After a 3-2 win against No. 8-seed Michigan State, Maryland baseball looks to clinch a spot in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals when it takes on No. 4-seed Nebraska in the second round.
Last year, the Terps lost two straight games after their opening round victory and failed to reach the tournament semifinals as the No. 1 seed. They’ll have a chance at redemption this year, though, with a bout against the Cornhuskers.
Thursday, May 25, approximately 7 p.m. EST, Charles Schwab Field, Omaha, Nebraska
TV: Big Ten Network
Streaming: Fox Sports App
How did they get here?
No. 1-seed Maryland Terrapins (38-19, 17-7 Big Ten)
The Terps narrowly got past No. 8-seed Michigan State in a pitchers duel in the opening round. Junior catcher Luke Shliger had two doubles, with his liner in the eighth inning proving to be the winner.
The Terps also turned five double plays, which tied a Big Ten Tournament record. On the mound, redshirt junior right-hander David Falco Jr. threw two 2⁄3 no-hit innings for the save.
No. 4-seed Nebraska Cornhuskers (32-21-1, 15-9 Big Ten)
Despite a low RPI ranking, the Cornhuskers clinched the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten tournament. They only lost two Big Ten series this season, against Maryland and Iowa, respectively.
The Cornhuskers have a high powered offense, highlighted by a pair of first team All-Big Ten players in junior infielders Brice Matthews and Max Anderson
Head coach Will Bolt is looking to guide Nebraska back atop of the Big Ten, just as he did in 2021. In all likelihood, the Huskers will need to win the Big Ten Tournament if they want to make it to the NCAA Tournament.
What happened last time
Nebraska came to College Park the weekend of May 5., and took one of three games from the Terps. The teams split the first two contests, but Maryland won Sunday’s game, 20-5.
During the series, Maryland senior third baseman Nick Lorusso broke the program single-season RBI record.
Three things to watch.
1. A trip to the semifinals is on the line. The Terps were upset in the second round against eventual champions Michigan last year, and were then eliminated by Indiana. If the Terps can flip the script and take down Nebraska Thursday, they’ll advance with added insurance in this double-elimination tournament.
2. Can the bats come back alive? Maryland’s bats haven’t been consistent enough as of late, scoring just three runs in two its past three games.
Against one of the best offensive lineups in the conference, the Terps will need to have the offense clicking early and often.
3. How sustainable is this pitching success? Maryland’s pitching has been surprisingly solid of late, and was they key to victory Tuesday. Despite the recent success, the relievers have had some command issues, which could be dangerous against the Huskers’ potent offense.
Needless to say, the Terps need their aces, senior right-handed pitcher Nick Dean and junior right-handed pitcher Jason Savacool, to step up the next two games.
The road ahead
While Thursday’s winner will get an extra day of rest and an automatic bid to the semifinals, the loser has to play the winner of No. 5-seed Rutgers and No. 8-seed Michigan State in an an elimination game on Friday.