Silence. That was the sound at Carolina Stadium all night. Jake Drossner and Tayler Stiles made South Carolina hitters look foolish early, Maryland hitters got big hits all night, and the Terps advanced to the Super Regionals in one of college baseball’s rowdiest venues on Sunday night. After handing South Carolina their first postseason loss in Columbia since 2002 on Saturday, the Terps beat the Gamecocks by a final of 10-1.
South Carolina scored first on the night, as they got to Jake Drossner in the bottom of the first on a Marcus Mooney RBI double. After that, it was all Maryland. South Carolina started their closer Joel Seddon on the mound, and he gave the Gamecocks a gutsy effort, but it was not enough. In the top of the fourth, Blake Schmit gave the Terps a lead with a 2-run single to score Charlie White and LaMonte Wade.
Jake Drossner struggled with command, but South Carolina hitters looked nervous, as they were swinging at balls. Drossner only pitched 3.2 innings, but he also only gave up one run. Tayler Stiles came into the game in relief of Drossner, and, as Maryland pitchers have been doing all weekend, he worked out of a jam to preserve the lead.
LaMonte Wade added to the Maryland lead in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out. Wade beat out a possible double-play ball for an RBI fielder’s choice. Wade’s RBI gave the Terps a 3-1 lead. In the bottom of the frame, Stiles once again stranded a runner in scoring position, as he struck out Grayson Greiner to end another threat.
In the top of the sixth, with runners on first and second, the Gamecocks replaced Seddon with lefty Josh Reagan, who has been one of the best lefties in the country this year. He typically dominates left-handed hitters, but Anthony Papio got to him, as he poked an RBI single into right field to extend the Maryland lead to 4-1. Cody Mincey, another dominating South Carolina reliever, entered the game and walked 9-hitter Kevin Martir on four pitches. Mincey then hit Charlie White to score another Maryland run. The Terps took a 5-1 lead before Vince Fiori finally worked out of the jam for the Gamecocks.
Stiles ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth. Tanner English and Gene Cone hit back-to-back singles to put a runner in scoring position. Bobby Ruse replaced Stiles, and he worked out of yet another jam. In the top of the seventh, Brandon Lowe was plunked to start the inning. After a sac bunt by Jose Cuas, another hit by pitch, and a ground ball by Tim Lewis, the Terps had runners on first and second. Fiori then threw a wild pitch, which scored Lowe, and the Terps took a 6-1 lead.
Ruse held down the Gamecocks in the bottom of the seventh and the bottom of the eighth. South Carolina fans began to head for the exits, and Maryland fans could be heard throughout the ballpark. In the top of the ninth, the wheels fell of the cart for South Carolina. Blake Schmit added to Maryland’s lead by roping a single into left, giving the Terps a 7-1 lead. Tim Lewis then hit a chopper in front of the plate, but South Carolina first baseman Kyle Martin missed first base on the flip to first. Cuas scored on the play. The next batter, Nick Cieri, smoked an RBI double, and the Terps took a 9-1 lead. Hunter Privette then entered the game, and Anthony Papio grounded out, but Maryland added another run. Privette finally got Martir to end the inning, but the Terps scored four runs and took a 10-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Ruse came back out for the bottom of the ninth, and he struck out Gene Cone to start the frame. In a classy move, the South Carolina coaching staff gave seniors Brison Celek and Patrick Harrington at-bats, but Ruse retired both to send the Terps into a frenzy.
Maryland advances to the Super Regionals for the first time, where they will face the winner of the Charlottesville Regional. Currently, Virginia has a lead on Arkansas. The Terps will more than likely face off with their ACC rivals one last time before they leave the conference. This time, the stakes are higher than they have ever been.