In a game with post-season implications for Maryland, the Terrapins showed plenty of grit coming from three runs down to topple the Spartans 6-4. The win not only gave the Terps the series, but puts them in the B1G tournament.
Brian Shaffer hurled a tough eight innings, after getting hit on the knee in the first inning. Nick Dunn had four hits and scored twice, while Kevin Biondic had three hits, the last one being a single off Michigan State's ace Cam Vieaux that put Maryland on top.
Durkin’s homer puts Spartans on top by three
The game started on an ominous note for the Terrapins. In the bottom of the first, Brandon Hughes hit a hard shot right off of Shaffer’s right knee, and the sophomore RHP fell to the ground. Shaffer was able to get up and stayed in the game, but his effectiveness was unknown at that point. Jordan Zimmerman got a four-pitch walk, and Dan Durkin singled up the middle for an rbi and a 1-0 Spartan lead. Shaffer recovered, getting Matt Byars to hit into a 5-3 double play, followed by a ground out by Dan Chmielewski. The Spartans increased their lead to 3-0 in the third. Hughes singled and Durkin drilled a two-run homer to right.
Terps battle back
Maryland responded in the top of the fourth. Nick Dunn doubled to the wall in left, and then Kevin Smith singled to right: runners were on the corners with none away. Madison Nickens hit a ground out that scored Dunn and advanced Smith to second base. Kevin Biondic got aboard via an error, with Smith going to third. Nick Cieri hit a deep fly that brought home Smith to cut the Spartan lead to 3-2.
Are we playing on a high school field?
Michigan State grabbed a run in the bottom of the inning, in part thanks to a strange quirk of the Michigan State stadium. Kris Simonton hit a high fly to right, where the warning track is a grassy hill with an incline. (It’s a bizarre part of the outfield, which can be seen here.) Anthony Papio just missed the catch, and Simonton had a triple. The Spartan right fielder then came home on a squeeze play. But Maryland got the run back in the top of the fifth. With two away Marty Costes singled through the left side, and Dunn doubled to the wall for an rbi.
The field once again came into play in the bottom of the fifth. Zimmerman tripled in in a similar fashion, with Jancarski just missing the grab on hill that goes for a warning track. Durkin was then given an intentional walk. Matt Byars tried to bunt, but it went right back to Shaffer, who held Zimmerman at third and throwing out Byars. Chmielewski was HBP to load the bases. Shaffer fanned Taylor Grace to leave three Spartans aboard and keep it a one-run game.
Dunn and Biondic have key hits to put Maryland on top
The Terps put up a crooked number in the top of the seventh to take the lead for the first time today. Jancarski drew a leadoff walk. Two outs later, Dunn singled up the middle for his fourth hit of the game, and both runners advanced a base on an error by the center fielder. That brought him the Spartans best pitcher, LHP Cam Vieaux. Usually the Friday night starter, Vieaux had some shoulder stiffness last week and the Spartans elected not to start him this series. Vieaux hit Smith on the foot, which loaded the bases. Danny Maynard pinch hit for Nickens, and the freshman was HBP: Jancarski came home to tie the score. Biondic jumped on the first pitch and lined it into right field for a single that made the score 6-4 Maryland.
As has happened so often this season, Maryland found itself with a late-inning lead. Could they hold on? Although Shaffer had thrown 98 pitches, he was on the bump in the bottom of the seventh. No problem, as Shaffer held the Spartans scoreless while striking out two hitters. Shaffer then retired the side in order in the eighth.
Junior RHP Mike Rescigno releived Shaffer to try to close out the win. Shaffer’s final line: 8ip, 4r, 4er, 8h, 2bb, 5k, 126tp. After falling behind 0-2, Chad Roskelly drew a leadoff walk. The count on Hughes went to 2-0 and pitching coach Bellanger pulled Rescigno for sophomore RHP Ryan Selmer. Hughes eventually walked, putting the tying run aboard and the winning run at the plate. Zimmerman skied out to Jancarski, and Durkin hit a deep fly out to Costes. The count went full to Byars, who whiffed on a fastball by Selmer.
With the win, the Terps will go to the B1G tournament next week.
Maryland improves to 28-25 overall, 13-11 in the B1G. Brian Shaffer got the victory to move to 7-3, and Selmer earned his fourth save.
Three things to know:
1. Taking a series on the road with everything on the line was huge for the Terps. Coming into the series the Terps knew they had to win two of the games, or hope Michigan defeated Illinois twice. The Terps did it the right way, taking two of three and almost sweeping the Spartans.
2. The Terps now head to Omaha for the B1G tournament. The Terps need to win this tournament for the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, as they're likely not going to receive an at-large bid.
3. The past two days Ryan Selmer pitched like he did in 2015. This season hasn't always gone well for Selmer, but he's pitched like he did in his freshman season in Friday and Saturday's games. What a huge boost that would be if he can continue doing so in the B1G tournament.