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Terps Take Next Step Forward; Strong start by Shawaryn keys 5-3 win over Florida State
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Maryland met the challenge for a second straight day against a nationally top-five ranked team and moved one more step closer to its first Atlantic Coast Conference baseball title in 43 years.
Freshman starting pitcher Mike Shawaryn allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings, and the sixth-seeded Terrapins went on to defeat second-seeded Florida State by a 5-3 score in Friday’s first ACC Baseball Championship game at NewBridge Bank Park.
Maryland (36-19 overall) stands 2-0 in Pool B play following Friday’s win and Thursday’s victory over third-seeded and nationally top-ranked Virginia. A Virginia win over North Carolina in Friday evening’s session -- or a Maryland win over UNC on Saturday -- would put the Terps in Sunday’s 1 p.m. championship game.
“Obviously that's a crucial game for us in the tournament because it puts us in a pretty good position,” Maryland coach John Szefc said of Friday’s win.
Shawaryn (10-3) struck out six batters and walked three before departing with a 5-0 lead. The Seminoles (42-15) got to the Maryland bullpen for three runs in the eighth, but Maryland closer Kevin Mooney recorded five straight outs to earn his second save of the tournament and his 11th of the season.
“That was probably as good of an outing as Mike Shawaryn has had throughout the whole year,” Szefc said. “When you look at the fact that he threw 73 strikes and 116 pitches … he's been doing that for us the whole year, pretty much, not really shocking.”
Jose Cuas finished 2-for-3 and drove in three runs for the Terps, who posted their 11th consecutive win.
Shawaryn’s outing provided a painful bit of déjà vu for the Seminoles, who dropped a 5-1 decision to the right-hander from Carnys Point, New Jersey on March 8. In that game, Shawaryn worked 7 1/3 innings while allowing five hits and striking out five batters while walking three.
“Just very impressed with the University of Maryland,” Florida State coach Mike Martin said. “I felt their starter pitched another beautiful game, as he did in Tallahassee, and it's kinda like I told John, their head coach: I wished him good luck and told him I hoped I didn't see him again until Omaha.”
That would be the College World Series, which opens June 14. Much baseball lies between now and then, but what the Terps have already accomplished this week virtually assures they will be in the NCAA postseason mix when berths are announced on Monday.
Shawaryn said his previous success against the Seminoles proved helpful on Friday – but only to a degree.
“I would have to say yes, it helped a little bit, but going into every game you look at it as a separate game each time you go against an opponent whether you've faced them before or not,” Shawaryn said. “You look at that time as another baseball game and you need three strikes to win.”
Maryland parlayed two hits and pair of errors by FSU shortstop Justin Gonzalez into a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning of Friday’s game. Cuas drove home two runs with a bases-loaded double, and Tim Lewis added an RBI single.
“Bases loaded, I knew they were going to come at me with strikes,” Cuas said. “I was looking for anything I could drive into a gap. I got an off speed and I was able to drive it for a double.”
Shawaryn retired the first 14 Seminoles batters before Ben DeLuzio beat out an infield single with two outs in the top of fifth. FSU finished with four hits for the game.
Mike Compton (7-2) started on the mound for the nationally fourth-ranked Seminoles and took the loss. Compton pitched 6 1/3 innings while allowing seven hits, walking two batters and striking out three. Only two of the Terrapins’ five runs were earned.
Martin found some consolation in FSU’s three-run eighth inning.
“There is no ‘quit’ to our ball club,” he said. “That's what excites me. We will battle you for 27 outs, and we didn't throw the towel in and feel sorry for ourselves. We continued to battle.”