Shaffer’s arm, late-inning offense leads Terps to sixth straight win

Behind junior pitcher Brian Shaffer’s seven solid innings and designated hitter Will Watson’s three RBIs, the Maryland Terrapins won their sixth straight game, defeating the visiting Bryant Bulldogs 7-1.

Shaffer tied his career-high with eight strikeouts in the win and allowed just one run on five hits.

“Early on in the game I was able to locate pretty well,” Shaffer said. “I incorporated the change-up today, which is really exciting.”

Shaffer retired the first eleven Bulldogs he faced before shortstop Jimmy Titus’ RBI single gave Bryant the lead in the fourth inning.

While Shaffer then continued his strong start, Maryland’s offense struggled to do much against Bryant’s starter Steve Theetge.

Maryland left five runners on base through the first five innings and was not able to break through until the sixth.

After a leadoff single by Marty Costes and a walk drawn by Brandon Gum—one of his three in the game—Watson recorded the first of his three RBIs on a run-scoring single. A sacrifice fly by left fielder Madison Nickens gave the Terps their first lead of the game, a slim 2-1 margin.

Maryland extended that lead and took control of the game in the seventh.

Two singles, one by Zach Jancarski and one by Nick Dunn, followed by a hit by pitch forced Bryant to make a pitching change. Then, against reliever Jack Ipsen, Brandon Gum drew a run-scoring walk and Watson delivered again, driving in a pair with a two-run single.

Maryland tacked on two more in the eighth to secure the 7-1 lead.

“The whole offense towards the end was great,” Shaffer said. “I knew they were going to come around at some point, they always do.”

Shaffer came out of the game and reliever Andrew Miller was successful in closing the door. Miller threw two more scoreless innings, including a 10-pitch eighth inning in which he struck out the side, to extend his scoreless innings streak to 6.2 innings to start the season.

“[Miller] was lights-out,” Shaffer said. “When he’s on, man, he’s unhittable. It’s really exciting to watch him.”

The Terps will look to win the series with the Bulldogs on Saturday, as they send right-hander Taylor Bloom to the mound.