Rodriguez Lifts Terps Over #20 ECU, 2-1
Feb. 26, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Alfredo Rodriguez broke a 1-1 tie with a bases-loaded RBI single in the ninth and Maryland completed an undefeated run at the Keith LeClair Classic with a 2-1 victory over No. 20 East Carolina Sunday afternoon.
The Terps, now 5-1, are off to their best start in 25 years. They last opened the season 5-1 in 1987.
Once again, pitching and timely hitting made the difference. Brett Harman went five innings, allowing just one unearned run on five hits while striking out four. Relievers Michael Boyden, Korey Wacker and Jimmy Reed then went the final four innings without surrendering a hit.
Maryland played the entire weekend - against three teams that had come into the Classic undefeated - without allowing a single earned run. The pitching staff has a 1.24 ERA, a mark that leads the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Trailing 1-0 in the fifth, K.J. Hockaday provided the first piece of timely hitting with a RBI single to left field on an 0-2 count. The game remained tied for the next three and a half innings, with both pitching staffs clamping down.
But Maryland took advantage of its opportunity in the ninth. With the bases loaded after a single by Jordan Hagel, two East Carolina (5-2) errors and a hit batsman, Rodriguez lined a 3-1 pitch through the left side to make it 2-1.
Reed, who has been nearly unhittable, took over with no outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the ninth after Wacker had started the inning by issuing a walk. The junior left-hander picked up his third save in as many tries by retiring all three batters he faced.
Wacker (1-0), who pitched a perfect eighth inning, was credited with the win. East Carolina's Tanner Merritt (0-1) gave up a run in 2/3 of an inning and took the loss.
Though he didn't factor into the decision, Harman turned in another solid outing in keeping Maryland in the game early. East Carolina's leadoff batter reached in four of his five innings, but Harman bore down and escaped having allowed just one run. That came in the third due in part to two failed pickoff attempts, but he prevented further damage.
That allowed the Maryland offense to gain steam, punching in the tying run in the fifth, while the bullpen shut down East Carolina the rest of the way.
The Terps open their first home series this Friday against Manhattan, with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.
Notes: Maryland's pitching staff gave up just 15 hits all weekend, the best among the four teams (East Carolina 23, Purdue & Western Carolina 33) ... the Terps batted .287 in the three-game set, second behind Purdue (.317) ... Kyle Convissar went 5-for-17 (.417) on the weekend, Jordan Hagel went 4-for-10 (.400) and Charlie White and Tim Kiene went 5-for-13 (.385) ... the Maryland bullpen allowed just two hits all weekend.