With one out and a double play in order, Rutgers got the groundball it was looking for that could get the Scarlet Knights out of the fourth inning down only two runs.
The flip to second was true, but shortstop Kevin Welsh threw the ball away on the relay, sending AJ Lee home with Maryland’s third run to extend the inning. A triple and another error brought two more Terrapins home, the mistakes helping Maryland break the game open and take a five-run advantage.
With a lead in hand, starter Brian Shaffer held Rutgers in check and shortstop Kevin Smith homered before exiting with an injury, lifting Maryland to a 5-1 win in Piscataway Saturday.
Smith drilled a breaking ball over the left field wall in the second inning for his sixth home run of the season. Two and a half innings later on the other side of the ball, he had trouble with a popup hit from Mike Martinez.
The ball fluttered into left field and bounced off Smith’s glove. The junior shortstop dove to snag it after the initial bobble but couldn’t secure it and landed awkwardly in the process. He came up rolling his left arm in circles, trying to loosen his shoulder while signaling the trainer to check him out.
With the game stopped, coach John Szefc brought Smith into the dugout, where he was taped up and sent back to the field. Szefc replaced his top shortstop prospect with Patrick Hisle an inning later.
Smith exited after Rutgers’ defensive meltdown. Following the failed double play, right fielder Marty Costes belted an RBI triple into the gap. A batter later, Costes scored when third baseman Christian Campbell couldn’t cleanly gather a grounder hit by first baseman Brandon Gum.
Campbell got one run back for Rutgers in the sixth by homering off Shaffer, the only run the right-handed ace gave up. Shaffer tossed seven innings and allowed five hits to win his fourth in a row.
Taking his sixth loss already, Rutgers starter Serafine Brito gave up five runs (three earned) in six innings.
Center fielder Zach Jancarski collected at least one hit against all three Rutgers pitchers, going 4-for-5 with a double and triple. He reached on an error in his lone hitless at-bat and came around to score on Gum’s RBI single.
Gum returned to the starting lineup after sitting out for almost all of last weekend’s series against Michigan with a hamstring injury. Sliding back into the cleanup spot, he went 1-for-3.
Maryland will send starters Taylor Bloom and Tyler Blohm to the mound tomorrow in their doubleheader with Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights will counter with righties John O’Reilly and Gaby Rosa.
The first game is scheduled for noon, with the second to begin half an hour after the first ends.