By Chris Rogers Spatuzzi
Behind solid pitching and timely hitting, the Terrapins defeated the visiting Princeton Tigers 5-0 Sunday at home in College Park.
Maryland starter Willie Rios pitched six shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out five. He cruised through the first three innings, allowing just a first-inning single to Princeton second baseman Danny Hoy. He ran into trouble in the fourth, however, after an error and a double gave the Tigers men on second and third with two outs. Rios escaped the jam by inducing a groundout. He allowed a man to reach second in each of the next two innings, but the Tigers couldn’t capitalize on either opportunity.
“He threw a lot of strikes and was just in the zone,” Maryland head coach John Szefc said of Rios after the game. “He’s really made a monstrous jump from the preseason. He gets ahead of hitters, and when he gets behind a guy he’s able to reset himself.”
Meanwhile, Princeton lefty starter Keelan Smithers was in trouble right away. In the first inning, Terrapin leadoff hitter Brandon Lowe reached on an error and moved to second on a groundout, before catcher Kevin Martir singled him home. Jose Cuas and Tim Lewis followed with two more singles, which netted the Terps another run. A third run scored in the inning on an RBI groundout by Nick Cieri, giving the Terps a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
Smithers settled down after this, allowing just one more hit, a walk, and a hit batsman over the next six innings. It turned into a real pitching battle between him and fellow southpaw Rios, as each was efficient and hard to solve for the majority of the game.
Rios was pulled after six innings, and freshman reliever Ryan Selmer pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth for the Terps, allowing one hit while striking out two.
In the bottom of the seventh, Maryland center fielder Anthony Papio hit a comebacker that knocked Smithers down. He was slow to get back up, but was able to finish the inning without any trouble.
Chris Bodurian came on in relief for Princeton in the eighth. Maryland shortstop Kevin Smith led off the inning with a walk and stole two bases before coming home on an RBI single by Kevin Martir. Martir was caught stealing, but the next batter, Cuas, walked and stole second. He took off for third and Bodurian tried to pick him off, but the throw was wide and the ball rolled down the left field line. This allowed Cuas to score with the second run of the inning and the Terrapins’ fifth of the game.
Alex Robinson came on for the Terps in the ninth and retired the Tigers in order to close out a 5-0 home victory for Maryland.
“It was definitely a great win,” Cuas said after the game. “We had a tough weekend last weekend so it was good to get our confidence back up before opening up the Big Ten this coming weekend.”
The Terps take on Princeton again Monday at 11 a.m. before heading on a two game road trip to North Carolina to take on Elon University.