By Megan Smedley
After a midweek loss to no. 11 North Carolina, Maryland returned home this weekend to take on Princeton and complete their second-straight weekend sweep.
Brian Shaffer was on the mound Friday night for the Terps. Shaffer pitched an absolute gem going eight scoreless innings, striking out ten while only allowing three hits. He improved his record to 2-1 and shrunk his ERA to 1.65 with Friday’s win.
Princeton starter Chris Giglio Jr. got through the first five innings with ease. However in the sixth inning, Maryland bats came alive. Small ball got things rolling to start the inning. Brandon Gum singled to left center followed by Nick Cieri’s single to center field. Will Watson then drilled a single to left center, scoring Gum and putting the Terps on the board. That would be it for Giglio Jr. with his final line being five and a third innings allowing seven hits while striking out one. Kevin Smith stepped to the plate and blew the game open as he ripped a three-run home run over the left field wall. At the end of six, Maryland led 4-0.
That was the all the Terps would need as Shaffer’s dominance in the circle would last for the majority of the game. Andrew Miller came in to close the game and the Terps would take game one 4-0.
Taylor Bloom took the mound Saturday afternoon running into a little trouble early. In the top of the second, Max West ripped a double to right scoring Ramzi Haddad and putting the Tigers up 1-0. Maryland bounced back in the bottom of that inning thanks to an RBI single from AJ Lee scoring Brandon Gum. Princeton retook the lead in the third with an RBI single from right fielder Nick Hernandez.
Maryland slowly chipped away, tying the game in the fourth inning. A sacrifice fly from Lee tied the game at two a piece. In the fifth inning, Maryland took the lead with a single from Marty Costes brought Zach Jancarski to the plate.
The Terps broke open the game in the seventh inning adding three runs. Will Watson singled to right scoring Gum. Madison Nickens ripped a double to right scoring Watson. Nickens would later score on a sacrifice fly from Lee. Lee went 1-2 on the day with three RBIs. After seven, Maryland was up 6-2.
Taylor Bloom settled down after the third inning. He went six and two-thirds allowing two runs on six hits while striking out four. Maryland’s bullpen finished up the game without allowing any more runs. Maryland took game two 6-2.
Looking for the sweep, head coach John Szefc sent freshman starter Tyler Blohm out on the mound Sunday afternoon. Blohm had a strong outing last weekend against Bryant where he went six innings and struck out six. Blohm’s dominance continued on Sunday. He pitched a strong seven scoreless innings, struck out eight and only allowed two hits.
Madison Nickens got the Terps on the board in the second inning with a solo shot to right field. The homer was Nickens’ third of the year.
In the third inning, Brandon Gum hit a double to right field. After stealing third, Gum scored on a throwing error by Princeton catcher Alex Dickinson. Maryland was up 2-0 after three.
After strong pitching from Blohm and reliever Jared Price, Ryan Selmer ran into some trouble in the top of the ninth. After giving up a leadoff double, Selmer was relieved by Andrew Miller in his third straight appearance. Miller walked the first batter he faced but was quickly able to settle down with the go ahead run up to bat. Paul Tupper flied out leaving Maryland two outs from a sweep. Freshman Brendan Galvin hit into a game-ending double play securing Maryland’s victory.
Maryland improves to 12-6 after beginning the season 1-5. The team travels to North Carolina for a midweek series against UNC-Wilmington. They return home to open up the Big Ten season with a weekend series against Michigan.