No. 1-seed Maryland baseball found itself in another extra-innings duel with No. 8-seed Indiana, the first time in Big Ten Tournament history that the same teams played into extra innings multiple times in the same tournament.
With each team struggling to produce runs in the previous four innings, the game seemed like it would be won by whichever team scored next.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Michael Walsh was in a groove after an 11-pitch 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10th. Walsh struck out two of Indiana’s first three batters in the 11th inning, but he surrendered a hit by pitch and back-to-back walks loaded the bases.
Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Will Glock relieved Walsh and instantly worked an 0-2 count against freshman third baseman Josh Pyne. After fouling off the first two pitches, Pyne got a hold of the third one, ripping it up the middle.
Pyne’s single gave the Hoosiers a 6-4 lead that they never let go of. Senior right-handed pitcher Braydon Tucker struck out two of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the 11th inning, including a game-ending strikeout of the Big Ten Player of the Year, fifth-year center fielder Chris “Bubba” Alleyne.
This is the first time that a No. 8-seed has eliminated a No.1-seed in Big Ten Tournament history. Maryland still has the NCAA Regional to look forward to, but they are officially out of the Big Ten Tournament race.
Junior right-handed pitcher Nick Dean was on the bump to start Saturday’s elimination game, and he had it going early. Dean retired the side in four batters, striking out two in the process.
Indiana redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Jack Perkins, who the Terps briefly saw on Thursday night, clapped back with an eight-pitch frame as neither team scored in the first inning.
The top of the second was a different story, however. Indiana graduate student second baseman Tyler Doanes popped a fastball up to deep center field, scoring Indiana redshirt junior designated hitter Matthew Ellis for the first run of the game.
After another quiet offensive inning for the Terps, Indiana tacked on one more in the top of the third thanks to three Maryland errors.
It started when junior third baseman Nick Lorusso couldn’t cleanly field a ground ball. Then, Alleyne misjudged a flyball and overthrew Lorusso at third, making way for Indiana redshirt sophomore center fielder Bobby Wahlen to score the lone run of the inning.
Freshman designated hitter Ian Petrutz led off the bottom of the third with a double to center field, and things were finally looking up for the Terps’ offense. Unfortunately for Maryland, not much was made out of Pertutz’s hit as three straight outs ensued.
Dean held the Hoosiers at bay in the top of the fourth inning, recording his first 1-2-3 inning of the day.
In the bottom of the fourth, Maryland finally broke through as junior right fielder Troy Schreffler continued his phenomenal Big Ten Tournament. With one out on the board, sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw drilled a double to right field and then found home as Schreffler singled through the right side, his seventh hit of the tournament.
The Terps got right back to work in the bottom of the fifth inning, tying the score at two. Sophomore second baseman Kevin Keister and sophomore catcher Luke Shliger started the two-out rally with back-to-back singles. Alleyne made up for his previous errors with a clutch single to center field, scoring Keister from second to even the game.
Indiana quickly retook the lead in the top of the sixth as Ellis roped an RBI double down the right field line, forcing Dean out of the game. Redshirt freshman Nigel Belgrave relieved Dean and secured the final out of the inning with a three-pitch strikeout.
Perkins was also pulled in the sixth inning as freshman left-handed pitcher Ryan Kraft was on the mound to begin the bottom of the sixth. Kraft only threw 13 pitches before he was replaced, surrendering a walk and a single.
Tucker was thrown right into the action as soon as he stepped on the mound. Senior first baseman Maxwell Costes laid down a bunt right back to Tucker, who scooped up the ball and overthrew Doanes at first base. This costly mistake scored Shaw and Schreffler, giving Maryland its first lead of the game, 4-3.
Senior right-handed pitcher Sean Heine and sophomore right-handed pitcher Gavin Stellpflug started the seventh and eighth inning for the Terps. The duo successfully protected Maryland’s lead, giving the offense a golden opportunity to run away with the game in the bottom of the eighth.
This didn’t come to fruition as Tucker silenced the Terps’ offense in eight pitches, putting the pressure on Stellpflug to close out the game.
Indiana senior shortstop Phillip Glasser led off the top of the ninth inning with a double down the right field line, and then advanced to second on a single from redshirt sophomore center fielder Bobby Whalen.
Shaw collected the first two outs of the inning, stepping on second and firing to first for a double play, but Glasser scored in the process, tying the game 4-4.
Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Terps with Shaw at the plate. On a 2-1 count, Shaw grounded out to first, forcing another extra-innings game between Maryland and Indiana.
Walsh was thrown into the fire in the top of the 10th and delivered. Walsh struck out one en route to Maryland’s third 1-2-3 inning of the game.
Tucker responded with a 1-2-3 inning of his own, forcing an 11th inning of play.
Walsh was able to get the first two outs in the top of the 11th inning, but after loading the bases, Glock relieved him.
Pyne’s two-RBI single gave the Hoosiers all the insurance they needed, as they officially ended Maryland’s Big Ten Tournament stay with a clean 11th inning.
Three things to know
1. Nick Dean did his job. After junior left-handed pitcher Ryan Ramsey struggled heavily in Friday’s game, Dean came out and gave Maryland a chance to win on Saturday. Dean pitched 5.2 innings, allowing just five hits and two earned runs while striking out five batters. Despite this performance, the Terps’ offense couldn’t keep up, falling to Indiana, 6-4.
2. Troy Schreffler has been the best player on the field. As he had done so many times this season, Schreffler showed up when the rest of the offense didn’t. With only 12 hours of rest under their belt, the Terps offense was extremely sluggish, but Schreffler was there to kick-start the offense in the bottom of the fourth, driving in the first Maryland run of the game. The junior recorded eight hits, four RBIs and one home run in the first three games of the Big Ten Tournament, including two hits and one RBI on Saturday.
3. Maryland is officially eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament. For the first time in Big Ten Tournament history, a No. 8-seed has eliminated a No. 1-seed. The offense struggled all game long as the short rest didn’t do the Terps’ any favors. Head coach Rob Vaughn will now have to rally the troops and get ready for the NCAA Regional, which begins on Friday, June 3. The Terps will discover their fate Monday, when college baseball’s selection show will air at noon on ESPN2.