After last night's victory of Michigan State, the Terps got the daunting task of facing Illinois. The Illini lead the B1G conference in regular season play, and are riding a 27-game winning streak. Tonight's starting pitchers were RHP Drasen Johnson (9-2, 2.34 era) against Brian Shaffer (4-1, 5.19 era).
Due to the length of the Michigan-Iowa game, the Terps' game didn't start until 9:50.... Central time!
Illinois struck in the first inning. With one out, Ryan Nagle lined a single to center, and then Reid Roper singled to right. Jason Goldstein scorched a single to plate Nagle.
Terps go up on top
The Terps took the lead in the next half inning. Kevin Martir blooped a single. Jose Cuas hit a swinging bunt that Johnson fielded, and then threw wildly to first. Anthony Papio tied the score with an opposite field single. Nick Cieri hit a hard shot back to Johnson. The Illinois pitcher threw to third for the out, but the third baseman's throw to double up Cieri went past the first baseman: Papio came around to score, and the Terps led 2-1.
Shaffer settled in nicely after the first inning, baffling Illini hitters with his slider. Through five innings he had limited Illinois to a single run, with just one hit allowed after the first inning.
In the top of the sixth, Cieri got on base via Illinois' third error of the game. He stole second, and went to third on a force out. But Kevin Biondic struck out to end the Terrapin threat. Through six innings, Maryland had stranded seven base runners.
Shaffer kept dealing, and he ended up setting a career high in innings pitched. His final line: 7ip, 6h, 1r, 1bb, and 7so. He was helped by two great plays at first by Biondic.
Rob Galligan came on in relief in the eighth inning. He threw a scoreless frame, striking out two batters.
In the top of the ninth, the Terps had a chance to break the game open. Cieri led off with a single. After Kawahara fanned, Biondic was HBP. Jancarski came in to run for Cieri. The bases were loaded when LaMonte Wade walked. Smith hit one on the screws that the third baseman short hopped, stepped on the bag, then threw to first for the double play.
Kevin Mooney came in to try for the save. He retired the side in order, the last two batters on strike outs.
Shaffer moved to 5-1, and Maryland is now 38-20 on the year. Mooney recorded his seventh save.