Maryland baseball’s offense entered Friday’s game having posted double-digit runs in its last seven games. Friday night was quite different, though, as the Terps saw themselves in a pitcher’s duel through the first five innings, facing a 2-1 deficit.
In the bottom of the fifth, Maryland’s bats came alive, though, and put up a five-spot which gave it a 6-2 lead. The Cornhuskers wouldn’t go down without a fight, but Maryland was able to score two runs in the bottom of the eighth to manage an 8-4 victory.
Nebraska’s offense wasted no time getting runs on the board, as junior second baseman Max Anderson demolished a no-doubt two-run homer to give the Cornhuskers an early lead in the first inning.
In the bottom of the first, the Terps responded immediately, getting a run back on a sacrifice fly from sophomore designated hitter Ian Petrutz.
Innings two through four were a pitcher’s duel between Maryland senior right-hander Nick Dean and Nebraska junior southpaw Emmett Olson. Both teams went scoreless in that span.
Dean’s day came to a close in the top of the fifth, with fifth year right-hander Kenny Lippman coming in for relief. Sophomore center fielder Elijah Lambros made a great play shortly after, robbing a would-be home run to keep it a one-run game.
“I don’t think I’ve been more proud of a kid and how he’s competed ... There’s no secret he had some forearm tightness a couple of weeks ago, and from pitch two that guy did not feel good,” head coach Rob Vaughn said.
Lambros’ highlight play seemingly set off the Terps’ bats. Junior catcher Luke Shliger stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second with one out and smacked a one-hopper to the wall for an RBI double, knotting the game up at two.
“I thought our defense was outstanding today. And I think when you have two tough teams matched up against each other with really good arms going, it’s gonna be a play here and there,” Vaughn said.
Then, the Cornhuskers intentionally walked junior shortstop Matt Shaw to load the bases for senior third baseman Nick Lorusso.
The powerful third baseman laced a two-run double down the third base line, with a third run scoring and Lorusso advancing to third after an error by the left fielder. The very next at-bat, a sacrifice fly scored Lorusso to give Maryland a 6-2 lead.
The Cornhuskers did keep things interesting, scoring a run in each of the seventh and eighth innings to cut the lead to two, but in the bottom of the eighth, the Terps scored two crucial insurance runs, with both fifth-year right fielder Matt Woods and Lambros taking home after wild pitches to secure the victory.
Three things to know
1. Lambros’ robbery got the Terps bats going. The Maryland bats were dormant until the bottom of the fifth inning, which immediately followed Lambros robbing a home run. The Terps would go on to pile on a five runs after the web gem.
2. Maryland won its ninth straight game. The victory over the Cornhuskers gave the Terps their longest winning streak of the season. Maryland is flaming hot at the right time, with the win putting it three games above Nebraska in the conference standings.
3. Defense helped the Terps to victory. Elijah Lambros led the charge on the defensive end, with two highlight catches that would’ve turned into runs for Nebraska. The defensive effort by the Terps was crucial in their success Friday, and they will will look to hold that momentum for the rest of the series.