The Terrapins' 2014 home baseball season seemingly had an inauspicious beginning. Tuesday's game against Rider had to be rescheduled due to field conditions and Friday's game versus Bryant was cancelled for the same reason.
The first game of today's doubleheader featured a pair of aces, Craig Schlitter for the Bryant Bulldogs and Jake Stinnett for the Terps. Schlitter was 10-4 last year with a 2.58 ERA, while Stinnett was the hard-luck loser against Florida in the season opener. This had all the makings of a classic pitchers' duel, which is exactly what transpired.
Maryland jumps on top
Stinnett had a 1-2-3 first inning with two Ks, but Maryland also went down in order in the bottom half of the inning. In the second inning Stinnet remained sharp, retiring the side again with two more strike outs. In the Terps' half of the second Kevin Martir hit a hard grounder down the line that was gloved by the third baseman, whose throw drew the first baseman off the bag. Tim Lewis came in to run for Martir who was hurt on a foul tip in the top of the inning. Schmit then (no surprise) bunted Lewis over to second. Papio continued his hot hitting, lining a single that scored Lewis. Papio was thrown out on a delayed steal and Rescigno struck out. After two the Terps led 1-0.
Nick Cieri replaced Martir at catcher to start off the third. Again a 1-2-3 inning but with "only" one strikeout. Through three Stinnett had mowed down nine straight batters, five on strikes. Schlitter was almost as good as he retired the side in order in the third.
After inducing three grounders, Stinnett was perfect through four. His fastball looked sharp and he was throwing some nasty off-speed pitches. Schlitter followed suit by getting three straight fly outs.
Stinnett looked fabulous but again didn't get support
Stinnett sandwiched two strike outs around a ground out in the fifth. At that point he was pitching a perfect game. In fact, only one Bryant batter had hit a ball out of the infield. Schmit legged out an infield hit to start of the Terps' half of the inning. Papio (who was batting .667 for the season and had the Terps' only solid hit so far today) squared to bunt and was plunked by an errant pitch. Rescigno of course was instructed to bunt. Schlitter misplayed the ball and the Terps had the bases loaded with none out. Cuas struck out, as did Amaro. Charlie White grounded out to second and a great opportunity to break open the game was lost.
In the sixth Stinnett struck out the side, but on the third strikeout the ball sailed and the runner made it to first: Bryant had its first base runner. A wild pitch from Stinnet got the runner over to second. After falling behind 3-0 on lead-off hitter Jordan Mountford, Stinnett ended up striking him out. It was Bryant's last time with a runner in scoring position.
Kyle Wilcox came on for Schlitter in the sixth, most likely because the latter was on an opening game pitch count. Schlitter's line was five innings, two hits, one earned run, four strike outs, and no walks. Wilcox promptly retired the Terps in order.
The no-hitter is lost but the game is won
A. J. Zarozny started the seventh by rocketing a shot to deep center field where Charlie White made a circus grab. Anderson followed with a sharp single that Schmit slightly bobbled and Bryant had their first base hit. Mullen went down swinging for Stinnett's 11th strike out and Rinn grounded out. The Terps got two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh. Schmit was hit by a pitch and Papio sacrificed him to second. Rescigno was also hit by a pitch, then Cuas hit a potential inning-ending double play grounder, but he beat the throw to first. Wilcox balked which scored Schmit and sent Cuas to second. Amaro then singled to second and the Terps led 3-0 after seven.
Stinnet retired the side in the eight. In the ninth Ben Brewster came on to pitch. The lefty got three quick outs and the Terps won 3 - 0. Stinnett went eight innings, striking out 11 with no walks, and gave up only one hit: he is now 1-1 on the season. Brewster picked up his first career save. Schlitter was the hard luck loser this time.
Game 2 had freshman Mike Shawaryn seeking his second straight win against Bryant's junior right hander Kevin McAvoy (7-3, 3.83 in 2013). McAvoy was the NEC rookie of the year in 2012 and has been a weekend starter his first two seasons. He has a fastball in the low 9’s with a good sinker.
After giving up a lead-off double to start the game, Shawaryn struck out two of the next three hitters on of-speed pitches, stranding the runner. The Bulldogs went down in order in the second. Unfortunately, McAvoy also started off strong, allowing only one hit through the first two innings and inducing four grounders.
Bryant hit the ball hard in the third but came up empty. In Maryland’s half Amaro led off with a ground out. White was HBP and stole second. It was his first stolen base of the year and tied Maryland’s career high of 62 (Larry Long and Alfredo Rodriguez). White went to third on Lowe’s grounder. On an 0-2 count to LaMont Wade McAvoy uncorked a wild pitch and White just beat the catcher’s throw back to pitcher. The Terps led 1 – 0.
Carl Anderson started Bryant’s fourth with a sharp single through the middle. Mullin lined out to left. Anderson went to third on an errant pick-off throw from Shawaryn. Rinn grounded back to Shawaryn and Albanese walked, but Bingel struck out swinging to end the threat.
Terps chase McAvoy in the fourth
Meanwhile Bryant’s McAvoy had his sinker working and Maryland hitters kept pounding his pitches into ground outs. But his command began to wane in the fourth. With one out Schmit hit a sharp single just underneath the second baseman’s dive. Schmit stole second and Cieri walked. Michael Montville hit a single to left and the bases were loaded. McAvoy hit Cuas on the thigh and a run scored. Amaro blooped a single to left center and Tim Lewis (running for Cieri) scored, chasing McAvoy. James Davitt came on to pitch for Bryant and got White to pop out on his first pitch. Then Lowe looked at a questionable third strike on a 3 – 2 count, leaving the bases loaded.
After a scoreless fifth, Bryant made a little noise in the sixth. Zarozny started off with a single. Then the dangerous Carl Anderson lined a shot that Wade jumped up and snared, doubling up Zarozny. Mullen skied to center and Shawaryn had pitched six scoreless innings. That was to it for the freshman, leaving after giving up just four hits, one walk, and striking out three.
Maryland relievers shut the door
Lefty freshman Taylor Stiles came on to pitch in the seventh and got all three hitters, as did Alex Robinson in the eight. In the bottom of the eight both Schmit and Martir (good to see him back after last game’s scare) were hit by a pitch. With two outs they executed a successful double steal. However Cuas struck out to end the inning. In the ninth closer Kevin Mooney was called on to finish off the Bulldogs. After getting two outs, John Mullen hit a shot off of Blake Schmit’s glove. Rinn and Albanese walked and the bases were loaded. But Mooney struck out pinch hitter Matt Zanotta to seal the win.
Shawaryn moved to 2 – 0 and Mooney got his second save.