The Maryland baseball team will look to bounce back this weekend in High Point, North Carolina, after losing three consecutive weekend series.
The Terps (33-17) will close out the regular season with a series against the High Point Panthers (27-20). Both teams closed out conference play with disappointing rubber match losses to below .500 teams. The Panthers dropped a series to Radford (22-28), while Northwestern (21-28) bested Maryland.
After rattling off seven-straight wins, the Terps dropped six of their next 11 games. The pitching staff has struggled during the stretch. In each of those losses, the opposing team scored six or more runs.
There have been a few constants on the mound during Maryland’s recent struggles, though. Apart from a two-inning start shortened due to inclement weather, staff ace Brian Shaffer has consistently delivered. The Big Ten leader in ERA and innings pitched kept the Terps in the game in consecutive eight-inning outings, earning him a win in both games.
Sophomore reliever John Murphy has been the other constant. The righty didn’t even travel with the team to start the season and now he is one of the most reliable arms in the bullpen. He’s made five appearances spanning nine innings over the two-and-a-half week stretch.
The Merchantville, New Jersey, native has stifled opposing offenses, allowing zero runs and just four hits in those nine innings. Murphy is team leader in ERA for pitchers with more than one inning pitched, tossing a 1.27 ERA.
Reliever Ryan Selmer has kept his ERA down as well, apart from an outing against Indiana where he recorded only two outs while surrendering four earned runs. He threw a season-high four innings Sunday against Northwestern and allowed just one run on seven hits.
For the most part, the offense has remained consistent. The top of the order, consisting of center fielder Zach Jancarski, first baseman Brandon Gum and right fielder Marty Costes, has combined for a .326 average. The team is tied for third in the Big Ten with a .375 on-base percentage, and its 92 stolen bases ranks third.
Maryland’s .275 team batting average matches up favorably with High Point’s .257 clip, as does the Terps’ 3.84 ERA compared to the Panthers’ 4.33 team ERA.
Shaffer will oppose another righty in Andrew Gottfried on Thursday. The Friday matchup will be a freshman faceoff between Tyler Blohm and Drew Daczkowski, while the series finale will see veteran Taylor Bloom pitch against rookie Trevor Holloway.
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