By Ben Harris
Consistently working ahead of hitters, Mike Shawaryn dazzled in Maryland’s series opening 1-0 win Friday tossing eight pristine innings of one-hit ball.
After surrendering his lone hit to Rhode Island’s second batter, Shawaryn forced star second baseman Chris Hess to ground into an inning ending double play, exiting the mound with an emphatic yell and a fist pump.
It was clearly a turning point for Maryland’s ace. Beginning with Hess – the first inning’s final batter – Rhode Island hitters faced 10-straight two-strike counts. After 11 batters, every Rhody starter had fallen into a two-strike hole.
Despite a seemingly tight strike zone, Shawaryn poured it in against Rhody hitters all afternoon, noting postgame his ability to work effectively inside, outside, up and down in the zone.
“I took that same mentality [from Alabama] of attacking batters, but when you’re able to command your pitches, it’s like having four pitches: two different fastballs, a slider and a changeup.”
Similar to his debut, Shawaryn regrouped after surrendering a first inning hit. Last Friday, he recorded eight straight outs after a first inning home run. Today he set down 20 of 21 after a first inning single. No Rhode Island hitter reached second base on the day.
A fourth inning hit batter was Shawaryn’s only other blemish on a frigid afternoon in College Park, Maryland. Both Rhode Island base runners were nullified by double plays in the following at-bat.
A hoard of radar gun-toting scouts watched the junior right-hander face the minimum 24 batters in eight innings and end his start with the Shawaryn-esque dominance the Terps have become accustomed to. He set down his last 13 batters in order after the hit batsman, throwing 67 of his 91 total pitches for strikes (73 percent).
Just one half of the pitcher’s duel that cut through the chilly Friday afternoon wind, Shawaryn barely out dueled Rhode Island starter Steve Moyers.
The senior lefty matched Shawaryn’s eight innings, allowing four hits and one costly unearned run. Singles from Kevin Smith and Nick Dunn in the fourth set the table for a throwing error from Hess on the back end of an attempted double play, plating Maryland’s only run. Moyers was tagged with the tough-luck loss despite lowering his ERA from 9.00 to 3.00 on the season.
“In my mindset I’m ready to go out every inning,” Shawaryn said of his expectations about pitching in the ninth. “Once you start thinking ‘am I going to go out or not,’ you lose that edge that you may have had. I just prepare for every inning and if they tell me you’re out I trust their decision and I trust the relievers behind me.”
Ryan Selmer picked up his second save in the win, finishing the shutout with a clean three-groundout ninth inning. Maryland kept Rhode Island on the ground all afternoon, forcing 14 outs on the turf compared to just six in the air.
Game 2 will be played tomorrow, Saturday at 2:00 p.m. featuring Rhode Island’s Tyler Wilson (0-1, 12.60) and Maryland’s Taylor Bloom (1-0, 5.40 ERA).
Postgame sound bites from head coach John Szefc and winning pitcher Mike Shawaryn: