Maryland baseball rallies, scores 6 runs in the 8th inning to beat Wake Forest, 10-5, keep season alive; Terps to face UConn in nightcap

·4 min read

Maryland baseball’s best season in 131 years has been driven laregly by its ability to outhit its opponents, as the Terps rank top five in the nation in runs, home runs and slugging percentage.

Facing elimination against Wake Forest in an NCAA Tournament regional game in College Park on Sunday afternoon, they did exactly that. Trailing 5-3 in the eighth inning, Maryland exploded for six runs on four hits and went on to defeat the Demon Deacons, 10-5, at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

Maryland (47-13) will play UConn at 7 p.m. on Sunday. If the Terps win, a winner-take-all game will be played on Monday to decide who advances to the super regionals.

The fireworks began when junior left fielder Bobby Zmarlak sent the ball over the left field wall for a two-run homer that evened the score at 5. Sophomore catcher Luke Shliger gave the Terps a one-run lead on an RBI double before fifth-year outfielder Chris “Bubba” Alleyne had the fans on the edge of their seats.

After going 2-for-12 in the first two games, Alleyne blasted a two-run home run to center, extending the Terps’ lead to 8-5. Right fielder Troy Schreffler drove home sophomore Matt Shaw soon after, and suddenly the Terps held a four-run advantage after only scoring two runs in the first six innings.

Maryland junior reliever David Falco earned the victory, as he allowed no runs on three hits and four strikeouts in three innings of work. The right-hander concluded his strong performance by striking out the side in the ninth.

Falco relieved junior starter Nick Dean, who pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk, while recording seven strikeouts. Falco concluded his strong performance by striking out the side in the ninth.

After Wake Forest starter Teddy McGraw held the Terps to two runs (one earned) in six innings, the Demon Deacons’ bullpen gave up a combined eight earned runs.

Like UConn was on Saturday night in its 10-5 victory over Maryland, Wake Forest (41-19-1) was aggressive in the first inning. Second baseman Pierce Bennett and catcher Brenda Tinsman each hit RBI doubles to give the Demon Deacons an early 2-0 lead. However, it didn’t take long for the Terps to respond.

After sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw reached on an error, senior first baseman Maxwell Costes smashed a two-run home run to the left field bleachers, tying the game at 2.

On the mound, Dean settled in, striking out four batters in two innings. Meanwhile, Alleyne might have had the best play of the weekend in the bottom of the third. With one out, Bennett rocketed the ball to center. Alleyne’s hat flew off his head as he extended his body, making a diving catch that demanded a standing ovation from the crowd.

In the fourth, Maryland failed to change the momentum of the game. After Costes singled and freshman designated hitter Ian Petrutz doubled to right field, the Terps had runners on second and third with one out. But the threat ended when Costes was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice, and sophomore Kevin Keister struck out.

Wake Forest made the Terps pay for the missed opportunity in the fifth. After Dean struck out freshman Tommy Hawke, Bennett smashed a solo homer to right-center. Alleyne attempted to make a leaping catch, but the ball soared over his glove, giving the Demon Deacons a 3-2 advantage.

In the following inning, Wake Forest first baseman Nick Krutz advanced to second on an error by Alleyne before third baseman Brock Wilken belted a two-run homer to left field, extending the Demon Deacons’ lead to 5-2.

McGraw kept Terps’ bats quiet, limiting them to four hits while striking out seven. Once Demon Deacons coach Tom Waller took McGraw out of the game, Maryland’s offense came alive. The Terps one in the seventh, six in the eighth and another run in the ninth.

Petrutz’s homer in the ninth, which gave the Terps a five-run advantage, was the perfect exclamation mark on the afternoon, as they prepare to face the Huskies with the hope of keeping their season alive.