Benick's Grand Slam Propels Terps to 8-7 Win at No. 10 Virginia
April 4, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Senior Dan Benick went 1-for-3 Saturday at Virginia, but his lone hit was worth four runs as Maryland's starting center fielder crushed an eighth-inning grand slam off Cavaliers closer Matt Packer to complete a five-run fifth inning outburst and lead the University of Maryland baseball team to an 8-7 victory at tenth-ranked Virginia.
Maryland's win snapped a 19-game losing streak to Virginia and gave the Terps their first road victory against the Cavaliers since the 1999 season. The victory was Maryland's first over a ranked opponent this year.
The Terps (14-16, 4-10 ACC) gave starting pitcher Scott Swinson an early lead with which to work, scoring two runs off Andrew Carraway in the opening frame. David Poutier drew a leadoff walk and scored two batters later when third baseman Mike Murphy hit an 0-2 pitch over the left-center field wall. The home run moved Murphy into ninth place in school history.
The two-run cushion did not last long, however. Virginia leadoff batter Jarrett Parker hit the second Swinson offering well over the fence in left field to cut the Cavaliers' deficit in half.
Mike Moss put the Terps back up by two runs with a two-out, RBI single to center field in the top of the fourth, scoring Will Greenberg, who reached base on an infield single before being sacrificed to second.
Swinson tossed four straight scoreless innings after the first, but ran into trouble in the sixth. The Cavaliers (25-5, 7-5 ACC) belted three doubles in the inning, scoring four times to take a 5-3 lead. The big blow was a two-run double into the left-field corner by No. 8 batter David Coleman, putting Virginia up 4-3. No. 9 hitter Corey Hunt added an RBI single before relief pitcher Adam Kolarek got out of the inning with a double-play ball.
Down two with six outs with which to mount a rally, the Terps exploded in the top half of the eighth. David Poutier and Jensen Pupa led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Murphy then delivered an RBI single to left-center field to score Poutier and cut Virginia's lead to one, 5-4.
Relief pitcher Kevin Arico, who started the inning in relief of Carraway, was then replaced by Packer to face left-handed hitters A.J. Casario and Greenberg.
Casario drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases with no outs. Packer then struck out Greenberg looking on a 2-2 pitch.
With the game potentially in the balance, Benick stepped to the plate. Benick wasted no time, attacking Packer's first offering and crushed it into the trees behind the wall in left-center field to put Maryland up 8-5. Benick's homer was the Terps' first grand slam since Casario hit one against Old Dominion April 22 of last season. Benick also tied his career high in RBIs at four with one swing of the bat.
The Cavaliers got one run back in the bottom of the eighth on a pinch-hit, RBI single from Scott Silverstein. However, Virginia threatened to get another run in the inning, but Greenberg robbed Parker of a sure RBI single with a diving stop going to his right for the third out of the inning.
Maryland was retired in order in the ninth and headed to bottom of the inning three outs away from victory. Ian Schwalenberg retired Phil Gosselin to start the inning, but the Cavaliers refused to go away quietly. Danny Hultzen drew a walk and Dan Grovatt singled through the right side to bring the winning run to the plate in third baseman Steven Proscia, who was 4-for-4 on the day coming into the at-bat.
Closer Dan Gantzler came out of the bullpen to replace Schwalenberg. Proscia grounded a potential double-play ball to second base, but legged out a fielder's choice to keep the Cavaliers alive. One out away from sealing the win, Gentzler threw an errant pick-off attempt to first, allowing Hultzen to score and advancing Proscia to scoring position at second base.
Gentzler and Tyler Cannon engaged in an intense battle, eventually working to a full count. Cannon fouled off the first 3-2 pitch, but Gentzler fanned him with an off-speed pitch on the next delivery to clinch the victory for the Terps.
Schwalenberg earned the win for the Terps, improving to 2-2 while Gentzler recorded his first save of the season. Arico, Friday night's winning pitcher, took the loss for Viginia, falling to 1-1.
Swinson lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits. Carraway allowed three runs in seven innings for Virginia.
Pupa, Murphy and Moss each had two hits for the Terps. Proscia led the Cavaliers, finishing 4-for-5 with two runs scored.
Murphy moved into sixth place on Maryland's all-time list in both extra-base hits and RBIs.
Maryland will try to take the series at 1 p.m. Sunday. Freshman Matt Fullerton will be on the hill for the Terps.