After Penn State scored three unanswered runs, Maryland baseball found itself in its first extra-innings game of the season.
Maryland graduate student Nick Robinson took the mound to begin the 10th inning and got off to a shaky start.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Penn State left fielder Tayven Kelley smacked a two-RBI double that bounced to the left-center field wall. Walker found his way home before the inning ended, giving Penn State a three-run lead.
Although Maryland loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th inning, it was not able to find the winning run, eventually falling to the Nittany Lions, 6-4, in front of a packed crowd in College Park.
“I thought we fought really hard there at the end,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “We were just a swing short or a pitch short of getting that done today.”
Thanks to a 1-2-3 inning from junior left-handed pitcher Ryan Ramsey, a lone Maryland run was enough for the Terps to capture the lead in the first.
Sophomore catcher Luke Shliger led off the bottom of the opening inning with a double to right-center field. Fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne then scored Shliger with a single off the middle but was thrown out at first after junior third baseman Nick Lorusso hit a hard line drive to shortstop.
Ramsey was even better in the second inning, striking out the side in just 10-pitches to maintain Maryland’s 1-0 lead. That inning gave Ramsey four strikeouts out of the six batters he faced.
After a 10-pitch inning of its own, Penn State finally got its first base runner with a leadoff single up the middle in the top of the third. Another two-out single gave the Nittany Lions another base runner, but nothing came of it as a groundout to sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw ended the inning.
While the Nittany Lions struggled to convert, Maryland bolstered its advantage in the bottom of the third.
Penn State junior pitcher Kellan Tulio walked three batters to load the bases with just one out. Lorusso capitalized on the golden opportunity, slapping an RBI single to center field and forcing a pitching change. A Shaw sacrifice fly brought home one more for the Terps, giving them a three-run lead.
Ramsey’s shutout continued through the fifth, striking out two batters and allowing just one hit in the fourth and fifth innings.
However, the Terps failed to build on their lead despite Ramsey’s brilliance.
Sophomore second baseman Kevin Keister led off the fifth with a double down the left field line and Shliger walked directly after, opening the door for Maryland to add insurance. But for the Terps, who still found themselves ahead 3-0, their promising inning ended abruptly after a combination of a strikeout and a double play stripped them of an even larger lead.
Penn State then quickly made it a tight game with one swing of the bat.
Center fielder Johnny Piacentino crushed a two-run homer over the left field wall, cutting Maryland’s lead to 3-2 in the top of the sixth. Keister and Shaw made sure the Terps didn’t forfeit their lead after surrendering another base runner, turning two on a timely defensive play to finish off the inning.
Ramsey got things under control in the seventh with his fourth 1-2-3 inning of the day. Saturday’s outing from Ramsey was the third time this season, as well as the second consecutive start, that the junior went for at least seven full innings on the mound.
The Nittany Lions then pounced on Maryland, who failed to add a run in four straight innings.
Penn State tied the game in the top of the eighth off a two-out RBI single from star catcher Matt Wood. Ramsey then walked his second batter of the inning, but right fielder Troy Schreffler tracked down a fly ball at the warning track for the final out of the inning as the score was locked at three apiece.
The Terps couldn’t match Penn State in the bottom of the eighth, despite a brief two-out rally. Shaw and senior first baseman Maxwell Costes each got on base, but a strikeout put Maryland’s hopes to bed.
After holding off the Nittany Lions, Maryland had runners on first and second with two outs. With an 0-2 count, Alleyne was struck out on a questionable call that had Vaughn fired up heading into extras.
After allowing back-to-back singles, graduate student Nick Robinson seemed to have gained his composure, forcing two straight outs. Robinson struggled to finish the inning as the Nittany Lions now hit back-to-back doubles, scoring three runs in the process.
Maryland loaded the bases with no outs to start the tenth, but could only come up with one run as three straight outs followed.
Three things to know
1. Despite the loss, Ryan Ramsey continues to show why he is one of the best pitchers in the Big Ten. The one-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Week had himself a day, allowing just three runs and seven hits in eight innings, the most he’s pitched this season. The impressive eight-strikeout game added to his season total of 40, good for ninth in the Big Ten. Prior to today, Ramsey was near the top of the conference in multiple statistical categories, including second in ERA (2.11) and opponent batting average (.159) and first in wins (6). Ramsey simply continues to deliver strong performances and Saturday was no different, proving that he is one of the top pitchers in the conference.
“The longer Ryan Ramsey’s in the game, the more the other dugout doesn’t like it,” Vaughn said. “He deserved the win today, he was great today.”
2. Penn State’s relief pitching kept them in the game. The Terps' bats were hot to begin the game, scoring three runs in the first three innings. But once Penn State’s relievers took over, Maryland’s offense fell flat, failing to score for the next six innings. The three relievers pitched a combined 7.2 innings, recording nine strikeouts and only allowing one run and six hits.
“Every pitcher has different tells, has different pitches, so our approaches might change slightly, but, you know, sometimes you get a hit, sometimes you don’t, and that’s part of the game,” Shaw said.
3. Maryland still has a chance to win the series on Sunday. In their first weekend of Big Ten play, the Terps are in a position to get a series win over Penn State, despite Saturday’s loss. If Maryland wins on Sunday, it will capture its first Big Ten series win of the year. With sophomore Jason Savacool taking the mound on Sunday, Penn State will likely endure a struggle to produce runs, leaving it up to the Terps’ offense to get the job done. If Maryland can hit as it did in the opening game of the series on Friday – producing eight runs off 10 hits in the 8-4 win – Maryland should be in a good spot to overcome the Nittany Lions in College Park.