By Chris Rogers
Starting in place of the injured Taylor Bloom, Brian Shaffer gave up five runs over 3.1 innings Friday as the Terps (19-18, 5-5) fell at home to Big Ten bottom feeder Purdue (7-28, 2-11), 7-1.
Bloom, the scheduled Friday starter, rolled his ankle during fielding practice Thursday and was not available to pitch in the series opener, so Shaffer (4-3), who was originally slated to pitch Saturday, got the nod. One of Maryland’s best pitchers this season, he entered the game with a 2.51 ERA and a .217 opponent’s batting average.
But he struggled out of the gate Friday, surrendering a solo home run to Kyle Johnson just two batters into the game. After settling down and pitching a 1-2-3 second inning, Shaffer ran into trouble again in the third, surrendering a single and two walks to load the bases with only one out. The next hitter, Brett Carlson, lined a single to left, scoring two runs. Left fielder Marty Costes tried to gun down Kyle Wood going to third, but his throw was off the mark, and Wood broke for home. Third baseman Andrew Bechtold recovered the ball quickly and threw him out at the plate, but Carlson ended up on third on the play. Nick Dalesandro followed with an RBI single, and Purdue took a 4-1 lead.
In the fourth, a single and an RBI double by James Jewell spelled the end of the afternoon for Shaffer, who completed just 3.1 innings for his shortest start since a 2.1 inning outing Feb. 28 against Rhode Island. Left-hander Tayler Stiles came on in relief and worked out of the jam. He allowed a run on an infield hit in the fifth, but tossed a scoreless sixth before being relieved by Ryan Selmer, who threw a perfect seventh. Zach Guth surrendered a solo homer to James Jewell in the eighth, which extended the Boilermaker lead to 7-1.
Purdue starter Gavin Downs entered the game with a 6.27 ERA, but was dominant against Maryland, allowing one run on seven hits over eight innings. The Terps’ lone run came in the second inning, when Costes hit a two-out double and hustled home all the way from second on an infield single by Anthony Papio.
The Terps had other opportunities to score, especially in the late innings, but couldn’t capitalize. In the seventh, Costes reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and moved to third when Papio was called safe at first on an error by the second baseman. But Bechtold hit a harmless fly ball to right as the Terps failed to trim the Purdue lead. One inning later, Maryland loaded the bases with two outs for Kevin Biondic, who entered play hitting a team-best .339. But he grounded into a fielder’s choice, and the Terps again were kept off the scoreboard. They went quietly in the ninth, getting a man to second with two out before Dan Maynard struck out to end the game.
The Terps will look to even the series Saturday at 2 p.m. Mike Shawaryn is the scheduled starter for Maryland, while Matt Frawley will take the hill for the Boilermakers.
Bloom’s injury is not considered serious, and he is expected to start Sunday.