Despite a gutsy pitching performance from Taylor Bloom in his first start back since suffering a concussion several weeks ago, Maryland baseball wasn’t able to put enough runs on the board for him Sunday. Nebraska defeated the Terps 5-2 in a must-win game to keep Maryland’s conference tournament hopes alive.
Maryland (20-27, 6-11 Big Ten) looked well on its way to a series win after taking an 8-1 lead in the second inning of Saturday’s game against Nebraska (22-23, 6-10). Then, the walls collapsed and the Terps gave up 16 unanswered runs as the Huskers routed Maryland, 17-8. Counting Sunday’s game, Nebraska scored 21 straight runs before Maryland got on the board in the ninth.
In his first start in about a month, Bloom pitched very well. He ended up throwing seven innings, giving up four earned runs, walking three and striking out four. Despite giving up the four runs, Bloom’s efforts were crucial to a team who needs as much injury luck as possible.
Bloom retired the first 10 Nebraska hitters in order, but surrendered the lead in the fourth. Scott Schreiber took Bloom deep to right field, a solo home run that put Nebraska up 1-0.
The Huskers weren’t done in the fifth, putting up a three-spot on Bloom and the Terps. The first four Nebraska batters got on base with a single, double, two RBI double from Ben Klenke, and single. Klenke came around to score on a Jesse Wilkening RBI sacrifice fly, putting Nebraska up 4-0.
The story for the Huskers other than the offense, was starting pitcher Matt Warren, who threw 6.2 scoreless innings, giving up five hits and walking one, while striking out four Maryland batters.
Nebraska added an insurance run in the eighth on no hits. Two walks and a fielding error from Taylor Wright—who let the ball go right under his glove—loaded the bases for the Huskers for Carter Cross, who pinch hit for Klenke. Cross recorded an RBI on a sacrifice fly, tacking onto the Nebraska lead at 5-0.
Maryland got some life in the ninth, but it was too little, too late. Zach Jancarski walked, advancing to second on a ground out and scoring on a Justin Morris single. Morris moved over to third on a Randy Bednar single, eventually scoring on a wild pitch that moved up Bednar to second, cutting down the Nebraska lead to 5-2, but that was all. The Terps came up just short at the end.
The Terps had their fair share of chances, but came up unlucky against the Huskers. The Maryland offense, despite getting seven hits on the day, also either lined into or grounded into four double plays in the game, including a big double play turned in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and Kevin Biondic up.
This was certainly the biggest conference game of the season, and the Terps came up empty. However, they still do have two upcoming series in order to make a run to qualify for the Big Ten tournament. Maryland will host Rutgers starting Friday, and has a midweek contest Wednesday against Towson.