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Maryland baseball: Terps top WKU 7-3 in season opener

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Home runs by Anthony Papio and Brandon Lowe powered the Terps to a lead they didn't relinquish. The Terps banged out 12 hits, including a triple and a double by freshman Kevin Smith. Terrapin pitchers shut down the Hilltoppers, with Mike Shawaryn getting his 12th career win.

Brandon Lowe's two-run shot gave the Terps the lead
Brandon Lowe's two-run shot gave the Terps the lead
@mercator88

Today's starters were RHP Mike Shawaryn (11-4, 3.12 era) for Maryland and LHP John Harman (transfer from Darton State College) for Western Kentucky.

The starting line-up for Maryland:

1. Brandon Lowe (2b)
2. LaMonte Wade (cf)
3. Jose Cuas(3b)
4. Nic Cieri (dh)
5. Tim Lewis (lf)
6. Kevin Martir (c)
7. Anthony Papio (rf)
8. Andrew Bechtold (1b)
9. Kevin Smith (ss)

Not the best way to start things

With two outs in the first, Jose Cuas singled up the middle for Maryland's first hit of the 2015 season. Cuas stole second as well as third while Nick Cieri walked. But both runners were stranded as Tim Lewis flew out to center. In the bottom of the inning, Cody Wafford drew a four-pitch walk. One out later, Ryan Church drove a ball to the wall for a run-scoring double. He was brought home by a Phillip Dietrick single. The Terps were down 2-0 after one inning.

With two outs in the Terps' half of the second inning, Andrew Bechtold, Kevin Smith and Brandon Lowe walked to load the bases. A balk brought home the Terps' first run of the season. However, LaMonte Wade popped up to end the top of the second. In the bottom of the inning, Mike Shawaryn settled down and struck out the side. After two innings, the Terps trailed 2-1.

Leiff Clarkson led off the bottom of the third inning with a double and moved to third base on a ground out. Anderson Miller walked, bringing up the dangerous Church to the plate. He flied out to deep right field, and WKU led 3-1.

Terps flex some muscle to take the lead

The Terps exploded for three runs in the top of the fourth. Anthony Papio crushed a pitch over the right field wall for the Terps' first home run of the season. Smith tripled with two outs. That brought in relief pitcher Ryan Thurston. Lowe greeted him with a two-run shot that gave the Terps a 4-3 lead. Shawaryn stood firm in the bottom of the next two innings, each time retiring the side in order.

I n the Terps' half of the sixth, Smith collected his second extra base hit of the day, a double. Lowe, who had homered earlier off Thurston, drew a walk. Wade poked a single through the right side to give the Terps a two-run lead. Both runners advanced on the throw home. Then Cuas doubled to the opposite field, and Maryland led 7-3. In the bottom of the inning Shawaryn retired his 8th, 9th, and 10th hitters in a row.

Shaffer impressive in debut

Martir and Papio singled to begin the Terps' seventh. Two outs later, Lowe drew his third walk of the day, which loaded the bases. But Wade flew out to deep right to end the Terrapin threat. In the bottom of the inning, Brian Shaffer came on to pitch for the Terps and was impressive, retiring six straight batters, while notching two strike outs. At this point Terrapin pitchers had retired 16 straight Hilltoppers. In the bottom of the ninth, Shaffer allowed only one hit to seal the deal for the Terps.

On a day where Shawaryn was shaky early, the right-hander settled in and didn't relinquish the lead once Maryland was on top. He gained the win, his 12th as a Terrapin. Shawaryn's line: 6 ip, 3 h, 3 er, 2 bb, 7 so. Brain Shaffer earned his first collegiate save.