Jun 7, 2014; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Maryland Terrapins pitcher Kevin Mooney (33) pitches against the Virginia Cavaliers at Davenport Field. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports
One critical mistake was all it took.
The Maryland baseball team blew a 3-0 lead in a tough 5-3 loss to Virginia on Friday evening.
Virginia scored five runs in the eighth inning in a game that Maryland seemed destined to win. The Cavaliers took a 1-0 lead in the Super Regional series.
In the eighth inning, Shawaryn was nearly at his pitch limit and allowed shortstop Daniel Pinero and catcher Matt Thaiss to single in back-to-back at-bats with one out. Closer Kevin Mooney came in and surrendered a pair of runs on RBI singles from third baseman Kenny Towns and first baseman Pavin Smith. Both runs were charged to Shawaryn.
Later in the inning, Virginia had the bases loaded and left fielder Kevin Doherty cleared the bases on a double that just out of the reach of Wade. Doherty’s knock gave the Cavaliers a 5-3 lead and highlighted a horrific inning from Mooney.
It was one of the tougher innings of Mooney’s career.
Prior to the fifth inning, Maryland only had registered one hit, which was on a two-out single by second baseman Brandon Lowe.
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However, in the fifth inning, the Terps got it done with small ball. Designated hitter Nick Cieri began the frame with a walk and right fielder Anthony Papio moved Cieri up to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Third baseman Jose Cuas, who has struggled recently, worked a very good at-bat against starter Connor Jones and also walked to put runners at first and third base with just one out.
With two outs in the inning, first baseman Kevin Biondic was able to work the third walk of the frame. With the bases loaded, center fielder LaMonte Wade hit a sinking line drive to fellow center fielder Adam Haseley, but Haseley dropped the ball as he attempted to make a sliding catch. Wade’s blooper plated a pair of runs to give Maryland a 2-0 lead.
In the seventh inning, the Terps appeared to have added some insurance. Cuas led off the inning with a double to right field. Left fielder Tim Lewis was able to move Cuas over to third base on a sacrifice bunt. Biondic followed that up with one of coach John Szefc’s specialties, the suicide squeeze. Biondic placed it down perfectly to give Maryland a 3-0 lead.
Shawaryn had a strong outing in which he surrendered two runs and seven hits while striking out five batters. The New Jersey native battled his way out of several jams throughout the afternoon. He did put the two runners on base that Mooney inherited.
Maryland is back on the diamond at 3 p.m. on Saturday for Game 2.
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