Junior right-hander Pete Sinopoli shut down Catholic's mighty bats and Maryland took advantage of erratic Cardinal pitching and error-prone defense to stop CU's 10-game baseball winning steak, 4-1, yesterday at Shipley Field in College Park.
Sinopoli, a junior transfer from Middle Tennessee State, baffled the Cardinals with off-speed pitches to raise his record to 4-2. But the graduate of Montgomery County's Northwood High School did not think he threw particularly well.
"I wasn't strong all day," Sinopoli said. "With only three days rest instead of my usual four, I had to try and stay ahead of the batters with control more than power. Luckily, my slider and changeup were working."
Catholic hitters managed to reach the outfield only twice in the final five innings against the right-hander, who struck out seven while walking only two in his fifth complete game.
CU's leading hitters, Steve Conroy (.359), Alfredo Perez (.370) and Ralph Buonomo (.327), went a collective two for 11. Catholic (10-8) had averaged 10 hits and six runs during its steak, but yesterday the Cardinals hit safely only a half-dozen times.
Sinopoli, who watched eight unearned runs across the plate in his first three decisions, lowered his earned-run average to 1.81.
The Terps took advantage of CU pitcher John Sieve's wildness to grab a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Sieve walked Billy Owens and Neal Herrick. After Owens took third on an infield out, Sieve unleashed the first of three Cardinal wild pitches.
In the bottom of the fourth, third baseman Ownes again walked to lead off, went to second on John Brisee's single to center and scored on Herrick's single for a 2-0 Terp lead.
Terp center fielder Mark Poehlman (.283) hit a 1-0 pitch over the 320-foot mark in left for a homer in the fifth and Maryland scored again in the sixth on two Cardinal errors, a fielder's choice and a wild pitch.
CU first baseman Eric Becraft hit his first homer of the season in the sixth to kill Sinopoli's bid for a shutout.
"Becraft hit a fast ball that was right on the gut," Sinopoli said. "I had been showing them the fast ball on first pitches, but mostly giving them off-speed stuff, since they're such a good fast-ball hitting team. Becraft got ahead of me, 3-1; those were the only instances they got to me."
Mike Howell allowed only four hits in eight innings and slammed three home runs to give George Washington an 8-6 victory over host American. Howell was relieved by Dennis Minogue after putting the first three batters on base in the ninth. CAPTION: Picture, Catholic U. teammates congratulate Eric Becraft after his solo home run in sixth inning of loss to Maryland. By Elisworth Davis - The Washington Post