Maryland catcher Kevin Martir was a team high 3-for-3 on Monday evening. (Mandatory Credit: Maryland Athletics)
In a winner-take-all game, Maryland baseball used opportune pitching and timely hitting.
The Terrapins topped UCLA 2-1 in a close matchup to advance. With the win, Maryland moves on to the Super Regional where they will face another No. 3 seed in Virginia.
Catcher Kevin Martir was the catalyst for the Maryland offense all game as the Brooklyn native went 3-for-3 with a run scored.
Early on, the story was Maryland starter Taylor Bloom. The freshman ended up having a sensational evening as he tossed six innings, allowing only one run (on a walk) and striking out two Bruins.
After a pair of hitless frames, Bloom got into a little bit of hot water in the third inning. Catcher Darrell Miller Jr. reached first base on a fielding error by third baseman Jose Cuas. Center fielder Christoph Bono moved Miller up to second base on a sacrifice base and Miller later headed over to third base after a ball got away from Martir.
However, second baseman Trent Chatterton hit a fly ball to center fielder LaMonte Wade with one out and Wade made the catch. On the play, Miller attempted to tag up from third base, but was gunned down on a great outfield assist from Wade and a great job blocking home plate by Martir. The double play got Bloom out of the inning with no damage.
Wade’s play has been sensational during the Regional round as he’s thrown out multiple runners at the plate. He also made a sensational leaping grab at the fence, taking a home run away from Ole Miss’ Sikes Orvis last Friday.
Maryland’s offense has gotten behind early on at times in the Regionals, but that wasn’t the case on Monday evening.
After second baseman Brandon Lowe struck out to begin the fourth inning, Martir drew a one-out walk off starter Grant Dyer. Designated hitter Nick Cieri lifted a fly ball to center field, but it was caught. With two outs on the scoreboard, right fielder Anthony Papio drove one off the wall to bring Martir around to score to give Maryland a 1-0 lead.
It was Papio’s 16th extra base hit of the season, which is third on the team.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead, Maryland made their move in the sixth inning. After shortstop Kevin Smith flied out to lead off the frame, Lowe worked a walk. Martir, who went 3-for-3 on the evening, singled through the left side of the infield to put runners at first and third base with just one out.
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As Cieri batted, pitcher James Kaprielian threw a wild pitch, which allowed Martir to move up to second base. Later in the at-bat, Cieri grounded out to second base but it was enough to score Lowe from third base, giving Maryland a 2-0 lead and a little insurance.
Bloom was absolutely dealing in this game. Through six innings, the Crofton native only allowed one hit on just 52 pitches. In the sixth inning, Bloom walked left fielder Ty Moore to lead off the frame and closer Kevin Mooney came in to try to minimize the UCLA damage. After first baseman Luke Persico flew out, third baseman Chris Keck reached on Lowe’s second error of the night to put runners at first and second base. Right fielder Kort Peterson came up and put the Bruins on the board as he plated Moore to put the Maryland lead to 2-1.
However, with two runners on base and only one out, Mooney found his closer’s mentality. The Forest Hill (Md.) native struck out back-to-back Bruins to end the inning with the Terp lead still entact.
In the ninth inning, Mooney did walk Keck and yielded a single to Peterson, but was able to escape any further damage.
Maryland will now travel to Charlottesville for a weekend series with the Cavaliers in the Super Regionals. The Terps will look to exact last season’s demons as Maryland was eliminated by Virginia in the Super Regional round. The Terpd did beat the Cavaliers in the Game 1 of the series a year ago.
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