On a cold and somewhat snowy Friday afternoon, Maryland baseball, behind a valiant effort from starting pitcher Brian Shaffer and three rallies in the middle innings, defeated the Bryant Bulldogs, 7-1, in the first game of a three-game weekend series.
Shaffer won his first game of the season, throwing seven innings of one-run ball. He allowed five hits and struck out eight.
Other than Shaffer’s stellar pitching performance, Will Watson, Brandon Gum, and Marty Costes stood out on the offensive side. Watson drove in three runs and went 2-for-3 in the game; Gum had three walks, scored two runs, and drove in one run; and Costes scored twice, drove in two, and went 2-for-4 on the day.
Coming into the game, Maryland was on a hot streak, winning their last five games after starting off the season 1-5, including the first two games of the home stand against William & Mary and Saint Joseph’s.
The first three innings went by with no hits for both teams. Staffer was coasting, having struck out six batters through 3.2 innings before the Bulldogs put together a two-out rally in the top of the fourth inning.
Mickey Gasper hit an opposite-field double that popped out of the glove of left fielder Madison Nickens and Jimmy Titus brought him home with an RBI single. In the bottom half of the fourth, the Terps threatened, loading the bases on three walks. However, Bryant starter Steve Theetge halted the Maryland offense, not giving up a run.
The Maryland bats would finally wake up in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Costes started out the inning with a single, followed by Brandon Gum who walked. Nick Cieri then moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, before Will Watson drove home Costes with an RBI single. Nickens then drove home Gum with a sacrifice fly, giving the Terps a 2-1 lead.
The Terps would strike again in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three times and extending their lead, thanks to a 2 RBI single from Will Watson and a bases-loaded RBI walk from Nick Cieri.
In the bottom of the eighth, Zack Jancarski drove home the sixth run of the game for the Terps and Costes would follow with an RBI single of his own, extending the lead to 7-1.
The Maryland bullpen took over for the rest of the game in relief of Shaffer, shutting down the Bulldog bats. Andrew Miller pitched two scoreless innings of relief to seal the win for the Terps, striking out five in the process.
The Terps are 7-5 and still have two left in the series against Bryant (3-8). Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs starts at 2 p.m. and can be heard on the Maryland Baseball Network.