PITTSBURGH, Pa. – With the game tied at one, second baseman Brandon Lowe smacked a two-RBI triple to the gap in right center as part of a three-run fifth inning as Maryland earned a 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh Saturday night at Charles L. Cost Field.
The victory secured the Terps’ fourth ACC series win of the season and their second in a row, and extended Maryland’s winning streak to seven matching its season long.
"We have been able to put some really good at-bats together in clutch situations recently and we have minimized our errors,” said head coach John Szefc. “That is what is going right."
"Brandon is a good hitter no matter where he's hitting in the lineup,” said Szefc. “He's gotten good very quickly in terms of being able to turn fastballs around and hitting with two strikes."
On the mound, Mike Shawaryn established a new Maryland single-season record with his ninth win of the year. The freshman righty allowed one run on three hits, all of which came in the first inning, and struck out four in 6-2/3 innings of work.
As a team, Maryland (32-19, 14-14 ACC) did not allow a Panther hit after the first inning and retired 15 of the last 17 batters of the game.
"We are getting really good starts right now,” said Szefc. “In Mike's case, it initially didn’t appear to be a good start, but when you look up at the end of night he only gave up one run on three hits. That guy does as good of a job as anyone I have been around in minimizing damage."
Despite giving up a run in Pitt’s first at-bat, Shawaryn and the Terrapin defense did a superb job of limiting the damage in the opening inning. The Panthers (22-26, 11-15 ACC) loaded the bases on consecutive singles and a walk. Shawaryn and Steven Shelinsky then engaged in a 10-pitch battle that saw the Terps’ hurler finally retire the Panthers’ designated hitter on pop up behind home plate.
Eric Hess followed and got the Panthers on the board with a single to left. But Shawaryn locked in on Dylan Wolsonovich and induced a ground ball to Cuas at third who went home to start an inning-ending double play.
The Terps responded in the next half inning to tie the ball game behind a RBI single from Cieri. Blake Schmit led off the frame with a single through the right side of the infield. Schmit then stole second and advanced to third as the catcher’s throw sailed into center field.
With Terrapin runners at the corners and one out, Cieri hit a chopper through the right side to score Schmit and tie the game. Maryland nearly took the lead two batters later when Charlie White laid down a safety squeeze. Pittsburgh starter Joseph Harvey’s throw home appeared to arrive late, but the home plate umpire called Anthony Papio out and the Terps settled for one run in the inning.
Lowe gave the Terps the lead in the top of the fifth with a two-RBI triple that rolled to the wall in right center. Kevin Martir started the inning with a single to center and moved to second on a well-placed bunt by White, which he beat out for a hit.
With one out, Lowe turned on a 1-0 pitch and sent a screamer to the gap in right. Martir came home from second and White scored all the way from first as Lowe slid in with his second triple of the season putting the Terps up by two. Cuas followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Lowe.
Maryland tacked on a run in the sixth to take a 5-1 advantage. Nick Cieri began the inning with his sixth double of the year and the Terps’ ninth of the series. After a sacrifice bunt moved Andrew Amaro to third, who came on to pinch run for Cieri, the Terps loaded the bases after a hit-by-pitch and a walk. Lowe then picked up his third RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to left.
Bobby Ruse made his team-leading 23rd appearance of the season and pitched a perfect eighth and ninth innings to close out the win. Maryland and Pittsburgh conclude the series Sunday at 2:30 p.m.