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Maryland baseball wins Big Ten opener, 7-2, over No. 18 Michigan

Justin Morris’ three-run homer and another strong outing by Brian Shaffer proved decisive.

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kevin smith
Sung Min Kim/Testudo Times

In Friday’s game, the Big Ten opener for both Maryland baseball and Michigan, Marty Costes homered for the third straight game, and Justin Morris crushed a three-run homer over the batter’s eye in center field. That helped stake Maryland to a 5-0 lead, and Brian Shaffer more than made it stand up with eight innings of outstanding pitching in a 7-2 win for the Terps.

This game marked the first time in almost five years that former Maryland and now Michigan head coach Erik Bakich was at The Bob. It was a rude homecoming for the former Maryland skipper.

Costes and Morris power Terps to a Big Ten lead

The Terps got on the board in the bottom of the first when Marty Costes hit a solo home run, his fifth of the season. Costes has now homered in three straight games. In the next inning, Kevin Smith hit a high fly that right fielder Dominic Clementi couldn’t track, and Smith ended up with a triple. Nickens hit a swinging bunt that brought home Smith. Nickens stole second, and went to third when AJ Lee struck out on a wild pitch. After a visit to the mound by Michigan’s pitching coach, Justin Morris sent the first pitch over the batter’s eye in center field for a three-run homer. The Terps now led 5-0.

Michigan got on the board in the third inning. With two outs, Ako Thomas hit a grounder up the middle that Smith stretched out for and knocked down. In the process, Smith hurt his shoulder, but stayed in the game. Jake Bivens walked, and then Michael Brdar lined a double down the left field line, scoring both runners.

Shaffer dialed in

Both pitchers settled down in the middle innings. At one point LHP Oliver Jaskie had set down 10 straight Terrapin batters. But Shaffer kept the Wolverines at bay after the third inning.

In the Terrapin seventh, Lee led off with a double against the right center field fence. Morris sacrificed Lee over to third. That finished Jaskie’s day, and he was relieved by RHP Mac Lozer. With the infield drawn in, Zach Jancasrki grounded out to first base, and Lee had to hold at third. Nick Dunn struck out, and the score remained 5-2.

Brian Shaffer pitched a 1-2-3 eighth to finish up: 8ip, 2r, 2er, 5h, 3bb, 10k, 115tp. The ten strike outs matched Shaffer’s career high.

The Terps got two insurance runs in the eighth inning. Costes hit an infield single, and two walks loaded the bases with one out. Kevin Biondic hit a hard grounder to short. The flip to second base was in time, but the second baseman’s throw to first was wide, and two Terrapin runners came home.

Ryan Selmer came in to pitch the ninth inning and shut the door.

Maryland is now 14-7 on the year, 1-0 in the Big Ten. Shaffer moved to 3-1, and the Terps remain perfect so far this year at home.