COLLEGE PARK – The Maryland Terrapins baseball team is moving on in the NCAA Tournament while making history on the way.
The Terrapins (39-21) beat a perennial power, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks (44-18), 10-1 Sunday night to advance to the first Super Regional in school history. The Terrapins swept all three games in their region. Entering this season the Terrapins had only one win in three all-time NCAA Tournament appearances.
"Obviously, this is a pretty incredible night for our program, our athletic department and I think the state of Maryland in general,” said head coach John Szefc. “I am very, very happy for our coaching staff and our players. These guys work very, very hard to get to this point.
South Carolina took the lead in the bottom of the first with a two-out RBI double from Kyle Martin.
Maryland came back and took the lead in the fourth inning when shortstop Blake Schmit hit a two-out, two-run single off South Carolina starting pitcher Joel Seddon.
“”I got down early 0-2,” said Schmit. “I was just trying to put the ball in play and make them make a play. He left a slider over the plate and I got enough barrel on it to get through the left side of the infield. That was probably one of the big turning points of the game right there.”
Maryland would continue the scoring with another run in the fifth, two more in the sixth, a run in the seventh and four more in the ninth.
Schmit finished the game 2-3 with three RBIs. Rightfielder Anthony Papio went 2-5 and drove in two runs. In total seven Terrapins scored a run and six players drove in a run. Eight different players got at least one base hit.
“We have some tough kids. Over the last 40 percent of the season, they have showed some things that I have rarely seen in college baseball in 24 years,” Szefc said.
“It is just a great feeling to be a part of a team setting all these records,” said Kevin Mooney, a sophomore pitcher. “It is nice to shake things up.”
Maryland travels to Charlottesville to take on Athletic Coast Conference rival University of Virginia in the Super Regionals on Saturday. Mooney said the team will have extra motivation to beat Virginia since next season Maryland will compete in the Big 10 Conference.
“We are not leaving (the ACC) without a bang,” Mooney said. “I have never seen a group of guys click like we have.”