In the beginning of the week, I said that it would be crucial for Maryland to win both games that Jake Stinnett and Mike Shawaryn pitched. The Terps beat Old Dominion on Friday with Stinnett on the bump. Today, the Terps also pulled through with Shawaryn on the mound, defeating regional-host South Carolina by a score of 4-3.
Mike Shawaryn silenced a large and rowdy South Carolina crowd for most of the night. The freshman looked calm, as he dominated the Gamecocks through 3 innings. Maryland’s offense also gave Shawaryn a lead. Maryland was the home team due to a coin flip, so Charlie White started off the bottom of the first with a double, and Brandon Lowe smacked an RBI single to give the Terps an early 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, LaMonte Wade quieted the Carolina Stadium faithful, as he drilled a RBI double to give Maryland a 2-0 advantage. The next batter, Brandon Lowe, then hit a grounder to third, but an error by Joey Pankake led to two more Maryland runs. After two innings, the Terps held a 4-0 lead.
The Gamecocks finally got to Shawaryn in the fourth. After a single and a throwing error by catcher Kevin Martir, DC Arendas singled in South Carolina’s first run. However, Shawaryn worked out of the inning, and the Terps still held a 4-1 lead.
The game got very interesting in the sixth inning. Kyle Martin very nearly took Shawaryn deep, which would have tied the game, but he settled for a RBI double instead. A sac fly then cut the Maryland lead to 4-3. The Gamecocks were back in the ballgame, and so was the crowd. Shawaryn hit the 100 pitch mark in the seventh inning, but he recorded a quick out. After getting ahead of 9-hitter Tanner English, Shawaryn hit him, and English stole second base to put the tying run in scoring position. After walking a batter, Shawaryn was yanked. He threw a solid 6.1 innings of 3-run ball, but Carolina was threatening.
Bobby Ruse, the man with the best mustache in college baseball, entered the game, and he worked out of the jam. Ruse induced a line out and a ground out to end the inning, and the Terps clung to the 4-3 lead.
Maryland went quietly in the bottom of the seventh, but South Carolina put the tying run on second with one out. Closer Kevin Mooney replaced Ruse, and Mooney worked out of yet another jam, getting Gene Cone to strike out to end the frame.
Mooney came back out for the ninth inning, and English singled to start the frame. After a strikeout, Max Schrock hit a blooper that appeared to be an easy out. However, English was running on the pitch, and Maryland shortstop Blake Schmit was covering second, so the ball fell in for a single. The Gamecocks were once again rallying; they had runner on the corners with one out. However, Mooney, as he has many times this season, buckled down. He got Pankake to ground into a 4-6-3 double play, which sealed the ballgame for the Terps.
South Carolina lost on their home field for the first time in postseason play since 2002. Maryland is now one win away from advancing to the Super Regionals. The Terps play the winner of tomorrow’s South Carolina-Campell game at 7:00. Jake Drossner will most likely start on the mound. If Maryland loses, there will be a winner-take-all game on Monday.