The Maryland Terrapins baseball team hasn’t appeared in the ACC tournament since 2005 and has made remarkable comebacks all season.
Sunday afternoon wasn’t one of those instances for Maryland. Georgia Tech used a high-powered offense and a stellar bullpen effort to beat the Terps 9-4 in the ACC tournament championship game in Greensboro.
Maryland will leave the ACC without an ACC tournament title since 1971, a drought of 43 years. On the other hand, it was the ninth ACC championship for Georgia Tech.
Maryland starting pitcher Jake Drossner got off to a rough start on Sunday.
Georgia Tech infielder Matt Gonzalez was able to stroke a single to left field and infielder Thomas Smith followed it up with a scorching RBI double to give the Yellow Jackets a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Smith later scored on an first baseman A.J. Murray RBI double to left center field. Drossner left a few balls up in the zone early on and the Yellow Jackets were able to jump on them.
Maryland infielder Blake Schmit connected on a pitch to left field that barely got over the fence to cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning. It was Schmit’s first home run of the 2014 season and got the Maryland offense going.
Trailing 3-1 in the fourth inning, Schmit worked a one-out walk and went from first to third base on a Nick Cieri two-out single. It was an aggressive move that paid off as outfielder Anthony Papio singled Schmit home on a hanging curveball from Yellow Jackets starting pitcher Devin Stanton. Stanton only lasted 3.2 innings in Sunday’s contest.
With the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth inning, Papio had another opportunity to plate a run and he didn’t miss his pitch. The local product singled to center field to score Schmit. Schmit had gotten on base with another walk to begin the inning. Catcher Kevin Martir grounded into a double play on the next at-bat, but a run did score on the play to give the Terps a 4-3 lead.
Terps closer Kevin Mooney has had a great deal of success this season, but had his fair share of struggles on Sunday afternoon. With the game tied at four and a Yellow Jacket runner at second base in the eighth inning, Mooney went to field a bunt and slipped when he bent down to grab it and airmailed the throw to give Georgia Tech a 5-4 lead. Later in the same inning, infielder Connor Justus plated Gonzalez and Murray with a two-run single right up the middle to increase the Yellow Jacket lead.
Georgia Tech tacked on two runs in the ninth inning to close out the Terps.
Maryland’s regular season ends with 36 wins, which is the most in program history. Chances are very good that the Terps will continue playing in regional play in the NCAA tournament.