The 16th-ranked Terps shelled West Virginia for seven runs in the fourth inning in extending their home winning streak to a dozen in a 12-7 victory in College Park on Tuesday. The teams played without electricity for the first three innings as the Washington, D.C. area experienced a blackout after an explosion caused a fire in a southern Maryland substation. That seemed to heat up the Mountaineers early, WVU taking a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth.
But as the lights came to life, so did Maryland as it pounded out eight hits – including three straight singles to open the frame and three straight doubles with one out – to seemingly put the game out of reach at 8-3. The big blow came when Brad Johnson misplayed a single to left field that turned into a two-base, two-run error to jumpstart the rally. Kevin Martir, who went 3-for-4 with two extra base hits and four RBI, then started the doubles parade with a two-RBI shot to left for a 6-3 lead. Martir scored a play later for the seventh run, and a third straight double polished it off at 8-3.
WVU would slowly chip away, getting within 9-7 in the seventh inning, only to see the Terps (23-7) add three runs in the eighth to win their fifth in a row while sending West Virginia (18-12) to just its second loss in the last 11 games. Maryland out-hit WVU 14 to 10 and had no errors against two for the Mountaineers, who rate just seventh in the nine-team Big 12 in fielding percentage.
Starter Shane Ennis (1-1) was effective early, holding the powerful UM line-up to a single run the first time through an order that leads the Big 10 in homers with 30. But the preseason league favorites kicked in the offense in the fourth inning to chase Ennis after just 3.1 innings pitched as the freshman took the loss. Ennis was tagged for five runs on five hits overall as UM began a hit parade that would see them amass nine extra base hits with three homers and a whopping six doubles. It didn’t much matter who head coach Randy Mazey inserted, as UM got to Jeff Hardy for three runs over the next 1.2 innings. Three other relievers each gave up at least one run and one extra base hit as the Mountaineers allowed a dozen runs for just the fourth time under Mazey.
Taylor Munden put West Virginia head 1-0 in the first inning with his eighth homer of the year, and his third from the leadoff spot this season. The Mountaineers added another run in the third inning when Shaun Wood singled home Justin Fox after his two-out double, and WVU seemed primed for more when Johnson walked for a second straight at-bat. But Kyle Davis, who hit into an inning-ending double play in the 1st, stuck out as the lead stayed at 2-0. Kevin Smith’s solo homer to center in the bottom half cut the edge to 2-1.
Um starter Bobby Ruse immediately got in trouble again in the third inning, allowing a double to Jackson Cramer before throwing a wild pitch and allowing a walk to put runners at the corners with one out. That ended his start, Ruse exiting after 3.1 innings pitched with four hits, five strikeouts and three walks. He would be tagged with a third earned run when Munden slapped a full count fastball from reliever Ryan Selmer (3-0) into center to score Cramer for the 3-1 WVU lead to end the fourth inning. Maryland tied the game in the bottom half when it led off with a pair of singles before Johnson misplayed the single to left field that scored two. Wade then scored on a sac fly to right to give the Terps a 4-3 lead and hand Selmer the win despite just 1.2 innings pitched.
UM added two more runs on Martir’s double over Johnson’s head; Martir then scored on double to the wall, this time to right field, blowing the game open at 7-3. Hardy then gave up his third consecutive two-bagger for yet another run as Maryland batted around in the inning to go ahead 8-3 with the seven runs. The Mountaineers trimmed the deficit to 8-4 in the sixth inning off Wood’s sac fly to left to score KC Huth, and continued to whittle the lead down with three more runs in the seventh inning, two on Cam O’Brien’s two-run homer to right center to get within 9-7.
The top five in Maryland’s order finished with multi-hit games, with Martir and rightfielder Anthony Papio with three each. Leadoff hitter Brandon Lowe went 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Munde, Fox and Wood all collected two hits each at the top of the line-up, with Munden and Wood recording two RBI.
Ennis had a 0.69 ERA in eight appearances entering and had struck out seven in 13 innings with foes hitting just .167. entering. But he couldn’t do much against a Maryland offense that leads the Big 10 in on base percentage, slugging percentage and homers. The Terps, 18th in the RPI compared to WVU’s 45, came off a three-game sweep of then-No. 18 Nebraska and were ranked as high as 11th this season. UM now leads the all-time series 38-23-1.
West Virginia plays its first true home game of the year at the new Mon County Ballpark on Friday at 6 p.m. against Butler. That opens a three-game series, the weekend contests being played at 4 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.