Photo courtesy of UMTerps.com
LOS ANGELES – Freshman RHP Taylor Bloom and junior RHP Kevin Mooney combined to three hit top overall seed UCLA as the Maryland baseball team captured the Los Angles Regional title with a 2-1 victory over the host Bruins Monday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Terrapins (42-22) advanced to their second straight Super Regional and will face Virginia next week in Charlottesville. Junior Anthony Papio and sophomore Nick Cieri nabbed the decisive RBIs for the Terps.
“I’m just really happy for our players, coaches, and support staff,” head coach John Szefc said. “A lot goes into a season, and you hope that at the end of the season you’re in a position like this. Luckily for us this is the second year we’ve been in this position. You don’t take it for granted because it’s so hard to get here. These guys have been tremendous.”
Behind Bloom, the Terps kept the game scoreless with tremendous defense. In the third, junior centerfielder LaMonte Wade cut down Darrell Miller Jr. at the plate when the UCLA catcher tried to score on a potential sac fly.
Maryland took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Junior Kevin Martir drew a one-out walk before Papio slammed a double to right center to score Martir from first.
The Terrapins added another run off UCLA ace James Kaprielian, who had come on in relief for starter Grant Dyer, in the sixth. Sophomore Brandon Lowe drew a one-out walk before Martir singled through the right side to put runners on the corners.
Lowe scored on a subsequent Cieri groundout to put the Terps up 2-0.
Bloom was spectacular in his six innings of work. The freshman gave up one hit and needed just 58 pitches to complete his day.
Mooney entered after the first batter reached in the seventh and worked out of a jam, but not before giving up a run.
The junior worked a clean eighth before running into some trouble in the ninth. Chris Keck drew a two-out walk and was replaced by pinch runner Brett Urabe. Urabe advanced to third on a Kort Peterson single to bring up Miller. Mooney struck out Miller with a brilliant curveball on a 2-2 count to end the game.
Wade was named the Los Angeles Regional’s most outstanding player. Bloom, Papio and Martir were also included on the All-Tournament team.
Maryland’s regional title is its second in school history. The Terps are one of just six teams to advance to the Super Regional round the last two seasons.
The Terps’ 42 wins is a school record. Maryland has won ten of its last 14 postseason games dating back to last season.
Maryland will face Virginia, the champion of the Lake Elsinore Regional, beginning Friday. Game times are TBA.