Bases loaded. No outs. The tying run on second base, the winning run on first.
It’s not exactly an ideal situation for a relief pitcher to close out a game, but that’s exactly what former Terp Adam Kolarek did Thursday.
With his Tampa Bay Rays holding a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees, the left-hander was summoned to do something he had never done in his MLB career: get a save.
Kolarek induced a popout and a pair of strikeouts as the Yankees left the bases loaded in the Bronx, giving him his first career save.
Kolarek needed only nine pitches — seven of them strikes — to retire the side. He never allowed any of the three batters he faced to get to a two-ball count, showing great control under some high-pressure circumstances.
With his save today, Kolarek becomes the eighth Terp to successfully close out a game in MLB. The career leader for saves by a former Maryland player is Brett Cecil, who’s picked up 12 of them over 10 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays.
This was the 23rd big-league game Kolarek had pitched in, and it was almost assuredly the biggest one of his young career.