By Jacob Weinberger
Timely offense and a dominant, record-setting performance by RHP Mike Shawaryn propelled the Terps (23-18, 8-5) to a 7-1 victory over Penn State (24-19, 9-7) in University Park, Pennsylvania Friday.
Shawaryn became the Terps’ all-time strikeout leader with his 273rd punch-out in the third inning against shortstop Conlin Hughes. The junior also set a personal record with his first ever complete game.
The Terps capitalized on some sloppy defense by Penn State early on. A first inning two-out single by left fielder Marty Costes scored second baseman Nick Dunn, who had reached second base on a throwing error by Hughes.
Maryland plated two more runs in the third inning on a RBI single by shortstop Kevin Smith and a throwing error by starting LHP Taylor Lehman. Lehman attempted to pick-off Costes at first base, but his throw sailed wide, allowing Smith to score from third base with two outs.
The Nittany Lions entered the game ranked last in team defense in the Big Ten with a .956 fielding percentage.
The Terps’ offense kept clicking in the fourth inning, as catcher Nick Cieri and right fielder Anthony Papio led off with a hit-by-pitch and a single, respectively. Designated hitter Madison Nickens brought them both home with a two-out, two-strike single up the middle to extend the lead to 5-0.
Lehman exited the game after four innings. He surrendered six hits, a walk, and five runs (three earned) while striking out one batter over 81 pitches. He was handed the loss.
Shawaryn was in cruise control up until the sixth inning, allowing just two hits. However, a leadoff walk and a one-out double had Penn State in business. The Terps gladly traded a run for an out when designated hitter Tyler Kendall followed with a routine ground ball to Dunn. Shawaryn got the next batter, first baseman Willie Burger, to line-out to right field to end the inning.
The Terps added two more runs on three hits, including a solo home run by Nickens in the ninth inning to extend the lead to 7-1.
Shawaryn finished the game with a perfect five-pitch bottom of the ninth inning to secure his first career complete game. He allowed a mere four hits and one earned run while striking out six batters in 106 pitches.
The series will conclude tomorrow at 3 p.m. when the Terps and Nittany Lions play a double-header. Taylor Bloom (5-2, 2.1o) and Sal Biasi (4-4, 4.05) will face off in the first game, and Brian Shaffer (4-3, 2.94) will oppose Justin Hagenman (6-1, 2.81) in the series finale, which will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Both games can be heard on MBN with Matt Present calling the action.