COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The No. 19 Virginia baseball team took the first game of its series at Maryland Thursday evening with a thrilling 7-6 win over the Terrapins at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium in College Park, Md. Virginia scored three runs in the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie, then held on and turned a double play to end the game and leave the tying run at third base.
Virginia (35-15-1, 17-11 ACC) won its eighth straight game against Maryland (31-23, 9-19) and captured its 14th straight victory in College Park against the Terrapins, dating to the 2002 season.
Reigning ACC Player of the Week Stephen Bruno (R-So., Audubon, N.J.), Derek Fisher (Fr., Rexmont, Pa.) and Brandon Downes (Fr., South Plainfield, N.J.) each had a pair of hits for the Cavaliers.
Kyle Crockett (So., Poquoson, Va.) tossed 1.2 innings of relief to earn the win for Virginia and improve to 4-2 this year. Justin Thompson (Sr., Danville, Va.) picked up the final four outs to notch his 11th save. Virginia starting pitcher Branden Kline (Jr., Frederick, Md.) worked 6.0 innings, giving up three runs (two earned), seven hits and three walks while striking out six.
Virginia’s pitchers had to pitch out of trouble throughout the evening. Maryland put the leadoff batter on base in eight of its nine trips to the plate, but only two of the leadoff baserunners scored.
Maryland starter Brett Harman (6-4) pitched into the eighth inning. He tossed 7.0 innings, giving up five earned runs, seven hits and two walks while fanning five.
After squandering a leadoff triple in the first inning, Maryland scored first with a pair of runs in the second inning. All the damage came after two were out; Jack Cleary walked, and Kyle Convissar followed with a single. Korey Wacker then laced a two-run triple to right field.
Virginia cut into the lead in the fourth inning when Bruno led off with a double to left field, and Fisher followed with a run-scoring single to right.
UVa used a two-out rally to take a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning. Keith Werman (Sr., Vienna, Va.) worked an eight-pitch walk with two outs, and Chris Taylor (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) singled on the next pitch. Branden Cogswell (Fr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) then cranked a single into right field, scoring Werman and moving Taylor to third. In attempting a third-to-first pickoff move, Harman committed a balk which allowed Taylor to cross the plate.
Virginia added a run in the sixth when Jared King (R-Jr., Radford, Va.) ripped a one-out solo home run to left-center field for his fourth blast of the year.
Maryland cut the lead to 4-3 with an unearned run in its half of the sixth. Cleary doubled off the left-center field wall to lead off, and he moved to third when Fisher bobbled the ball before his throw back into the infield. Kline struck out Convissar, but uncorked a wild pitch while facing Wacker to allow Cleary to score.
The Terps tied the game in the seventh inning against Crockett. They again put the leadoff batter on when Jordan Hagel doubled to left field. Tim Kiene grounded to second to move the runner over, and KJ Hockaday singled to center to tie the game.
Virginia immediately responded. Bruno was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Harman was replaced by Wacker, the Terps’ closer. Fisher ripped a single to right to move Bruno to second. One out later, with the runners on the move, Harrington slapped a single through a massive hole on the right side of the infield to score Bruno and advance Fisher to third. Downes then ripped a double into the right-field corner, plating Fisher and putting runners at second and third.
Reliever Michael Boyden got the second out when Nate Irving (Fr., Yonkers, N.Y.) attempted a safety squeeze, but Harrington was thrown out at the plate. Boyden then fired a pitch to the backstop, and pinch hitter Mitchell Shifflett (So., Poquoson, Va.) scampered home for a 7-4 UVa lead.
Maryland shaved a run from the lead in its half of the eighth. After Crockett hit the first two batters with pitches, Wacker bunted them to second and third. Alfredo Rodriguez grounded to third, but Bruno threw out Cleary at the plate. Thompson entered the game and gave up a run-scoring single to Hagel, but rebounded to strike out Kiene on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat.
The Cavaliers survived a harrowing ninth inning to finish off the win. Hockaday led off with a fly ball into short right-center, but a miscommunication between Shifflett and Harrington allowed the ball to drop for a double. Thompson hit pinch hitter Andrew Amaro with the next pitch. Tomo Delp sacrificed the runners to second and third. Cleary beat out an infield single to shortstop to plate Hockaday, but Convissar grounded to Werman, who flipped to Taylor, who rifled a throw to King at first to beat the runner by a step for a double play to finish the 7-6 win.
Game 2 of the series is slated for 6 p.m. Friday, and the series and regular-season finale follows at 1 p.m. Saturday.