The Terps had mustered just six hits in their first two games against the Wildcats, resulting in RPI-killing losses. Worse, Maryland was 3-7 in their last ten games, five of those losses by a margin of a single run. The Terps needed a confidence booster in the worse way before heading to Minneapolis in a few days for the B1G tournament.
Today's starters were RHP Ryan Selmer (3-0, 1.62 era) vs. LHP Reed Mason (2-9, 5.72 era). Selmer has made 27 appearances so far in his freshman season, all in relief. Today's game would be Selmer's first collegiate start, and it was a good one.
Stop me if you've heard this one before
For the third day in a row, Maryland had trouble scoring. Through seven innings Mason looked like an ace pitcher, holding the Terps to just four hits and not allowing a run. Meanwhile the Wildcats scored three runs to put the Terps in a huge hole. In the bottom of the first, Kyle Ruchim and Zach Jones started Northwestern's day by hitting back-to-back singles. The Wildcats had runners on first and third with no one out. Scott Heelan flied out to center, scoring Ruchim. However Jones also tried to advance and was thrown out at second.
In the Northwestern half of the third, Connor Lind and Jones singled. Heelan grounded back to Selmer, who threw him out at first. But Justin Morris' attempt to complete the double play proved costly, as his throw sailed into left field and both runners scored. Northwestern now led 3-0.
Terps do just enough
In the eighth, Mason was pulled in favor of Nate Walker. Big mistake. LaMonte Wade led off with a walk. Kevin Smith, who was the only Terp to swing a big bat in all three games, scorched a double down the left field line. Jake Stolley, who got the save in yesterday's game, came in to pitch. Brandon Lowe stroked a single to left center, scoring both Wade and Smith. Lowe stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. Jose Cuas ran the count full before homering over the left-field wall to give the Terps the lead.
Kevin Mooney had come into pitch for Selmer in the seventh inning. Selmer's final line: 6ip, 5h, 3r, 1er, 0bb, 1so. In the bottom of the eighth Northwestern loaded the bases on a single and two walks. But Mooney got Jack Mitchell to fly out to center to end the threat. Despite giving up two more walks in the ninth, Mooney was able to keep the Wildcats in check and preserve the victory.
Mooney moved to 3-0 on the season. Overall, the Terps upped their record to 36-20, 14-10 in the B1G. The win kept Maryland's post-season hopes alive. The Terps are seeded fourth in the B1G tournament, which starts Wednesday, facing Michigan State at 9 p.m.