CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Maryland baseball team scored eight runs in the first three innings behind ace RHP Brian Shaffer and ultimately defeated Illinois 9-4 at Illinois Field Friday night.
The Terrapins (31-13, 14-5 Big Ten) received a balanced offensive performance that saw seven players reach base multiple times. Junior Kevin Smith led the offense with two extra bases hits and three RBIs.
Maryland took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Junior Zach Jancarski led off the game with a double to left center before sophomore Marty Costes was hit by a pitch. After sophomore Nick Dunn walked to load the bases, sophomore AJ Lee dropped down a bunt single that brought home Jancarski. Smith then doubled down the left field line to plate a pair of runs.
The Terps continued to roll offensively in the second. Junior Justin Morris opened the inning with a single before going to second on senior Brandon Gum's bunt single. After Costes walked to load the bases, Dunn singled to right field to plate Morris. Junior Will Watson sent a sac fly to center to score Gum for the second run of the inning before Lee singled to left to bring home Costes.
Senior Madison Nickens homered to lead-off the third to give the Terps a 7-0 lead. Maryland would load the bases for the third consecutive inning, which set up a Will Watson RBI walk.
Maryland's final run would come on Smith's RBI triple in the sixth that brought home Watson.
Terrapins' starter Brian Shaffer gave up two earned runs over eight innings, and added eight Ks. Shaffer now has 83 strikeouts on the season, a new career-high. He earned his 19th career win, which moves him to third all-time in school history.
Maryland and Illinois continue their three-game set tomorrow at 4 p.m. The contest will be broadcast live on BTN and fans can also listen live on the Maryland Baseball Network.