COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland freshman right-hander Mike Shawaryn struck out a career-high nine and Tim Lewis came through with a clutch RBI single in the eighth to lead the Terps past No. 25 Georgia Tech, 4-1, Saturday afternoon at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium to clinch the series.
Shawaryn, who entered the weekend tied for third in the ACC in wins, earned his seventh victory of the season after allowing one run on five hits while striking out a nine over six innings of work. The Carney’s Point, N.J., native struck out seven of the first 10 batters he faced.
“We’ve been putting ourselves in good position to win series, we just haven’t been able to finish it,” said head coach John Szefc. ”Today, Mike [Shawaryn] was very good on the mound. That’s about as good a pitch-to-defense game as you’re going to see without it being a shutout. Shawaryn was outstanding. The bullpen was very effective.”
“Last couple starts, I have just not been myself; attacking hitters, throwing strikes,” said Shawaryn. “I was determined to come back out and be myself today. Coach [Jim] Belanger always says, you put in all the work during the week and this is your time to shine. I just wanted to come out and establish what I had and get back to my old ways.”
Clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth, the Terps (24-13, 9-10 ACC) tacked on two insurance runs with RBI from Lewis and Anthony Papio. With one out, Lewis scored Cuas from third with a single up the middle through a drawn in infield to give the Terps a two-run lead. Two batters later, Anthony Papio executed a perfect safety squeeze allowing Andrew Amaro to score from third.
“In 1997 when I was at Marist, we won the Northeast Conference championship on a walk-off squeeze,” said Szefc.
“If you put it down it’s an indefensible play. But, you got to do it correctly. So that’s why we practice it every day because you never know when you’re going to need it to cushion a lead or win a game.”
Cuas ignited Maryland’s two-run eighth with a double to the gap in left center and advanced to third when Tech catcher Mitch Earnest was called for catcher’s interference allowing Kyle Convissar to take first. With no outs, Georgia Tech (24-16, 10-10 ACC) pulled the infield in. But Lewis took a 1-0 pitch and drove it back up the middle for a RBI single.
A superb defensive effort in the top of the eighth put the Terps in position to add to their lead in the bottom of the inning. With closer Kevin Mooney on, the Yellow Jackets loaded the bases on a pair of singles and an intentional walk.
With one out, Jacket shortstop Connor Justus hit a chopper over Mooney and towards second base. Blake Schmit scooped the ball, stepped on second and fired to LaMonte Wade at first, who picked the throw out the dirt to end the threat.
Mooney surrendered a walk to start the ninth but retired the next three hitters, two on strikes, to earn his seventh save of the season. With 16 career saves, Mooney now ranks second all-time in school history.
The Terps opened the scoring in the first behind two walks and a single from Brandon Lowe, who finished 3-for-3. Charlie White came home to put the Terps up one on a 6-4-3 double play. Maryland added to its lead in the fifth when Martir lined a double down the left field line to start the frame. After advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt, Martir scored on a wild pitch.
Georgia Tech cut the Maryland lead to one with a two-out RBI single from A.J. Murray in the sixth. But Shawaryn responded by striking out Justus in the next at-bat to minimize the damage.
Maryland and Georgia Tech conclude the weekend series Sunday at 1 p.m. from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.