College Park, MD -
Chad Durakis' walkoff double in the ninth inning lifted Maryland to a 4-3 victory over #6 Clemson on Friday night in front of 368 fans at Shipley Field. The Tigers had trailed 3-0 after eight innings before they scored three runs in the ninth. The Terrapins, who took a 1-0 series lead, improved to 15-7 overall and 4-3 in the ACC. The Tigers fell to 14-6 overall and 3-1 in league play.
The loss snapped Clemson's 16-game winning streak in ACC regular-season games dating back to 2006 and the Tigers' 10-game winning streak over Maryland dating back to 2003.
Despite allowing the three runs in the ninth inning, Brett Cecil (3-2) picked up the win. Lefty starter Casey Baron pitched 8.0 superb innings, allowing only four hits, no runs, and one walk with a career-high seven strikeouts in throwing 121 pitches.
Reliever Matt Zoltak (0-1) suffered the loss for the Tigers despite allowing only one of the four batters he faced to reach base. Alan Farina struck out eight batters in 4.0 innings pitched in relief. The righthander also allowed two hits, no runs, and no walks to keep Clemson within striking distance. Four Tiger pitchers combined to strike out 15 Terrapins on the night.
Maryland threatened to jump out to a lead in the first inning, but P.J. Zocchi worked out of a bases-loaded jam. Joe Palumbo led off with a single up the middle. Two batters later, A.J. Casario bounced a single just over the glove of Andy D'Alessio, who was holding Palumbo at first. After Dan Melvin walked to load the bases, Gerry Spessard struck out looking for out #2. Chad Durakis then belted a ball into the gap in right-center, but centerfielder Brad Chalk made a running catch to preserve at least two runs.
The Terrapins used more well-placed hits in the second inning to take the lead. Ground-ball singles up the middle with one out by Dan Benick and Steve Braun allowed Palumbo to single home Benick on another single up the middle. Through Palumbo's at-bat, all five of the Terrapin balls hit on the ground found holes for singles. Mike Murphy walked to load the bases, but Zocchi got out of the bases-loaded jam again with back-to-back strikeouts of Casario and Melvin.
Maryland kept the heat on in the third inning, scoring two more runs to take a 3-0 lead. One-out, line-drive singles by Durakis and Will Greenberg put runners at first and second. After Benick flied out for out #2 and Braun walked to load the bases, Palumbo drew another walk on a 3-2 pitch that Zocchi just missed low to plate Durakis. Murphy then hit an infield single off the glove of Zocchi to score Greenberg. It was the Terrapins' sixth-straight ground ball that went for a hit. Zocchi struck out Casario for the inning-ending out, as Maryland stranded nine runners on base through three innings.
After five scoreless innings, the Tigers rallied in the ninth inning off Cecil to tie the scocre. Taylor Harbin led off with a single through the left side and Andy D'Alessio laced a single up the middle. Doug Hogan's soft single through the right side scored Harbin. Marquez Smith's sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base, then Alex Burg grounded a single up the middle to score Harbin and Hogan. Centerfielder Nick Jowers' throw to home went to the backstop, allowing Burg to advance to second on the error. But Cecil struck out Addison Johnson and pinch-hitter Ben Paulsen to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Melvin led off with a walk on four pitches. Daniel Moskos then entered the game in relief of Zoltak. Spessard's sacrifice bunt moved Melvin to second, then Durakis lifted a fly ball in the gap in right-center. Rightfielder D.J. Mitchell broke back and to his right, but after running towards the gap, the wind, which was blowing in hard from right, knocked down the ball. As Mitchell tried to re-adjust and come in, he slipped on the wet grass and could not come up with the ball while stretched out on his stomach. Melvin scored easily from second base on Durakis' double, the only extra-base hit of the game. It was also the Terrapins' first and only hit after they totaled 10 singles in the first five innings.
Maryland, who had 11 hits, was paced at the plate by Palumbo, who had three hits, a walk, and two RBIs. Burg had a team-high two hits and two RBIs to lead Clemson's eight-hit attack. Chalk's 11-game hitting streak came to an end, as he was 0-for-3. He did reach on a hit-by-pitch, extending his streak of reaching base by a hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch to 47 games dating back to 2006.
Clemson and Maryland will play game-two of the series on Saturday at 1:00 PM.