By Liam Beatus
An RBI single from Jason Goldstein in the top of the 9th inning proved to be the deciding run in a 5-4 loss for the Terrapins (25-21 10-8). Illinois (25-20, 9-9) was able to get the best of the Maryland’s bullpen as they scored three runs in the last two innings to win the series on the road.
Brian Shaffer did not have his best outing against the Fighting Illini, but he was still able to throw 7.1 innings allowing only four runs in his deep outing.
“It wasn’t my best stuff, a lot of my pitches got away from me in my later innings,” said Shaffer. “My slider wasn’t as sharp, my changeup I just couldn’t get over for a strike by any means and I had trouble locating my fastball. In the end that’s not going to win you the game.”
His record stays put at 5-3 after the no-decision. Shaffer struggled in the eighth inning when he loaded the bases on walk, a single and a hit-by-pitch. He was pulled in favor of Ryan Selmer who, with the score tied at 2, surrendered a go-ahead two-run single to Pat McInerney, giving the Fighting Illini a 4-2 lead.
For Illinois, Cole Belair started the game and only threw 3.1 innings allowing four hits and two runs (one earned), but removed suddenly after throwing only 56 pitches. Andrew Mamlic dazzled in four innings; he only allowed four hits and one run, shutting down the Terrapins offense from the 4th-7th innings.
“You have to score more than two runs for your starter at home on a Sunday and we didn’t do that,” said manager John Szefc. “That was the brunt of our problem, [it] was our lack of offensive production”
The Terps offense came alive in the bottom of the eighth inning trailing by two runs. With runners on second and third, Andrew Bechtold hit an RBI infield single and Zach Jancarski followed with a bloop single to left field that would tie the game at 4. However in the ninth inning, Mike Rescigno allowed three consecutive two-out singles that resulted in the Fighting Illini scoring the decisive fifth run. Rescigno who played an important role in shutting down a rally in the eighth, took the loss after struggling in the final frame.
Maryland’s defense was nothing short of impressive: Jancarski, Bechtold, and Kevin Bionic made numerous web gems that will not appear on the stat sheet, but should not go unnoticed.
Illinois bested Maryland, winning two out of three on the road and trail Maryland by one game in the Big Ten Conference. Maryland is in sixth place in the conference and Illinois is tied for eighth, and both teams are on the bubble of making the Big Ten playoffs. Maryland plays at West Virginia on Tuesday before coming back home to host Rutgers in a crucial conference series.