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Maryland baseball walks off Iowa, 8-6, to start crucial weekend series

The Terps blew a four-run lead in the ninth, but AJ Lee delivered the winning homer.

Maryland baseball Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Maryland baseball started the final weekend of the regular season with a dramatic 8-6 walk-off win against Iowa on Thursday night in College Park.

Maryland took a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning, but leaked oil and allowed the Hawkeyes to tie the game against senior closer John Murphy. But AJ Lee delivered a two-run homer to left in the bottom of the ninth to give the Terps the win.

In his final start at Bob “Turtle” Smith stadium, senior Hunter Parsons threw eight strong innings and seemingly made an early Maryland lead stand up. The right-hander allowed just three runs, only two of them earned, scattering nine hits, walking two and striking out four. Maryland’s ace threw 127 pitches, but had his 10th victory of the year spoiled.

Lee had three hits, including the walk-off home run. Maxwell Costes hit his team-leading 11th home run, and Michael Pineiro added two RBIs.

The Terps took a 2-0 lead in the first inning via some aggressive baserunning and timely hitting. Lee singled, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. He came home when Taylor Wright singled through the middle. Wright also swiped second and scored on a two-out single by Pineiro.

Maryland extended its lead to 4-0 in the third. Lee collected his second straight single and Costes blasted a two-run home run, his 11th of the season.

An error helped the Hawkeyes get on the board in the top of the fifth. Ben Norman got on base via an error by second baseman Benjamin Cowles. Mitchell Bow singled to put two aboard and no outs. A flyout sent Bow to third, and he came home on a single by Chris Whelan.

The Hawkeyes started the sixth with two singles. Tanner Padgett hit a fly ball that faded towards the line, but Randy Bednar climbed the wall in foul ground to make a sensational catch. One runner moved up on the play, and Norman then hit a ground-rule double to trim Maryland’s lead to 4-2.

Maryland grabbed single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to get a four-run cushion. Chris Alleyne walked to lead off the seventh, and then Josh Maguire doubled off the wall in right. Alleyne scored on a suicide squeeze bunt from Lee. In the next inning, Wright hit a double off the batter’s eye and stole third, and Pineiro’s sac fly made it 6-2 Maryland.

Parsons started the ninth and hit a batter, and left to a standing ovation. Murphy came in and things got dicey. He walked a batter and gave up a bunt single to load the bases with no outs, bringing the tying run to the plate. Murphy induced a double play, but then gave up an RBI double to Zeb Adreon. Padgett singled through the box and suddenly Iowa was down by just one run. A bunt single moved the tying run into scoring position, and another single tied the game at 6-6 before Murphy eventually escaped with no more damage.

Maguire led off with an infield single and was sacrificed to second by Cowles. Then Lee hit a no-doubt home run to win the game.

The Terps move to 10-12 in the Big Ten and 26-27 overall. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.