COLLEGE PARK, Md. — West Virginia turned a triple play but managed only five hits against Maryland, falling 4-2 on Tuesday for its fourth consecutive loss.
Chasing their first NCAA regional berth since 1996, the Mountaineers (27-21) have hurt themselves with a rough stretch, and the road only gets tougher Thursday with the start of a three-game series at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are 28-4 in Lubbock this season.
Maryland (34-19) won its ninth straight game to close the regular season, bolstering its own NCAA chances heading into the ACC tournament.
“This was a really good win for us and an important win for us for a lot of reasons,” said Terps head coach John Szefc. “(West Virginia) had a 27 RPI coming in. That’s a really good RPI win for us. I’m hopeful that it can potentially get us into the top 30 RPI-wise. When you’re building your resume for the NCAA tournament, those wins are really, really important.”
After starting 6-0 against ACC teams this season—including a 14-2 rout of the Terrapins in Morgantown on April 22— the Mountaineers couldn’t manage much offense in the rematch at Bob “Turtle” Smith Field.
Two line-drive sacrifice flies to left field in the first and third innings by Ryan McBroom put WVU in front 2-1. But the Mountaineers advanced only one runner to second base during the final six innings as Maryland’s bullpen trio of Bobby Ruse (7-2), Ben Brewster and Jake Stinnett proved sturdy.
The five hits matched the second-lowest output for West Virginia this season, though center fielder Bobby Boyd had three hits to raise his Big 12-leading average to .374.
Mountaineers starter Cory Walter (1-5) allowed nine hits and one walk in 4 1/3 innings, tabbed for all four Terps runs (three earned).
His walk opened the door to a two-run bottom of the fourth that put Maryland ahead for good. Kevin Martir had an RBI single to left field before LaMonte Wade executed a safety squeeze to make it 3-2.
Third baseman Michael Constantini’s throwing error allowed Jose Cuas to reach in the fifth. After a sac bunt, Cuas scored from second on a single up the middle by Tim Lewis.
The Terps loaded the bases against reliever Zach Bargeron in the sixth only to see WVU pull off its second triple play of the season.
Brandon Lowe hit a low liner to Constantini, who threw home unaware he had caught the ball on the fly. Catcher Cam O’Brien fired back to third, where Constantini tagged the bag for out No. 2 and threw to second baseman Billy Fleming for the third out.
After Ruse allowed one hit in 2 1/3 innings, Stinnett made his first relief appearance of the season after 13 starts. The right-hander, a 29th-round Pirates pick last year who project as a second-day draft prospect this summer, threw a perfect ninth for his first save.