A seven-run fifth inning was the big difference in Maryland baseball’s Northwestern’s 11-3 win over Maryland in the middle game of their weekend series.
The Terps (20-28, 9-11 Big Ten) were looking to wrap up another home series and continue to extend their lead in the Big Ten. Tyler Blohm took the mound for Maryland, looking to improve upon his team-leading eight wins. He was opposed by Hank Christie for Northwestern (33-16, 15-8 Big Ten), which came into the game with a 3-3 record and a 4.31 ERA.
Northwestern started the scoring in the third inning, when Nick Paciorek hit a solo home run over the tall center field fence.
Maryland answered back in the bottom of the inning with a home run from catcher Justin Morris to tie the game at 1-1. The Terps then got two straight singles from Zach Jancarski and Brandon Gum, including a hit and run, to put runners at the corners with no outs. Marty Costes drove Jancarski home on a fielder’s choice, putting Maryland ahead 2-1.
In the fourth, the Wildcats answered with two of their own. Joe Hoscheit singled and Matt Hopfner walked to start the inning. Jack Claeys then hit a ground ball to AJ Lee, whose throw to first base was mishandled by a covering Nick Dunn, allowing Hoscheit to score. Connor Lind then brought Hopfner home on an RBI groundout, giving Northwestern a 3-2 lead.
In the fifth, Northwestern broke the game wide open. Blohm was taken out after four innings, and Ryan Hill came in for relief. After retiring the first batter of the inning, Hill let up four straight hits: two singles, a two-RBI triple for Hoscheit to right-center field and an RBI double for Hopfner, to put the Wildcats up 6-2.
Hill was taken out after walking Claeys, and replaced by Jamal Wade. Wade didn’t fare much better, not even retiring a batter in his short outing. Of the four hitters he faced, he walked three and gave up an RBI single to Lind. Two of those walks yielded runs for Northwestern.
Wade was then replaced by Jared Price, who got the Terps out of the inning, but not before letting up the seventh run of the inning on a fielder’s choice by Alex Erro, giving the Wildcats a commanding 10-2 lead, which they didn’t relinquish.
After the third inning, Christie didn’t allow a hit again until the eighth, when Nick Dunn hit a solo home run to make it 10-3.
The Wildcats got that run back in the ninth, after Hunter Parsons, who had retired the first six hitters he faced in his relief appearance, let up an RBI single Jake Schieber, giving them an 11-3 lead.
The series will conclude Sunday at 1 pm on Senior Day at College Park. The game will be broadcast on Maryland Baseball Network.