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Maryland baseball shuts out Princeton, 4-0, in series opener

The Terps rode a dominant pitching performance from Brian Shaffer to victory.

maryland baseball vcu Sung Min Kim/Testudo Times

Maryland baseball starter Brian Shaffer pitched his best game of the year to help lead the Terps to a 4-0 win over Princeton on Friday afternoon. The Terps moved to 10-6 on the year with the victory.

Shaffer was outstanding from start to finish, pitching eight innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only three hits and striking out 10 in the process. It was the most strikeouts by a Terps pitcher in a game since May 25 of last year, when Mike Shawaryn struck out 16 in the Big Ten Tournament. It was also the longest outing of any Maryland starter this season.

Even more impressively, Shaffer didn’t allow a baserunner from the third to the seventh inning. With multiple scouts in attendance, the junior used a fastball-slider combo and pinpoint location to keep the Princeton lineup off the board.

Offensively, Maryland’s lineup did just enough in the late innings with key hits from Will Watson and Kevin Smith putting the Terps ahead for good.

Neither offense was able to take advantage of a couple of opportunities in the early innings. Princeton got a runner to second in the top of the second, but left him stranded. Maryland had two possible chances for runs, but groundouts to third from Kevin Smith in the second and Brandon Gum in the third kept the Friday afternoon contest scoreless early on.

The Terps continued to let the Tigers off the hook in the bottom of the fourth when Will Watson was picked off to end the inning after jumping a bit too far on an attempt just prior to being thrown out.

It was a pure pitching duel in the middle innings as Shaffer and Princeton starter Chris Giglio carved their way through the opposing lineups. The Terps managed only four hits through the first five innings of the game. with the Tigers’ only hit coming on a double in the top of the second.

Maryland’s offense finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth. After singles from Brandon Gum and Nick Cieri lead things off, Will Watson poked a ball into shallow center to put the Terps on the board for the first time. A few batters later, Kevin Smith would connect on a three-run home run that didn’t take long to leave the yard. By the end of the inning, Princeton’s starter was out of the game and Maryland held a comfortable four-run lead.

The big inning was enough for the Terps to hold on in the late innings with Shaffer and Andrew Miller both having kept Princeton off the board during the final three frames.

The Terps will be back in action tomorrow at 2 p.m. looking to guarantee themselves a series win against the Tigers.