|Maryland topped UCLA to advance to the Super Regional (photo / umterps.com)|
At UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles, the Terps beat the #1-ranked Bruins, 2-1, on Monday night to advance to the NCAA's Super Regional round. Their opponent will be a familiar one in the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Last year the Cavs ousted the Terps in a best-of-three Super Regional series to advance ultimately to a narrow loss to Vanderbilt in the national championship game.
The Terps' freshman right-hander Taylor Bloom laid firm claim to the elusive "clutch" label through six innings of commanding starting pitching for Maryland (42-22). The Crofton native and Riverdale Baptist grad struck out two and was effective with a change-up that ran down and away from UCLA's left-handed batters.
As clocks passed 2:00 AM on the far side of the continent in the Terps' hometown of College Park, Kevin Mooney notched his 11th save of the season after three outstanding innings of relief. In the ninth, the righty from North Harford dropped a sharp 2-2 curveball over the plate to freeze Bruin (45-16) catcher Darrell Miller, Jr. with UCLA baserunners on the corners.
In the opposite dugout, Maryland catcher Kevin Martir was 3-3 on the evening to lead the Terrapins offensively.
Maryland is scheduled to face their former ACC conference foe Virginia (37-22) at Charlottesville on Friday at 4:00 PM to open the series. That game will be followed by a 3:00 PM start on Saturday and if necessary a third game on Sunday at 3:00 PM. All three will be broadcast locally in Baltimore on ESPNU.
Maryland head coach John Szefc, who's led the Terps to back-to-back single season victory records, was asked after the game about the upcoming rematch with the Cavs.
“That’s the place where we wanted to be. On selection Monday when we saw that UVa was there and we might be paired up with them at some point, we knew we had some unfinished business to take care of there. Last year it was a great series, and this year is going to be the same thing. It’s going to be a dogfight all the way to the end. That’s really what we wanted," said Szefc.