Not even the Maryland baseball team's ace could solve the team's struggles.
Right-hander Brian Shaffer, who leads the Terps' weekend starters in ERA, has been all but a sure thing in each of his Friday outings. Coach John Szefc's team has lost just three of Shaffer's starts this season, not including his appearance against Nebraska that was shortened and continued the next day because of rain. In Maryland's 2-1 loss to High Point on Thursday night, Shaffer dropped his fourth.
Shaffer pitched eight innings, allowing two runs and five hits while striking out seven. However, it wasn't enough.
Center fielder Josh Greene's RBI single in the first followed shortstop Conner Dunbar's one-out double and gave the Panthers a one-run advantage. First baseman Jordan Sergent's RBI groundout in the fourth, which came after High Point had runners on second and third and no outs, doubled the Panthers' lead.
It was the type of outing assistant coach Ryan Fecteau is likely now used to but one that couldn't lift the Terps to a win in a situation when they desperately needed one, having dropped their last three weekend series.
The inability to score Thursday plagued the Terps, who have now lost three in a row for the first time since LSU swept them in the second weekend of the season.
While the Panthers were able to capitalize on an early opportunity, Maryland positioned itself to respond. Left fielder Will Watson doubled to open the second, but he was stranded on second base to end the frame.
Without center fielder Zach Jancarski, who is day-to-day with an oblique injury, Szefc shuffled the lineup. It didn't matter, though. Between the third and seventh innings, 11 straight Terps were set down. Six High Point pitchers held the Terps to one run.
The offensive opportunities were so rare that Szefc opted to have Nick Cieri pinch hit for designated hitter Dan Maynard, who represented the tying run, in the seventh. Cieri struck out to end the frame, one of eight Terps strikeouts on the day.
Shaffer, even after allowing a pair of runs, settled in and retired 15 consecutive Panthers hitters. At that point, though, it didn't make much of a difference.
Watson's two-out RBI single in the ninth made it a one-run game, but Cieri popped out to end the rally.
With two games remaining this season and the Big Ten tournament looming, the Terps' skid continued.