Miss Wednesday’s game? Listen to the entire broadcast of the Terps’ 3-0 win over JMU here.
by Dan Servodidio
After a series loss at Michigan over the weekend, the No. 17 Terps (19-7) bounced back with a 3-0 win at home against James Madison on Wednesday. Coach John Szefc’s squad avenged its loss to the Dukes (10-16) last week to give them a split of the season’s series.
Righthander Brian Shaffer threw six scoreless innings in relief, striking out six and allowing just two baserunners. The Pylesville, Md. freshman, normally a starter in the Terps’ rotation, had made four starts so far this season compared to just two relief appearances before Wednesday.
“The way he’s been progressing, he shapes up to be a Tuesday, Wednesday, potentially Sunday [starter] type of guy,” Szefc said of Shaffer. “When he struggled early as a starter, we got him back in the pen and he got a couple good outings out of that.”
Entering Wednesday’s game, Shaffer had a 8.35 ERA in 18.1 innings – allowing a majority of his runs as a starting pitcher. Szefc hinted that an outing like this one could boost his confidence going into his next assignment whether it’s out of the pen or as a starter.
“Sometimes, you almost feel more dominant when you’re coming out of the pen, with all eyes on you,” Shaffer said. “Lately it has given me a little more confidence and given me a little more drive coming out of the pen. It’s been a lot easier.”
“He’s come a long way,” Szefc said. “He works very hard at it and he’s a very easy guy to root for.”
Shaffer relieved his former high school teammate, Terps’ closer Kevin Mooney, who got his first start of the season Wednesday. The all-time saves leader in Maryland history tossed two scoreless innings in what was also his first start in over a year.
“As the years went on, he would give me little pointers about keeping my composure with coming out of the pen,” Shaffer said of Mooney, who used to be a dominant starter himself at Shaffer’s alma mater, North Harford High.
Mooney, Shaffer and left-handed flamethrower Alex Robinson combined for a one-hit shutout on the day, striking out 10.
There wasn’t much offense for the Terps on Wednesday save for four hits by four different players. Second baseman Brandon Lowe hit his team-leading sixth home run of the year while right fielder Anthony Papio scored a run and added an RBI single in the sixth.
“Early in the count, I was just trying to see something elevated in the zone and just hit something hard,” Papio said. “I got down to two strikes and I just had to compete and put something in play. I just happened to squeeze one through the infield there so it worked out.”
The Terps will begin a three-game series at home this weekend against No. 18 Nebraska, the current leaders in the Big Ten standings. First pitch for Friday’s opener is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Maryland Baseball Network will carry all three games, so be sure to stay tuned to our Twitter page and website for all of the news leading up to Friday’s matchup.