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Terps

Maryland flattened, 9-1, by West Virginia in NCAA baseball tourney opener

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — West Virginia smacked six home runs, including five off Maryland starter Brian Shaffer, en route to a 9-1 win over the Terps on Friday at David F. Couch Ballpark in the opener of the Winston-Salem regional.

Shaffer was pulled after five innings. He allowed seven runs, all earned, on seven hits while fanning seven and hitting a batter to drop to 7-4 on the season.

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BJ Myers (5-4) pitched 52/3 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win. The righty allowed four hits while striking out one and walking one.

"They scored seven runs in the first five innings," Maryland coach John Szefc said. "We left the bases loaded twice and never recovered from it unfortunately."

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West Virginia (35-24) avenged a regular-season defeat to Maryland, a 7-6 loss on April 11. The Terps drop to 37-22 with the loss and will face the loser of the evening matchup between UMBC and host Wake Forest.

"It is an elimination game," Szefc said of Saturday's game. "The NCAA tournament is all about how much your guys want to keep playing. You've got to flush the bad ones out. That's all you can do."

Maryland had runners reach in each of the first two innings against West Virginia starter Alek Manoah, but the freshman induced double plays in each frame. The Terps were not as lucky.

West Virginia struck first in the second inning. After Cole Austin led off the frame with a double down the left-field line, Kyle Davis crushed a two-run homer over the left-field wall to give the Mountaineers the lead. Two batters later, Jimmy Galusky drilled a solo shot to extend the advantage to 3-0.

The Terps struck back with a run in the third, when Zach Jancarski drove in Madison Nickens with an RBI single. Maryland stranded three runners in the frame, however, as Manoah was able to limit the damage.

It was more of the same in the next inning as Maryland had the bases loaded with one out after a hit batter and two singles.

Myers was able to escape unscathed, but not without some controversy. He drilled Jancarski in the back with a pitch that appeared to drive in a run, but the home plate umpire ruled the batter did not attempt to avoid the ball. Jancarski then flew out to right to end the threat.

"I think it could have gone either way," Jancarski said. "At the end of the day, the guy behind me makes the rules. … There is no sense getting upset about it. He is not going to change his mind."

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Davis then hit another homer in the bottom of the fourth and West Virginia never looked back.

Overall, Maryland finished with 10 runners left on base.

"That was the difference in the game," West Virginia coach Randy Mazey said. "We put them on base, gave them some free bases and then turned some double plays."

The six homers were one shy of a school record for West Virginia and tied its season high. The Mountaineers also slugged six home runs against defending national champion Coastal Carolina in February.

"If our guys are going to continue to play, they have to have a really good effort starting [Saturday]," Szefc said. "Our guys have answered the bell throughout most of the season. I think we will be fine."

robmclamb1973@gmail.com


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