Almost 22 days have elapsed this month and the Maryland baseball team still hasn’t lost in May. The winning streak climbed 10 games Thursday, when the No. 6-seeded Terrapins toppled No. 3 Virginia, 7-6, at the ACC tournament, breaking the program’s single-season record for victories. Behind an uncharacteristic power surge and a typically strong, strikeout-heavy effort from ace pitcher Jake Stinnett, Maryland (35-16) withstood a ninth-inning rally from the Cavaliers and hung on.
In securing Maryland’s first ACC tournament victory since 2005, Stinnett (7-6) mowed down 10 Virginia batters over eight innings, expanding the conference-best strikeout total that catapulted the senior to second team all-ACC honors and has made Stinnett a first-round candidate for June’s MLB draft. Last spring, Stinnett spurned a 29th-round contract from the Pittsburgh Pirates to remain in school for his final season, and should be heavily rewarded for his improvements. He allowed 10 hits to Virginia, ranked No. 3 nationally in the latest Baseball America poll, as his pitch count ballooned but stranded eight and spotted sophomore closer Kevin Mooney a three-run lead for the final frame. Though Mooney surrendered a two-run homer that chopped the final margin and walked the tying run onto the base paths, he earned his 10th save of the season thanks to a snared liner from shortstop Blake Schmit and a strikeout to end the game.
Offensively, first baseman LaMonte Wade crushed two homers, his first two of the season, with the second chasing Cavaliers starter Artie Lewicki (5-2). Center fielder Charlie White led off the afternoon with a solo blast, just his second this season, and catcher Kevin Martis followed suit in the seventh. The last time the Terps hit even three homers in a single game was 2011.
Under second-year Coach John Szefc, the Terps have won 35 games, breaking their previous mark set in 2002. They face Florida State on Friday at 11 a.m. as round-robin pool play continues in Greensboro, N.C. Thursday’s victory all but assures Maryland will reach its first NCAA tournament since 1971.