Maryland defeats UConn Baseball to force win-win game in regional final
Despite battling back to multiple deficits twice in the second half of Sunday’s regional final, UConn baseball ultimately fell 7-6 in extra innings against Maryland, setting up a spectacular game for the winner Monday.
“I don’t know how anyone could walk out of this game and not be a baseball fan,” head coach Jim Penders said. “Every pitch meant something, high drama, high stakes, and our young guys came out and fought.”
Maryland starter Nick Robinson kept the UConn roster in check for the first five innings as the Huskies simply couldn’t deliver with runners on base. They failed five times in the first five innings and went just 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
The Terrapins took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, getting hard contact with UConn starter Enzo Stefanoni with a single, a double and a three-run homer.
But with their backs to the wall, after failing all game, the Huskies offense responded with a four-run sixth inning. Ben Huber and Casey Dana received free bases to start the inning, then Matt Donlan kicked the score with a sacrifice fly. RBI singles from Korey Morton and TC Simmons added two more and David Smith capped off the comeback with an RBI grounder.
Maryland regained the upper hand with a pair of runs late in the seventh inning, but UConn fought back again with a triple RBI from Smith, who scored from third on a passed fly to tie it at 6.
The two teams fought tooth and nail in extra innings, with UConn reliever Devon Kirby giving a stellar performance with 4.1 innings and allowing just one earned run and striking out a season-high six batters. . Maryland emptied its bullpen, using Friday starter Ryan Ramsey to help keep the Huskies at bay in the extra innings.
UConn is now heading to a showdown with Maryland on Monday night in a knockout game for a super regional berth against Stanford or Texas State.