CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Junior Charlie White went 3-for-5 with two runs and made a potential game-changing catch in the first inning to lead the Maryland baseball team to a 5-4 victory over Virginia in the first game of the NCAA Super Regional in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday.
The Terps (40-21) have an opportunity to clinch their first trip to the College World Series in program history tomorrow as they take on the Cavaliers at noon on ESPN2. Maryland claimed its 40th victory of the season in the win, as Jake Stinnett allowed just two earned runs in six innings of work.
“I’m very happy for our guys and everyone who works for our program to be able to come in here and play the way we did against a very good team in a tough environment,” said head coach John Szefc. “We felt we did a really good job offensively early on to get their starter out. He’s obviously one of the better left-handed pitchers in the country and I know he’s had a lot of
success here this season.”
Maryland jumped on All-American pitcher Nathan Kirby in the top of the first, as White hit a leadoff double to left field and then advanced to third on a LaMonte Wade sacrifice bunt. Redshirt freshman Brandon Lowe then hit a grounder to shortstop to score White and put Maryland ahead, 1-0.
Virginia answered with a run in the bottom of the first and threatened for more with the bases loaded and only one out, but White made an incredible sprawling catch in center field to limit the damage. White sprang to his feet and found the relay man, Blake Schmit, who fired home in time for the inning-ending double play.
“That inning was Charlie White’s inning,” said Szefc. “First, he got us going offensively. But that catch is as good as hitting a double with the bases loaded because he took two runs off the board. That may not show up on his offensive statistics, but everybody in that dugout knows how important that was. To get out of that inning and to minimize the damage as much as we did was crucial.”
The Cavaliers took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the third as Mike Papi hit a two-out single and made his way to third after a stolen base and a throwing error. Papi then scored after Wade had trouble scooping an errant throw by Jose Cuas at first base.
Maryland retook the lead in the fourth, however, scoring three runs to open a 4-2 advantage. Cuas and Schmit used a pair of hits to begin the inning, before Tim Lewis knocked in Cuas with a single through the right side. The Terps then utilized a suicide squeeze to score Schmit after Kyle Convissar laid down a textbook bunt. Anthony Papio then completed the scoring with a double to left center field to score Lewis. Kirby left the game after pitching 4-2/3 innings – his shortest outing of the season.
White was the catalyst for another Terrapin run in the fifth after singling through the right side and advancing to third on a passed ball and sacrifice bunt. Lowe then knocked in White for his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Virginia cut its deficit to two, 5-3, in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly to right field by Branden Cogswell. The hosts then added another run in the eighth on Papi’s third hit of the day which scored Daniel Pinero.
Closer Kevin Mooney closed the door on the Cavaliers, however, fighting through 1-1/3 innings of work to earn his 13th save of the season – tying a program record. Bobby Ruse, who entered in the seventh in relief of Stinnett, also tied the program single-season record for appearances (30). Both tied former Terp Brett Cecil in their respective categories.