Maryland Falls 10-3 To FIU In Season Opener
Feb. 19, 2010
MIAMI - Jack Cleary went 3-for-3 in his first game as Maryland's starting catcher to help the Terps get out to an early 3-0 lead, but FIU's four-run fifth inning catapulted it to a 10-3 season-opening victory.
With an aggressive look offensively and starting pitcher Brett Harman shutting down FIU batters, Maryland was able to seize momentum early. The Terps opened the scoring in the third with three runs, but FIU took control late with four runs in both the fifth and eighth innings to earn the victory.
"I told the team it was a tale of two games - the first four innings and the last five," said head coach Erik Bakich. "The first four we were more aggressive, we did a better job of getting our leadoff hitter on base, putting pressure on them and manufacturing runs. Harman did a very good job early on getting their first batter out and then it flip-flopped. You can see the result of what happened. Generating momentum in college baseball can be contagious, positively for one team and negatively for another."
Maryland led 1-0 in the third after Brandon Padula and Adam Kolarek opened the inning with a pair of singles. Padula scored on a fielder's choice by Alfredo Rodriguez and after a single by Mike Rozak and a Tyler Bennett walk, Cleary came to the plate with the bases loaded. The Terps called for a double-squeeze, sending Rodriguez from third and Rozak from second. Cleary laid a bunt down the first baseline allowing Rodriguez to easily score, and confusion between FIU's pitcher and first baseman allowed Rozak to dart home to give Maryland a 3-0 lead.
Brandon Padula, also making his Maryland debut after transferring from West Virginia, went 3-for-4 on the evening. Starting pitcher Brett Harman struck out seven, shutting down the Golden Panthers though four innings. But FIU jumped on Harman in the fifth.
Pablo Bermudez hit a one-out, two-run single to bring the Golden Panthers within one. After Ian Schwalenberg relieved Harman, Mike Martinez hit a run-scoring double and later scored on a sacrifice fly to give FIU the lead.
The Golden Panthers tacked on two in the seventh and four in the eighth to put the game out of reach. Harman pitched 4 1/3, allowing six hits and four runs in the loss, while Scott Rembisz earned the win.
Although it wasn't the result Bakich had hoped for in his first game with the Terps, he was pleased with what the team showed it could accomplish, noting they needed to stay aggressive throughout the entire nine innings to be successful.
"Obviously it would have been nice to get that first win under the belt," said Bakich. "I told the kids before the game that our coaching staff and I couldn't be more fired up to go to battle with them. I really appreciate the way they've bought into this program and our brand and style. Regardless of the result we just wanted them to give their best effort and play our style. I thought we did very well at the beginning but we have to learn how to sustain that throughout an entire game."
Maryland and FIU play game two of the three-game set tomorrow at 6 p.m. RHP Eric Potter is scheduled to start for the Terps, while LHP Corey Polizzano will get the ball for the Golden Panthers.