by John Vittas
Maryland got just enough offense to beat Michigan State 2-1 in their first ever Big Ten Tournament game Wednesday night at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Terrapins’ ace Mike Shawaryn worked seven innings of one-run ball, striking out nine and walking only two. Shawaryn picked up his twelfth win of the season, which breaks his own school record from last year.
“It means a lot to me. It means a lot to the program,” Shawaryn said. “There’s a lot of guys that are great pitchers that came before me. It’s an honor.”
The righty is now 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA in four career postseason starts. He is 2-0 with a 0.64 mark in conference tournament games. He shut out No. 4 Florida State over seven innings of work at last year’s ACC Championships.
“You have success in tournaments like this with good starting pitching and good defense,” Maryland head coach John Szefc said. The Terps didn’t commit an error in the game.
Shawaryn did allow one run on four hits through the first three innings, putting the Terps in a shallow hole.
But the deficit was short-lived. Trailing 1-0 in the fourth inning, the Terps got the first two men aboard when Kevin Smith reached on an error and Brandon Lowe singled him to third. Third baseman Jose Cuas drove in Smith on a groundout to third base, tying the game at one.
Maryland would string together singles from Nick Cieri, Kevin Biondic and Kevin Smith to take the lead in the fifth. Smith’s go-ahead single up the middle came with two outs in the inning and plated Nick Cieri, who returned Wedensday night after missing two months with a hand injury.
“I worked with coach a little bit on trying to hit the first strike and trying to be a little more aggressive,” Smith said. “I was taking too many fastballs early in the count. I was trying to take that away and see the first one and put a good swing on it.”
Lowe finished 2-for-3 with a walk, and Kengo Kawahara reached base in two of his three plate appearances.
With the win, the Terps (37-20) move into the winner’s bracket in the double-elimination Big Ten Tournament. They will take on Drasen Johnson and No. 4 Illinois tomorrow night at 10 p.m. MBN will be live from Target Field at 9:40.