced including seven in a row at one point.

“He’s an absolute strike thrower,” said head coach John Szefc. “He’s really an efficient arm, gives up one run, four hits, only strikes out two guys, but he only walks one guy. He makes you beat him. He makes you swing the bat. And if you have guys behind that can play defense, you’re usually going to be in it at the end.”

After knotting the game at one in the fifth on a RBI double from Jose Cuas, the Terps (17-8) broke the game open with four runs in the sixth. Three of the runs in the inning came on walks with the bases loaded and the lone RBI hit of the inning was delivered by Cuas.

“We just emphasize having tough at-bats and not striking out when it matters,” said Szefc. “We really work hard at creating a big inning, a three-run inning, [because] 70 percent of the time, you score a three-run inning, you win.”

A RBI single from Vimael Machin put VCU (20-5) in front in its first at-bat. But Ruse settled in after the first and retired seven straight batters into the fourth inning allowing the Terrapin bats to find their rhythm against Rams’ starter JoJo Howie.

“I left a few pitches up [in the first inning] that they hit,” said Ruse. “VCU’s a great hitting team and a great team all-around. I just needed to keep the ball down and hit my spots and that’s what I did.”

In the Terrapin fifth, Anthony Papio drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Rescigno. Cuas then drilled a 2-2 pitch down the left-field line scoring Papio to tie the game.

LaMonte Wade led off the sixth with a double to left center and moved up a base on an infield single by Kyle Convissar. After Kevin Martir walked to load the bases, Papio earned a four-pitch walk with one out to put the Terps in front.

A Rescigno walk forced home the second run of the inning before Cuas drove in his second run of the game on a hard hit ball that got past the diving third baseman. After a fielder’s choice at home prevented a run, Brandon Lowe earned a five-pitch walk to put the Terps up 5-1.

Cuas finished the game 4-for-4 with two RBI. Papio and Rescigno each drove in a run as well. Convissar, Martir, Wade and Charlie White all finished with one hit each.

The Rams scored one in the top of the eighth, but would not draw closer as Tayler Stiles worked two innings of relief and Kevin Mooney came on in the ninth to earn his fifth save of the season.

Maryland is back in action Wednesday as Liberty visits Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.