Maryland baseball fell behind early and couldn’t quite catch up against Northwestern. After winning three elimination games in a row, the Terps are out of the Big Ten Tournament.
Northwestern jumped on Hunter Parsons to take an early 6-0 lead. The Terps battled back, closing the score to 6-5 and having bases loaded with no one out in the eighth. However, the rally ended there. Brandon Gum had the big hit for Maryland, a grand slam in the seventh inning.
A mental error hurt Maryland in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Joe Hoscheit singled through the box. Matt Hopfner hit a slow grounder to Kevin Smith, who looked to second. When the play wasn’t there, his throw to first was too late. Jack Claeys then deposited a pitch over the left field fence to put Northwestern up 3-0.
Maryland managed to get a runner on third with less than two outs in the first and second against Northwestern starter Cooper Wetherbee, but couldn’t get the run home either time.
The Wildcats took a commanding lead in the bottom of the second. Northwestern started off with consecutive singles. Parsons’ pick-off attempt sailed over Smith’s head into center field, and both runners advanced. After a popout, Ryan Selmer relieved Parsons. But a single up the middle by Jack Dunn made it 5-0, and Hopfner later added an RBI single to put the Wildcats up by six runs.
Selmer settled down and threw five scoreless innings, keeping the game within reach for Maryland.
Wetherbee faltered in the seventh, and it opened the door for a major Terps rally. With one away, Smith singled to left and pinch hitter Dan Maynard drew a walk. Both runners advanced on a ground out by Justin Morris. Right-hander Pete Hoffman relieved Wetherbee, and his walk to Zach Jancarski loaded the bases. Brandon Gum delievered, sending a 2-0 pitch over the center field fence for a grand slam.
In the top of the eighth, A.J. Lee drew a leadoff walk. That brought in Northwestern’s best reliever, freshman left-hander Sam Lawrence. Watson beat out an infield grounder. Smith laid down a bunt that dribbled its way along the line, loading the bases. Lee scored when Maynard walked, trimming the deficit to a run. But that was all the Terps would get, as pinch hitter Nick Cieri popped out on the first pitch and Jancarski hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Selmer hit Conner Lind with a pitch to begin the bottom of the eighth, and was subsequently relieved by Taylor Bloom. The junior right-hander induced a 5-4-3 double play, and got a lineout to end the inning.
The Terps went down in order in the ninth. With the loss, the Terps were eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament. Now they await Monday’s NCAA Tournament selection show to find out if and where they’ll be playing next.