Coming off a 20-run performance against Nebraska on Sunday, Maryland baseball geared up for a game against a formidable opponent in Northeastern on Tuesday.
But against an elite pitching staff, the Terps’ offense fell silent in their midweek finale, mustering just two runs in a 9-2 loss.
Northeastern immediately made its presence known, as graduate first baseman Tyler MacGregor left the ballpark to give the Huskies a two-run lead in the first inning.
Fifth-year pitcher Kenny Lippman had a back-and-forth start for the Terps. After those first two batters, he retired his next six and struck out five. But the Huskies wouldn’t go away, with another bloop and blast making the score 4-0 in the third inning. Lippman’s strikeout stuff was still there — he collected seven total strikeouts — but the early damage set the tone for the rest of the game.
The star of the show was Northeastern’s elite pitching staff, which entered with an ERA of 3.58. Huskies starting pitcher Jake Gigliotti achieved the rare feat of shutting down the Maryland offense in his first three innings.
After Gigliotti came out in the fourth, the Terps finally put runners on the board via a double by junior shortstop Matt Shaw and an RBI single by sophomore designated hitter Ian Petrutz.
But Maryland’s pitching couldn't hang with the Huskies’. Sophomore Ryan Van Buren allowed four runs and three earned runs in two innings of work, allowing a second home run to MacGregor that made it 8-1 in the fifth inning. MacGregor later hit his third home run of the game in the ninth.
Maryland junior catcher Luke Shliger hit an RBI single in the fifth, but that was followed by a long silence of the bats for both teams.
The Terps brought out redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Nigel Belgrave and junior right-handed pitcher Nate Haberthier to keep the deficit reachable for the Terps, and they both performed well in their appearances, combining for one hit and one walk in three combined innings.
Unfortunately for Maryland, the Northeastern bullpen was equally good. Michael Gemma surrendered the only two Maryland runs of the game, and the rest of the bullpen combined for no runs, one hit and three walks.
With the loss, the Terps dropped to 33-17 overall and 10-4 in midweek games. This weekend, they’ll face Minnesota for their last home games this season in a conference series.
Three things to know:
1. Northeastern was the better team Tuesday. Maryland’s offense was unstoppable over the past three weeks, but the Terps took four innings to plate their first run on Tuesday. On the flip side, Northeastern’s offense had its way from the get-go in a seven-run victory.
2. Maryland’s chances of hosting a regional were diminished. After the loss, Maryland’s hopes of hosting a regional are all but over. The Terps are a sure thing to make the the NCAA Tournament, but they need a strong two weeks if they want to win the Big Ten regular-season title for the second straight year.
3. Maryland has not met the challenge in midweek games. Maryland’s record in midweek games dropped to 10-4 on Tuesday, but few of those wins came against notable opponents. The three main midweek challenges the Terps had this year were Northeastern, William and Mary and West Virginia — all home games and all games they lost.