Terps tackle Blue Hens behind strong start from Shaffer

The first ten batters Brian Shaffer faced were sent promptly back to the dugout.

The freshman right-hander pitched five scoreless innings to get his third win of the season, allowing just three hits, walking none, and striking out five en route to a 5-3 win Tuesday.

“He changed up his grip [on his curveball] so he’s getting better feel for it and throwing it for strikes more often,” catcher Kevin Martir said. “His fastball is moving, it’s not flat, so it’s giving hitters a different look.”

Martir went 0-1 on the day, walking three times, two of them intentional. The second intentional walk gave Jose Cuas an opportunity, and the third baseman delivered, driving in the game’s first run with an RBI single off of Blue Hens starter Kevin Milley. Milley finished the day with six innings pitched, giving up four runs while striking out three and walking seven.

The Terps scored added another as Kevin Smith his his fifth home run of the season, and two more in the sixth inning after LaMonte Wade singled to drive in his brother, Jamal, who led off the inning with a triple, and Willie Rios, who walked. In the eighth inning, Cuas added to his team-leading RBI total (40) with a solo shot to left field, his seventh of the season.

Jose Cuas went 2-4 with a home run and two RBIs Tuesday. (Photo: Alexander Jonesi)
Jose Cuas went 2-4 with a home run and two RBIs Tuesday. (Photo: Alexander Jonesi)

Down 4-0 in the seventh, the Blue Hens battled back, scoring all three of their runs. Greg Olenski, a former Terrapin, led off the inning with a single, and moved to second a Gary Jones groundball induced a throwing error from Terps second baseman Brandon Lowe. Olenski and Jones executed a double steal to move to third and second, respectively. Brock Niggebruge came through with an RBI single, plating Olenski, and Jones eventually scored on a wild pitch from Zach Morris. Niggebruge, the shortstop, scored on a Joe Giacchino single.

But, that was all the Blue Hens would get, as closer Kevin Mooney came on in the eighth inning to record a six-out save. Mooney struck out three of the six he faced to earn his fifth save of the season.

With the win, the Terps improved to 31-13 on the season, and Delaware falls to 18-16.

The Terps travel to Newark, DE, tomorrow to finish the midweek home-and-home with the Blue Hens, as Taylor Bloom will make his second start of the season.

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