Maryland baseball wasted a golden opportunity add space in the Big Ten standings Thursday, blowing a late three-run lead in a 6-5 loss to Indiana.
Up three entering the bottom of the eighth, Maryland’s bullpen collapsed. Ryan Hill and Grant Burleson allowed a combined three baserunners and one run without recording an out, forcing Rob Vaughn to go to his closer. John Murphy struck out two, but Luke Miller made sure to not be the third, taking Murphy deep to give Indiana the lead. The next pitch Murphy threw was behind Ryan Fineman’s head, and it got the right-hander ejected from the game and capped off the disastrous eighth inning.
The bullpen’s failure waisted a strong Hunter Parsons start, as the righty allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts through six innings. However, he only threw 77 pitches, as his day was cut short due to a weather delay.
Maryland opened the scoring in the second, as Zach Jancarski homered to left field with Will Watson already on base, giving the Terps a 2-0 lead. However, Indiana got a run back in the bottom of the inning with Miller’s first home run, a solo shot.
Two innings later, the Hoosiers tied the game on a bizarre play. With Mike Gorski already on first, Logan Sowers singled to center field off Parsons. As Gorski made his way to third, Jancarski’s throw was cut off by AJ Lee, and the Terps were able to get Sowers, trying to advance to second, in a rundown. However, Gorski took advantage and scored while the Terps were focused on Sowers at second, and that tied the game.
However, Maryland retook the lead in the sixth, as a Taylor Wright single scored Watson, who had walked and stolen second base in the frame. The sixth inning was Indiana starter Jonathan Stiever’s last, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks while striking seven out as well.
With a new pitcher in the seventh, the Terps took advantage. Lee led the inning off with a double, and Nick Dunn’s single moved him to third before Costes’ sac fly brought Lee home to double the lead.
Then came the lightning, leading to a two-hour weather delay.
After returning to the field, the Terps continued to pile on in the eighth, scoring a run for the third consecutive inning. Justin Morris doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch, and Wright brought him home with another RBI single.
After the delay, Ryan Hill relieved Parsons in the most important appearance of his season, up two. Hill responded with an impressive seventh inning, setting Indiana down in order without allowing a baserunner. However, he came out for the eighth as well, starting the inning by walking the leadoff batter and allowing single to the next hitter.
With the tying run up, Rob Vaughn went with Grant Burleson to get the lefty-lefty matchup. In response, Matt Lloyd singled to right, scoring a man from second and cutting Maryland’s lead to two. Burleson only faced one batter and couldn’t get the job done as Vaughn went to John Murphy to clean up the mess.
Murphy started off strong, striking out the first two batters he faced. Then Miller took him deep for the lead, and Murphy was ejected a batter later. In addition, Justin Vought was also ejected for pushing Fineman in the small scuffle that came after the pitch. By rule, both players are suspended for Friday’s contest.
In the ninth, Costes walked to lead off the inning, but the Terps couldn’t capitalize. Biondic, Watson and Jancarski all couldn’t extend the rally.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Michigan State fell to Ohio State as the Buckeyes scored six in the ninth to secure the victory. Additionally, Nebraska lost to Illinois and Rutgers lost to Minnesota, eliminating the Scarlet Knights from Big Ten contention. Maryland got lucky that all its pursuers also lost, allowing the Terps to still control their own destiny.
Maryland needs to bounce back quickly Friday, as the Terps and Hoosiers face off again at 6 p.m. ET.