By Zach Phillips.
Maryland baseball overcame an early deficit Tuesday and held on to beat West Virginia, 7-6, for their 21st win of the season.
Junior Taylor Bloom made his ninth start of the season for the Terps. Bloom pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed three runs. Opposite him, freshman Alek Manoah started for the Mountaineers. It was the second career start for Manoah, who had pitched 11 2/3 innings in 10 previous appearances.
At the beginning of every inning Manoah would stretch, then bow deeply to the leadoff batter. He allowed only one hit in five innings of work.
When Bloom threw out his first pitch, it was a balmy 87 degrees. Second baseman Kyle Gray hit a leadoff single for the Mountaineers, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from centerfielder Brandon White, and again to third on a single from first baseman Jackson Cramer.
The tough start got worse when third baseman Cole Austin rocketed the first pitch he saw over the center field fence for a three-run homer. Bloom then managed to escape the inning without allowing any more baserunners.
In the second, West Virginia catcher Chase Illig attempted to score on a wild pitch from Bloom, but Justin Morris flipped the ball to Bloom to tag Illig out at home.
Bloom sat after 2 1/3 innings, when he was replaced by senior lefty Taylor Stiles. Stiles immediately gave up a homer to Cramer, for West Virginia’s fourth run of the game. Stiles then gave up a deep single to left to Austin, who stole second on Stiles’ next pitch.
Stiles looked better in the fourth and fifth, shutting down West Virginia, then escaping with runners on the corners. Manoah had only allowed a few baserunners through five innings, walking a handful and giving up only one hit.
In the bottom of the sixth, Nick Dunn got the Terps’ second hit of the game with a deep leadoff double off the centerfield wall. Madison Nickens then crushed a two-run homer over the right field wall for the Terps first score.
WVU scored in the seventh on a miscue. A ball overthrown to first allowed Gray to advance to third, where he later scored on a sac fly. Ryan Selmer replaced John Murphy in the second to get two outs.
Jackson Sigman, who replaced Manoah in the seventh, immediately gave up a home run to Dan Maynard.
Later in the seventh, Dunn hit a line drive to right, scoring a run from third. AJ Lee then bunted in another run from third, tying the game up at 5-5.
Sigman was replaced by Braden Zarbnisky, but with the bases loaded, Nickens drove a line drive to left, scoring two runs and giving the Terps their first lead of the game.
Holding a 7-5 lead in the 9th, Selmer walked left fielder TJ Lake to start the inning. He later gave up a single to pinch-hitter Kevin Brophy. He gave up another hit to Jackson Cramer, loading the bases. With one out in the ninth, Cole Austin, who hit the first home run in the first, strode to the plate.
Austin hit a deep fly to right, scoring one run. With runners at the corners and two outs, Maryland held a 7-6 lead. Junior Ryan Hill took over for Selmer, with Darius Hill at the plate. Ryan Hill delivered, striking out Darius Hill to secure the 7-6 victory for the Terps.