In the top of the 11th inning in Omaha, Nebraska, No. 1-seed Maryland baseball was about to go down a run to the No. 8 seeded Indiana Hoosiers as graduate second baseman Tyler Doanes smoked a ball into right field.
But right fielder Troy Schreffler Jr. picked it up and slung a rocket towards sophomore catcher Luke Shliger at the plate. Shliger snagged it and tagged redshirt junior catcher Matthew Ellis just in time for the second out of the inning.
Redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Nigel Belgrave got the ensuing batter, pitcher Jack Perkins, to hit a weak groundout, giving the Terps a chance to win the game in the bottom of the inning.
A leadoff double by sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw followed by a Schreffler bunt single and a Maxwell Costes hit by pitch loaded the bases with no outs. Just two batters later, freshman designated hitter Ian Petrutz stepped up in the clutch, taking a pitch to the elbow with the bases still loaded.
Petrutz reaching base brought in Shaw, sealing the win for Maryland. The Terps fought hard to win its first round matchup in miraculous fashion against Indiana, 6-5.
Maryland will play the winner of the late night game between No. 4-seed Illinois and No. 5-seed Michigan at 9 p.m. on Friday night.
After the Terps took care of business in the top of the first, they managed to get on the board first in the bottom of the inning. An RBI single grounded past third base for junior third baseman Nick Lorusso to bring sophomore catcher Luke Shliger home to make it 1-0 early.
The next two innings were a display of impressive defense, with both pitchers having some memorable moments to stifle the offensive power of the Terps and Hoosiers.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jason Savacool had Maryland grooving early, not giving up a run in the first four innings. Even when his team wasn’t able to score, the righty managed to keep the momentum on his team’s side with five strikeouts in that span.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Ty Bothwell had three strikeouts in the first inning for Indiana despite letting up the first run. He totaled six strikeouts throughout the first three innings, with Maryland not scoring again until the fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth, Maryland put together an offensive explosion to extend its lead.
Junior outfielder Bobby Zmarzlak started things off with a double to left field to score a run before sophomore second baseman Kevin Keister brought Zmarzlak home with a double to center field. Finally, fifth-year centerfielder Chris Alleyne popped one up into the outfield that couldn’t be tracked down to give him an RBI double as well.
All of the sudden, it was 4-0 after four innings with Maryland looking confident. But after an uneventful fifth, an energetic sixth inning for the Hoosiers gave them some momentum.
Zmarzlak wasn’t able to hold onto a fly ball in the outfield from shortstop Phillip Glasser, which brought the runner on third home to put Indiana on the board.
Indiana had two runners on second and third with one out in the top of the sixth, but it wouldn’t be enough. A strikeout from Savacool and a fly out to right field got the Terps out of a tough jam, keeping it a 4-1 ball game.
After failing to score in the sixth, Maryland gave up the lead in the seventh as Savacool ran out of steam.
First, freshman left fielder Carter Mathison hit a solo homer way beyond the right field wall. Then, with two outs, Savacool balked with a runner on third base — scoring one more — before giving up an RBI single to Glasser to tie the game up at four.
This ended the sophomore’s time at the mound, as redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher David Falco Jr. came in to stop the bleeding by forcing a ground out to end the top of the inning.
Falco Jr. came up big in the top of the eighth, forcing a ground out into a 6-3 double play to end the top of the inning for Maryland. But the Terps were stifled in the eighth after redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Reese Sharp struck three batters out in the eighth to send it tied to the ninth.
It was a lot of the same for Falco Jr. in the top of the ninth, getting the Hoosiers to go down in 1-2-3 order to give Maryland a chance to win it with a score in the bottom of the ninth. But it didn’t matter, as the Terps did the same exact thing to send it to extras.
In the top of the 10th inning, a leadoff walk followed by a Glasser single gave the Hoosiers runners at first and second with no outs. After, a sacrifice bunt moved freshman Evan Goforth to third and Glasser to second. On an ensuing fielder’s choice, Goforth beat senior first baseman Maxwell Costes’ throw home and escaped the tag to give Indiana a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the 10th.
But, the doubles kept on coming. Zmarzlak started things with a double, and freshman designated hitter Ian Petrutz drove him in with a hard-hit single to right field, tying the game at five apiece. Petrutz advanced to second as Indiana right fielder Hunter Jessee could not cleanly field the ball.
That wouldn’t matter, though, as the next three Maryland batters went down in order to send this game to the 11th inning.
Maryland put in Belgrave at the end of the 10th, and he managed to stop the Hoosiers from scoring even with two runners on base.
Petrutz’s hit by pitch was enough to give the Terps the walk-off victory in the bottom of the inning.
Three things to know
1. Savacool starts out hot, but cools off. Through the first five innings, the sophomore righty was pitching a shutout. He had thrown six strikeouts and allowed only one hit to silence the Hoosiers as his team held a four-run lead. But after that point, he started to run out of gas. Savacool allowed four runs in the next two innings to allow Indiana to tie the game at four, one of those runs being caused by a balk. A game that looked in control for the Terps was thrown into jeopardy by Savacool, who was replaced by David Falco in the seventh.
2. Maryland left a lot of runners on base. Despite scoring three runs in one inning all off RBI doubles, Maryland could’ve generated a lot more offensive production if it had just been able to execute with two outs. Through eight innings, the Terps left a whopping eleven runners on base at the end of innings. In the sixth and seventh innings, when the Hoosiers were making their comeback, Maryland left a total of four runners on base and three of them were in scoring position. Then, they left a runner on second in the eighth and tenth innings, when Maryland needed a run to retake the lead. It was a rare off day in the RBI department for the Terps dugout.
3. Maryland doubles down on doubles. In this game, when a Maryland player had a productive hit, odds were that it was a double. The Terps set a Big Ten Tournament record for the most doubles ever hit in a game with nine. They also managed to score three of their six runs off of doubles, and they just kept coming. Six out of the nine batters in the order hit doubles, with three of those batters hitting two or more doubles. While it was rarified air in Big Ten Tournament history, Maryland baseball made the double its special on Thursday night.