Maryland baseball’s magic number for at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title sat at one on Friday. With a win, the Terps would have clinched the title for the second season in a row.
After taking the lead in the fifth, the Terps looked to be in prime position to do so.
Both teams were in the midst of a tight pitching battle as the score stood 3-2 in favor of the Terps, but Penn State junior infielder Jay Harry hit a two-RBI single that took back the lead.
Maryland didn’t score the rest of the game, and ultimately fell to the Nittany Lions, 5-3.
Unlike Thursday’s game — in which there were 32 runs scored — both team’s starting pitchers and defense were solid Friday.
Penn State sophomore right-handed pitcher Tommy Molsky held Maryland’s offense relatively quiet in his outing, tossing five scoreless innings. Meanwhile, Maryland junior right-hander Jason Savacool had an up-and-down start, surrendering four runs on eight hits. He did fan six batters, though.
Penn State struck first in the second inning when graduate catcher Thomas Bramley hit a two-RBI double.
Even so, it was night and day for the Maryland defense from Thursday to Friday. It executed a gorgeous double play between junior catcher Luke Shliger and sophomore first baseman Eddie Hacopian with the bases loaded in the third. The Terps committed no errors and stranded nine Penn State runners the entire game.
Maryland’s bats finally clicked in the fifth. Hits by junior shortstop Matt Shaw, senior third baseman Nick Lorusso and sophomore outfielder Ian Petrutz drove in three runs to give the Terps a 3-2 lead.
But the two-run single in the fifth from Harry proved too much for the Terps, who couldn’t get anything else going.
Penn State senior left-handed pitcher Ryan Partridge pitched three innings of scoreless baseball in what might have been the last appearance of his career to secure the win for the Nittany Lions.
With the loss, the Terps dropped to 16-7 in Big Ten play ahead of their regular-season finale at Noon Saturday
Three things to know.
1. Maryland’s offense cooled off. It was a rare occasion in which Maryland’s pitching staff lacked run support. The Terps’ three-run rally in the fifth was the only time they scored all game, as Penn State’s Molsky and Partridge shut down the Terps all game long.
2. The Terps need to wait another day. Maryland was hoping to clinch the Big Ten regular-season title on Friday, but will have to wait until tomorrow with the loss. It has a chance to clinch Friday evening if Indiana loses against Michigan State, but can also can clinch if it wins Saturday’s affair against Penn State.
3. Defense kept the game close. Both teams stranded a total of 16 batters, with both team's defenses committing no errors after a disastrous showing on Thursday. While both pitching staffs gave up a good amount of hits, there weren’t many dangerous balls hit.