This was game one of two consecutive contests against the VCU Rams. Today's game was played in Richmond, while tomorrow's game will be played at Shipley Field. The starting pitchers were a pair of freshman right-handers: Sean Thompson (4-2, 3.86) for VCU vs. Maryland's Brian Shaffer (2-0, 6.29 era).
Injury update: Taylor Stiles is home recovering and feeling better. Due to swelling his surgery has been pushed back a week.
Shaffer impressive as Terps cling to a 1-0 lead
Anthony Papio led off the Terrapin second inning with a free pass. That was followed by Tim Lewis getting HBP. Papio went to third on a long fly to right by Jamal Wade. He came home when LaMonte Wade executed a perfect hit and run, hitting a sharp grounder through the left side of the infield for a 1-0 Terrapin lead. Justin Morris' bid to bring Lewis home with a safety squeeze didn't work. At the time it seemed of little importance, but as the game wore on that run became dear.
For some reason VCU elected to take Thompson out after three innings. He was replaced by RHP Tyler Buckley.
Shaffer was dialed in tonight. Through four innings he had allowed just two singles, one a blooper over Kevin Smith's head, walked none, and struck out two. But the Terps had just three hits and the lone second inning run through four innings.
In the Rams' half of the fifth, Vimael Machin grounded a single through the hole between first and second. Brett Hileman hit a scorcher that Morris snagged to get the runner at first: it was the first time today that VCU had a runner in scoring position. Jimmy Kerrigan received Shaffer's first walk of the game, and VCU had something brewing. But Shaffer struck out Walker Haymaker and got Daane Berezo to ground out.
This game began to have the same feel as Sunday's game against Cal State Fullerton, as both teams had trouble scoring.
Rams tie it up in the seventh
But the Rams managed to push across a run in the seventh inning. In the VCU seventh Darian Carpenter stroked a lead-off single to center. Machin hit a sharp grounder off of Shaffer's leg, which ended up all the way in right field. The Rams had runners on the corners with no outs. Zach Morris came in for Maryland. Hileman hit into a double play, which tied the score. Shaffer's final line: 6ip, 5h, 1r, 1bb, 3so.
The Terrapins had the unenviable task of facing one of the best relief pitchers in the country: LHP Matt Lees (5-1, 0.28 era). He had come into the game in the top of the seventh and retired the Terps in order. In the eighth he allowed just a lone single by Kevin Martir, while striking out two Terps.
Haymaker singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and was sacrificed to second by Berezo. After James Bunn struck out, Logan Farrar, VCU's top hitter, was intentionally walked. The strategy worked as Cody Acker flied out to center.
Extra innings once again
The Terps went down in order in the ninth. But so did the Rams, and for the second game in a row the Terps found themselves in an extra-inning affair.
Pinch-hitter Kevin Biondic drew a lead-off walk in the tenth. Zach Jancarski came in as a pinch runner for Biondic. The Terps chose not to bunt in this spot. Lowe flied out to center. With three right-handed batters due up, VCU brought in RHP Daniel Concepcion. Kevin Smith lined a single to put the lead run in scoring position. However, Martir skied out to center and Jose Cuas grounded out to third.
Kerrigan ripped a lead-off single. Ryan Coale lined a pitch into left center that Kengo Kawahara made a diving catch on. The next batter, Berezo singled to put two runners aboard. Nick Ward hit a slow chopper for an infield single that loaded the bases. Farrar singled through the box to give VCU the 2-1 win.
Zach Morris took the loss to go to 3-2. The Terps fell to 27-12 overall.