Terrapins baseball right-hander Mike Shawaryn didn’t look like an All-American in the first inning of the Terps’ season opener at Alabama on Friday.
On the third batter he faced, right fielder Chandler Taylor took him to deep right field to give the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead.
Afterward, Shawaryn, who allowed just four home runs in 17 appearances last season, stood in the dugout, pounding his first into his glove. When the ace came back out to the mound, he returned to performing like the pitcher who won 13 games last season, retiring eight consecutive batters. But it wouldn’t be enough as Alabama claimed a 3-1 win.
In the sixth inning after the Terps scored a run, Taylor got the best of Shawaryn again to give Alabama the lead. Shortstop Chandler Avant doubled and Taylor singled to drive him in, taking a 2-1 lead.
Despite Shawaryn allowing just three hits, Taylor’s performance against the Terps’ ace proved to be the difference.
While Shawaryn surrendered two crucial runs, the Terps offense struggled — recording just five hits. But coach John Szefc’s squad looked like it found an answer to right-hander pitcher Geoffrey Bramblett early.
Szefc preached patience at the plate last season, and the Terps followed that advice to tie the game.
After designated hitter Nick Cieri walked and third baseman Andrew Bechtold singled to left field, first baseman Kevin Biondic drew another walk to load the bases with two outs. Center fielder Zach Jancarski took advantage of the opportunity, walking in Cieri to knot the game at one.
But in the sixth inning, Taylor gave Alabama the lead again. And one inning later, left-hander Robert Galligan allowed the Crimson Tide to add an insurance run.
The Syosset, New York, native walked center fielder Georgie Salem and third baseman Chance Vincent, placing runners on second and third base. After pinch hitter Connor Short flied out to send Salem to third base, Avant singled to right field, driving in Salem to give his team a 3-1 lead.
And the Terps couldn’t regroup from the Crimson Tide’s scores — failing to record a hit the rest of the game – as Szefc works to create a strong batting order after losing five offensive players last season.
Last season, Shawaryn lost just two games. But he suffered his first loss of the year Friday when he couldn’t find an answer to Taylor. On Saturday, right-hander Taylor Bloom will try to give the Terps their first win of the season against Alabama.