In his start last Sunday, Brian Shaffer threw a complete game shutout. He was almost as good on Sunday, which helped the Terps salvage one of three games in the series by a 4-1 score against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Shaffer's only blemish was a solo home run. Otherwise he was in complete control. The Terps had five consecutive hits in the first inning to take a three-run lead, which turned out to be enough.
Terps string together five hits to take 3-run lead
With one out in the top of the first, Madison Nickens drilled a double down the right field line, and then came home on a single by Nick Dunn. Nick Cieri singled through the box, and Marty Costes singled home Dunn. The Terps had already matched their run total from the first two games. Kevin Biondic hit a ball through the left side to load the bases. Anthony Papio smacked a long fly to center that made it 3-0 Terrapins.
The Terps added a run to their lead in the third inning. Costes walked and Biondic hit an infield single. Maryland scored when A. J. Lee lined a two-out single to bring home Costes. Iowa got that run back in the bottom of the inning when Eric Schenk-Joblinske hit a home run to right. The run broke a scoreless streak of 14-plus innings by Shaffer.
Shaffer was dominant, and he needed to be
The Hawkeyes had difficulty figuring out Shaffer. Through seven innings the Terrapin right-hander had given up only four hits, three of them infield singles. Shaffer was very efficient, needing only about 10 pitches per inning to shut down the Hawkeyes. But Maryland hadn't scored since the third inning, so Hawkeyes were still within striking range.
The Terps made some noise in their half of the eighth, but came up empty. Costes drew a leadoff walk, and Zach Jancarski came in to pinch run for him. Biondic bunted Jancarski over to second. The Hawkeyes elected to intentionally walk Papio, and the Terps had runners on first and second with one out. However, Lee hit into a 5-3 double play to end the frame.
In the top of the ninth the Terps had a similar situation. Morris singled and Nickens was hit by a pitch. This time it was Dunn who hit into an inning-ending double play.
Daniel Moriel was hit to begin the bottom of the ninth and Nick Roscetti singled, bringing the tying run to the plate. Shaffer got the next hitter to pop out, and Peyton grounded into a 5-3 double play to end the game.
Shaffer hurled his second consecutive complete game victory to move to 3-1. The Terps are now 11-12 and 1-2 in the Big Ten.
Three things to know:
1. Brian Shaffer's performance this season has been spectacular. Along with Taylor Bloom, the Terps have a solid core of underclassmen pitchers for next season.
2. Kevin Smith has hit better than his average would indicate. Today Iowa's left fielder made a great running catch on a drive by Smith. Earlier this season Smith had a number of blasts that missed going yard by inches.
3. Andrew Bechtold wasn't in the starting line-up for the second straight game. I'm not sure if it's a coaching decision or Bechtold is injured. His replacement, A J Lee, had an RBI single today.