Brian Shaffer (1-1) threw a complete game shutout, and Madison Nickens' double provided the only run as the Terps edged Cal State Fullerton Titans 1-0 Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Terps took the series 2-1. Shaffer's complete game was Maryland's second in as many days.
Both teams squander opportunity to score
The Titans had an early opportunity to score in the bottom of the second, beginning with a Chris Hudgins single through the left side. Jerrod Bravo hit a fly to right field that Madison Nickens tried to dive for, but was unable to grab, causing the ball to roll all the way to the wall. Anthony Papio threw the ball to Nick Dunn, whose throw got Hudgins at the plate and kept Cal State off the board.
Papio led off the Terrapin third by lacing a double to left-center field. A J Lee bunted Papio over to third base but Justin Morris hit a come backer to the pitcher and Papio was tagged out.
Both pitchers were working effectively. Eastman's change-up was fooling Terp batters, while Shaffer was continually getting Titan hitters to fly out. At one point each pitcher had retired 10 straight batters.
Runs are scarce in a classic pitcher's duel
Maryland drew first blood in their half of the sixth. It turned out to be all Maryland would need. Morris walked, and Nickens hit a shot to the wall. The relay throw home was slightly ahead of Morris, but the Titan catcher couldn't hold onto the ball and the Terps led 1-0.
It looked like the lead wouldn't last long. With one out, the Titans hit consecutive singles to put runners on the corners. However Tanner Pinkston grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Shaffer continued strong, eclipsing his previous career high of seven innings. He had a shutout going through the eighth, with the Terps clinging to a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the ninth, Dunn was hit by a pitch, marking the 19th straight game in which the freshman has reached base. He was erased on a double play grounder off the bat of Cieri.
Brian Shaffer returned to the mound to start the bottom of the ninth, trying for the complete game shutout. Shaffer got two quick outs, but Niko Pachecko singled to center in the next at-bat. With a 1-1 count, the runner tried to steal second, and Morris gunned him down to end the game.
Shaffer's final line for the game: 9ip, 7h, 0r, 0bb, 5k, 99tp. He improves to 2-1 on the season. The Terps are now 9-10 overall in 2016.
Three things to know:
1. This win today was huge for so many reasons. Maryland entered the series with a 1-5 record on the road. They took two out of three from Cal State Fullerton, a team that was ranked in the top 20 earlier this year. Winning a series on the road against a quality team might just be the turning point in the season.
2. Maryland played flawless defense today. They would need it, as the Titans had a number of opportunities to score.
3. Brian Shaffer looks 100% healed. Any concerns about the his ability to pitch deep in games after elbow soreness last year have been quashed.