Maryland Tops Bryant to Win Series

By Connor Bell

The Terrapins finished off their weekend series this past afternoon, holding off the Bryant Bulldogs 8-6 in the final game of the series.

The Terps’ starting pitcher this game was sophomore Brian Shaffer, who went seven innings with 97 pitches and six strikeouts. More importantly Shaffer only let up one earned run on five hits to pickup his first win of the season.

For a majority of the game, everything seemed to be going in the Terps favor, in a game where solid pitching met solid batting. Maryland jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as third baseman Marty Costes hit a single up the middle to drive home Madison Nickens who was on third after a single earlier in the inning.

The Bulldogs quickly earned the run back as a two hit inning for Bryant led to a tie between the two teams halfway through the third inning. This inning also included an error on the Terps’ third baseman Andrew Betchold, after he could not field a difficult infield ball in time to get the out at first base.

After Maryland regained the lead in the bottom of the third thanks to a sacrifice fly, the Terps and Bulldogs then continued to trade outs. It was not until the bottom of the fifth inning until Maryland finally had an offensive explosion. Nick Dunn and Nick Cierri got the inning started with back-to-back singles to right field. With two runners on base a wild pitch from James Davitt allowed Dunn to score from third for the first run of the six run inning.

The rest of the fifth included hits from Anthony Papio, Andrew Bechtold, and Justin Morris; Morris ended up clearing the bases with a three RBI double after Papio, Bechtold and Costes all got on before Morris drove a line drive right down the third baseline to put up an 8-2 score for the Terps at the end of the fifth.

Shaffer continued to be lights out for the Terps for the next two innings until he was replaced by Robert Galligan who faced three batters, retiring one, walking the other and hitting the last one. Head coach John Szefc called in Ryan Selmer to finish the inning.

Then it all came down to the top of the ninth with the Terps maintaining their six-run cushion. You could sense all the players and crowd felt like the game was over, until Bryant’s Mickey Gasper, a pinch hitter fresh off the bench, hit a bomb out to left field to lead off the ninth inning to make it 8-3 Terps.

After another base hit from the Bulldogs, Szefc had seen enough and brought in Taylor Stiles to replace Selmer. Stiles only made matters worse as he gave up three hits, which resulted in two more runs for the Bulldogs, and even committed a throwing error that put a man on first base.

The score now was 8-6 Maryland with still no outs for the Bulldogs. But then all of a sudden, as if in perfect succession, Maryland catcher Justin Morris caught Bryant Senior Robby Rinn trying to steal second base as Rinn was running to second only to find his teammate Matthew Albanese sitting there. Rinn forced Albanese to move off second so he could have some place to slide, making Albanese an easy target to be tagged out with a few throws from the Maryland infield.

With one out, the momentum still appeared to be on Bryant’s side, but by then it had been raining for a good hour and the umpires had called for play to be suspended until the storm let up. This completely took all the wind out of Bryant’s sails, as play finally resumed after about 40 minutes and the game quickly ended with the next two Bryant batters flying out to cement the Terps’ win.

The key to the Terps’ win was finding that offensive explosion they’ve been dying to have, and also another solid performance from a starting pitcher, a performance all three pitchers had showed throughout the series. The only difference was the Terps actually won when their bats could back up solid pitching that only gave up two or three runs.

This victory puts Maryland at 7-8 on the season with the Terps next opponent, UC Irvine, coming this Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. The loss puts the Bulldogs at 9-4 on the season, the victory would have been their first series win in program history versus a Big Ten team.

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