Morris and Costes go deep while Shaffer (3-1) dominates on the mound as Terps beat Michigan

Brian Shaffer continued his great season for the Terps throwing 115 pitches, while going eight innings and striking out ten batters. He lead Maryland (14-7) to a 7-2 victory over the Michigan Wolverines (16-5).

Michigan, the only ranked team in the Big Ten, had won 14 of their last 16 games heading into the series against Maryland. They faced a Terrapin team who has still not lost at home in the 2017 season. While Shaffer pitched well, the offense gave him plenty of support.

Marty Costes got the scoring started for Maryland with a deep home run in the first inning. Then, in the second inning, the Terps opened the game up. Kevin Smith tripled to right field on a ball that could have been caught by Wolverine right fielder Jonathan Engelmann. Madison Nickens then recorded an infield single to score Smith. A few batters later, Justin Morris crushed a no-doubt three-run home run over the batter’s eye in center field.

Maryland vs Michigan

Oliver Jaskie started the game for the Wolverines, and pitched much better than his line (6.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 K) indicated. The four-run second inning for Maryland could have been avoided had Kevin Smith’s triple been caught. Jaskie even set down ten consecutive Maryland batters at one point.

Michigan scored their two runs in the third inning, cutting the Maryland lead at the time to just two, but were quiet the rest of the way. Those two runs came on a Michael Brdar double. Ryan Selmer shut the door for the Terps, facing the minimum in the ninth.

It was not a save for Selmer though, as Maryland scored two in the eighth to give him some insurance. He was helped by a 6-4-3 double-play in the ninth by a slick fielding Maryland infield.

Maryland, now 9-0 in College Park, will continue their series against the 18th ranked Wolverines tomorrow at home at 7 p.m.

Series Preview: Michigan Wolverines

After splitting a two-game series at UNC Wilmington, Maryland will look to continue their success at home in 2017 as they battle the Michigan Wolverines for a three-game series, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. in College Park.

Michigan (16-4), the lone ranked Big Ten team in the country at No. 18 in the D1 Baseball poll, has won 14 of their last 16 games. Maryland (13-7) has won 12 of 14, and including a perfect 8-0 record at home this season.

The Terps had won eight of their last nine heading into their two-game stretch against the UNCW, and after dropping game one to the Seahawks, won again Wednesday thanks to a two-homer game by Kevin Smith.

Smith, who started the season 0-for-8 with six strikeouts, has come on strong as of late. He hit two home runs in each of the two games against UNCW, after also homering over the weekend against Princeton. The junior shortstop is now fourth on team in hits (21), leads in homers (5) and RBIs (18), and is tied for the lead in doubles (6).

After starting the season by splitting a four-game set with Seton Hall, Michigan has dominated since, starting with a perfect 8-0 run in California that included wins over UCLA and University of San Diego. They owe their success largely to their pitching staff, which leads the Big Ten with a 3.22 team ERA and a .233 opponents’ batting average. They have allowed over four runs just twice in their last 16 contests, and has not surrendered more than six runs during that stretch. Junior left-hander Oliver Jaskie has led the Wolverines’ success on the mound, owning a 3-0 record and a 2.60 ERA through five starts.

At the plate, Maryland and Michigan match up almost identically. Through 20 games, the Terps have scored 120 runs, with 18 homers, 29 doubles, and a .269 average. The Wolverines, in 20 games, have scored 128 runs and hit .270, while also racking up 18 homers and 29 doubles. Michigan’s offense is led by Harrison Wenson, who has a .250 average to go with a team-high five homers and 20 RBIs, and Michael Brdar, the team leader in hits (26) and average (.325).

The Terps and Wolverines last met in Ann Arbor in March 2015, when Michigan took two out of three from Maryland.

Starting Pitching Matchup

FRI at 6:30 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Brian Shaffer (2-1, 1.65 ERA) vs. LHP Oliver Jaskie (3-0, 2.60 ERA)

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Brian Shaffer has been everything John Szefc could have asked for from his Friday ace, as the junior right-hander has struck out more than a batter per inning so far this season. His 32.2 innings pitched lead the Big Ten, while his 1.65 ERA ranks second in the conference. He’s coming off his best start this season, an eight-inning, no-run performance with 10 strikeouts that earned him Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors.

He will share the mound with Oliver Jaskie, who is also averaging over a strikeout an inning. The junior southpaw leads the team with a 2.60 ERA and 32 strikeouts. Jaskie will come into Friday’s game with not having pitched since last Thursday, when he went 5.2 IP and gave up three runs.

Starting Pitching Matchup

SAT 7 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Taylor Bloom (3-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Ryan Nutof (1-1, 6.48 ERA)

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Taylor Bloom, who is second on the team in innings pitched, is coming off one of the best starts of his season. He went 6.2 innings while giving up just one earned run to the Princeton Tigers. The junior right-hander has rebounded nicely after two rough outings to open the season, and seems to have returned to last year’s form.

Michigan will send Ryan Nutof to the mound Saturday to face the Terps. Nutof struggled mightily in his last start, giving up seven runs without making it out of the fifth inning, and is yet to find his groove in 2017, as he owns a lofty 6.46 ERA and .317 opponents’ batting average.

Starting Pitching Matchup

SUN 1 p.m. EST

Fr. LHP Tyler Blohm (4-1, 1.78 ERA) vs. Jr. LHP Michael Hendrickson (1-0, 3.18 ERA)

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Tyler Blohm has had an incredible start to his freshman season, posting a sub-2 ERA, while striking out the second most batters on the team. He is coming off a dominant outing against Princeton in which he pitched seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts, and has been named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week for two straight weeks.

Opposing him will be fellow left-hander Michael Hendrickson, who has been a reliable piece of the Michigan rotation this season. He has struck out 20 on the season, and has surrendered just three extra base hits, all doubles, in 22.2 innings on the mound. The junior did struggle in his last start though, giving up 4 earned runs in 4.2 innings.

Smith’s second-straight two-homer day helps propel Terps to first road win

After homering twice in Tuesday’s loss, Kevin Smith went deep twice again Wednesday to lead the Maryland offense in a 10-6 win over UNC Wilmington. The victory secured the Terps (13-7) a split of the tw0-game series and gave them their first road win of the season.

Marty Costes got the Terps on the board early with a two-run homer in the first, and Smith added a third run in the frame with an RBI groundout. After the Seahawks cut the lead to one run with a two-run third, Maryland responded with a four-run fifth inning. Nick Dunn and Costes led off the frame with back-to-back singles, and a walk to Will Watson loaded the bases for Madison Nickens. He hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Dunn, and one batter later, Smith’s fourth homer of the season brought three more home.

The Terps were robbed of a chance to add on further in the seventh, when Seahawks center fielder Robbie Thorburn robbed Watson of a potential two-run homer, and doubled Costes off first to squander Maryland’s scoring opportunity. An inning later, however, Smith hit an 0-2 pitch over the left field fence for his second homer of the afternoon, giving Maryland an 8-3 lead.

“I just think he’s playing with confidence,” Coach John Szefc said. “The more at bats he accrues, the more comfortable he gets, the more productive he gets.”

Over the two games in Wilmington, Smith collected four hits – all home runs – seven RBIs.

“I was seeing pitches a little better this weekend, I worked a little bit with coach Vaughn.” Smith said “The big thing is not trying to hit singles anymore, really trying to get a ball [I] can drive and do some damage in the gaps with.”

The Terps added two more insurance runs in the ninth on throwing errors before sealing the victory in the bottom half of the frame.

Meanwhile, Maryland’s starter struggled early in the game for the second straight day, as left-hander Tayler Stiles failed to complete three innings. He worked out of a jam in the first and cruised through the second before again running into trouble in the third inning. After surrendering two runs on a single and a two-run homer, he loaded the bases on a hit batsman, a single and a walk. Stiles got the second out of the inning on a pop out, but then was pulled in favor of Ryan Hill, who escaped the jam with a strikeout. Hill (2-0) worked 3.1 scoreless innings of relief with six strikeouts to pick up his second win of the season.

“Whatever they want me to come in and do I’ll do it.” Hill said after the game. “I know my job is to get the defense off the field and get their bats going like they did today.” He said his cutter and curveball were “really working well” today and credited those pitches for his success.

Jared Price relieved Hill in the seventh, allowing a run after Casey Golden singled and ultimately came around to score on a double play. He let up another run in the eighth in the form of a Daniel Stack RBI double before Maryland brought in Andrew Miller to end the threat.

Miller was shaky in the bottom of the ninth, letting up his first two runs of the season on a Nick Feight home run as the Seahawks cut the Terps’ lead to 10-6. Ryan Selmer came in and picked up two strikeouts to close out Maryland’s first road victory and 12th win in 14 contests.

“I thought it was a good answer from our guys today,” Coach Szefc said of his team that lost 10-7 yesterday. “Today was just a matter of minimizing damage and stranding runners. We didn’t give up a big inning the whole day, that was the difference in the game.”

The team combined for 17 runs in two games, keyed by Smith and Costes, who collected five hits and hit two home runs in the series.

Maryland’s offense will look to stay hot this weekend. They will come home to play their first Big Ten game of the season against no. 18 Michigan on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Maryland unable to shake off early miscues in loss to UNC Wilmington

After three innings of play, Maryland trailed 8-0. But, despite clawing back to bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth frame, the Terps ultimately fell to UNC-Wilmington 10-7.

Reliever Mike Rescigno’s first career start didn’t go as planned. In the first inning, the Seahawks sent 10 men to the plate—scoring five—on three hits and two Maryland errors, one from Rescigno and one by Nick Dunn at second base.

Casey Golden singled and advanced on a failed pickoff attempt. After Rescigno walked the next batter, Nick Feight hit a chopper that bounced over the head of A.J. Lee at third for an RBI double. Then, Mason Berne then hit a groumaryland at UNCWnd ball that second baseman Nick Dunn was unable to field cleanly, allowing Golden to score. After Rescigno hit the next batter, Daniel Stack singled to center field scoring Feight and Berne. The first out of the inning was a Clark Cota strikeout; however, the Seahawks weren’t done yet as a sacrifice fly brought in the fifth and final run of the inning.

UNC Wilmington starter Zarion Sharpe, who was also making his first career start, was stellar in four innings of work. He struck out five and walked none, allowing just two hits—both to Marty Costes, who hit his third home run of the season in the fourth inning.

 

A Marty Costes solo shot opened scoring for Maryland in the fourth inning.

The Terps continued to battle back, putting up three runs in the top of the fifth thanks to a Kevin Smith solo blast, a passed ball, and a Zach Jancarski RBI double.

During the bottom of the inning, outfielder-turned-pitcher Jamal Wade did something no Maryland pitcher has done since 2014. Wade got the first batter of the inning Kennard McDowell to swing and miss on an 0-2 count. McDowell reached first, however, as the ball got away from catcher Danny Maynard. After balking the runner to second and allowing an RBI single to Casey Golden, Wade struck out the next three batters. This was the first four strikeout inning by a Terp since Jared Price accomplished the feat in April of 2014.

After Maryland got another run on Kevin Smith’s second homer of the game in the top half of the sixth, Wade struck out the side. Wade struck out seven total batters, including the final six he faced.

Another Seahawks run to score in the bottom of the seventh on the Terps’ fourth wild pitch of the game. Maryland scored two in the eighth after Kevin Smith was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a Nick Cieri walk, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a passed ball. Cieri then scored on Zach Jancarski’s RBI triple.

Freshman LHP Jon Dignazio made his first appearance of his collegiate career in the bottom of the eighth, setting the Seahawks down in order.

In the top of the ninth, Danny Maynard tripled with one out, however a Madison Nickens strikeout and a Kevin Smith flyout ended the threat and the game for the Terps.

Overall, the Terps used six pitchers and let up a combined ten runs, but only six were earned.

Considering they went down 8-0 in the third inning, the Terps showed resilience and gave an admiral effort in their attempt to come back.

Marty Costes and Kevin Smith led the offense with Costes collecting three hits and Smith homering twice.

With the loss, the Terps fall to 12-7 on the season. It is just their second loss in thirteen games. Maryland will look to split the two game set tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Neither team has announced a starter for tomorrow’s game yet.

Rankings Update: Week of 3/20/17

The Terps (12-6) have hit their stride. Though they were one hit by #11 North Carolina on Tuesday, Maryland bounced back by sweeping the Princeton Tigers at home this weekend. Having won 11 of their last 12, the Terrapins are about as hot as any team in the NCAA.

This 3-1 week wasn’t enough to put the Terps back into the national rankings, however. Their last appearance on any list was the week of 2/27/17/.

Maryland will head to Wilmington this week for a two game set against the Seahawks (8-9) before coming home to play their first Big Ten series against #18 Michigan (15-4).

Michigan remains the only team in the Big Ten to be ranked nationally.

D1Baseball.com: Unranked

Baseball America: Unranked

Perfect Game: Unranked

NCBWA: Unranked

USA Today’s Coaches’ Poll: Unranked

Series Preview: UNC Wilmington Seahawks

The Maryland Terrapins have been red hot as of late. The Terps (12-6) are fresh off a weekend sweep of Princeton at home and have won 11 of their last 12 games. This week, they are heading to Wilmington, North Carolina, for a two-game set against the Seahawks (8-9).

UNC Wilmington started the season off 4-9 thanks in part to a schedule that had them playing five games against three different ranked teams. They’ve picked it up lately, however, taking the second game of a doubleheader against Longwood on March 11 before sweeping VCU this past weekend.

The Seahawks are led by their offense, scoring 36 runs during their four game win streak. Outfielder Casey Golden, one of four starters hitting over .300, has led the team. The senior has put together an impressive .316/.418/.719 slash line in 16 games this season to go with a team-high seven homers, including one in each of the Seahawks’ last four games.

Maryland’s recent success has come thanks to strong pitching performances. Brian Shaffer, Taylor Bloom and Tyler Blohm all turned in solid starts over the weekend, with only Bloom (6.2 IP, 2 R, 1 ER) allowing Princeton to cross the plate. The Terps’ bullpen turned in 5.1 scoreless frames over the three-game set.

The Terps’ bats have cooled off after a hot streak earlier in the month, but were still productive over the weekend. Junior designated hitter Will Watson helped pace the offense during the series, collecting 6 hits in 11 at bats, while Madison Nickens and Kevin Smith both homered against the Tigers.

Nickens and fellow outfielder Marty Costes have led Maryland’s offense so far this season. Nickens leads the team with three homers and a .512 slugging percentage, and is tied with Smith for the team lead in RBIs (11). Costes is pacing the Terps with a .324 batting average, while his .448 on-base percentage ranks second on the team.

The last time these two teams faced off, the Seahawks took two out of three games from No. 12-ranked Maryland in Wilmington in March 2015.

Starting Pitching Matchup

TUE 4 p.m. EST

Sr. RHP Mike Rescigno (1-0, 6.43 ERA) vs. Fr. LHP Zarion Sharpe (0-0, 20.25 ERA)

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Senior Mike Rescigno will get the ball for the Terps, making the first start of his college career. The flame-throwing right-hander has been one of John Szefc’s primary bullpen pieces over the past couple years, making 23 relief appearances last season with three saves, and seven appearances so far this season.

Freshman left-hander Zarion Sharpe will take the mound for UNC Wilmington, making his first career collegiate start. The Greenville, N.C., native has made two appearances for the Seahawks, pitching 1.1 innings and allowing three runs, all earned, on a hit and two walks.

Starting Pitching Matchup

WED 3:30 p.m. EST

Sr. LHP Tayler Stiles (1-1, 6.43 ERA) vs. R-Jr. LHP Clay Lockamon (0-0, 2.70 ERA)

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Maryland will give the ball to Tayler Stiles Wednesday as the left-hander will make the first start of the 2017 season. The senior has been a key part of both the Terps’ bullpen and starting rotation over the past two years, making 29 appearances and 11 starts across 2015 and 2016. He has pitched seven innings of relief this season, allowing five runs while striking out seven.

UNC Wilmington will counter with a southpaw of their own, redshirt junior Clay Lockamon, who will also be making his first start of the year. He has thrown 3.1 innings across five appearances this year, allowing just one run on four hits. He has just one collegiate start under his belt, last March against NC State, in which he gave up four runs (all earned) over 2.2 innings of work.