Sean Merriman, web editor, June 2, 2015

Former Maryland football standout Shawne Merriman saw the smiles and heard the ?Lights Out? cheers as he walked by the field, on his way to deliver a pregame speech to the Terrapins? baseball team.

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Merriman had a front row seat to see Maryland capture the Los Angeles Regional title with a 2-1 win over No. 1 overall seed UCLA on Monday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The former Terp was asked by his agent Ryan Hayden, a Maryland grad himself, if he wanted to attend the game with him.

?He said, ?Let?s go to the game,? and I was all in,? Merriman said.

The former All-Pro linebacker brought his ?fired up? attitude that Maryland fans learned to love so much during his time in College Park. When he was asked to give a speech to the team, Merriman jumped at the opportunity to do so.

?I told them that it?s win or go home, and they need to embrace this opportunity and take care of business,? Merriman said. ?The last time I spoke to a Maryland team before a game was at this year?s Maryland-Penn State football game, and we won that game too.?

Of course, this speech was different. But the result was much the same - a Maryland victory. With the win, the Terps will play in the Charlottesville Super Regional vs. longtime ACC rival Virginia for the second time in as many seasons.

?It?s huge; it shows we?re on the uprise,? said Maryland freshman pitcher Taylor Bloom, who gave up just one hit in six scoreless innings on Monday. ?Last year and now this year, it shows that Maryland baseball is up and coming.?

One of the things that impressed Merriman the most during his time speaking with the team and watching them interact with one another before and during the game was how confident the Terps were, despite being in a winner-take-all nail-biter.

?I was sitting right next to the dugout, and I could see and hear them talking, remaining calm and humble but also confident that they were going to get it done,? Merriman said. ?When you think about a true team, in any sport, they?re it.

?Baseball and football have some similarities, but they are so different in the sense that baseball is such a mental game. If you?re having a bad game in football, you can go out there and let out some aggression. That?s not the case in baseball. It?s all about mental toughness.?

As great of a team effort as Maryland?s victory was, there was one play, in particular, that really stood out to Merriman.

With the game scoreless in the top of the third inning, UCLA attempted to score on a fly to center. However, Maryland junior centerfielder LaMonte Wade made the catch and delivered a perfect throw to cut down Darrell Miller Jr. at the plate.

Like most every baseball fan who saw the play, Merriman liked the highlight, so much so that he retweeted @NCAACWS' tweet and provided his stamp of approval, commenting "#LightsOut play.?

?I was right there, and I knew when he threw it, that guy was gonna be out.? Merriman said. ?That was amazing.?

Maryland coach John Szefc was asked about the incredible play following the game. ?The big question mark amongst the pro people at the beginning of this year was his defense,? Szefc said. ?He?s shown people he can play center field at a high level and a pro level.?

It turns out Merriman wasn?t the only celebrity at the game. Sitting across the diamond was former Bruin and NBA great Reggie Miller, whose nephew, the aforementioned Darrell Miller Jr., is UCLA's catcher.

Asked if he had the chance to speak to Miller following the game, Merriman was quick to reply.

?We made eye contact, but no, I didn?t get a chance to talk to him. Something tells me he didn?t want to talk to me after that game.?

Maryland will face Virginia in a best-of-three series, which starts at 4 p.m. ET Friday.

?It?s so hard when they get this far, but just being around them, I know they can win this,? Merriman said. ?It?s win or go home. This team is here to win.?