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Maryland baseball clinches Big Ten tournament berth with 10-8 win over Iowa

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The Terps sweep the Hawkeyes and earn a spot in the postseason.

Maryland Athletics

Maryland baseball is back in the Big Ten tournament after escaping with a 10-8 victory over Iowa in College Park on Sunday.

In a see-saw series finale, Maryland took an 8-4 lead into the eighth but saw it evaporate on one swing of the bat, as a grand slam tied the game. But Chris Alleyne’s clutch double in the bottom of the inning gave the Terps a two-run lead, and they held on to finish a weekend sweep.

Four Terps finished with multi-hit games, and three Maryland hitters had multiple RBIs. Tyler Blohm and Trevor LaBonte each threw 3.2 innings on the mound, and John Murphy nailed down his 11th save of the season. For the Hawkeyes, Tanner Westrich had two home runs and seven RBIs.

Iowa took a lead for the first time in this series when Tanner Padgett opened the second inning with a home run to right center. But the lead was short-lived, as Michael Pineiro returned the favor with a leadoff shot to tie the score. Justin Vought went yard later in the frame to give the Terps a 2-1 lead.

The Terps took advantage of sloppy play by the Hawkeyes to take a 4-1 lead in the third. AJ Lee got aboard via an error and Randy Bednar walked. With Taylor Wright at the plate, Lee was seemingly caught off base. Rather than try to catch Lee in a rundown, though, catcher Austin Martin threw down to second. Lee took off for third and made it easily. A wild pitch brought him home and moved Bednar to second. Bednar went to third on a ground out and scored on a safety squeeze by Pineiro.

The Hawkeyes answered back in the top of the fourth to tie the score. Blohm was losing command of the plate and walked two batters. With two outs and a 3-0 count on Tanner Wetrich, the Hawkeye shortstop launched a three-run home run over the batter’s eye in center. Blohm was subsequently relieved for LaBonte.

In the bottom of the fourth, Trace Hoffman relieved starter Grant Judkin, who entered the game leading the Big Ten in ERA. Maryland jumped on the reliever for two runs to retake the lead. Benjamin Cowles singled up the middle and Lee doubled off the wall in center. Bednar singled to score Cowles, and Wright’s sacrifice fly made it 6-4 Terps.

In the fifth, Josh Maguire led off with a double, went to third on a passed ball, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cowles. The Terps added another run in the seventh, as Maguire led off with a walk and Alleyne doubled into the left-field corner. Cowles hit his second sacrifice fly of the game, scoring Maguire.

Iowa came back from 8-4 down to tie the game in the eighth. A one-out single, a walk and another single loaded the bases and brought the tying run to the plate. LaBonte gave way to Andrew Vail, and Wetrich deposited a grand slam over the wall in center, his second home run of the game, to make it 8-8.

But once again, the Terps retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Costes singled to right and Vought was hit by a pitch. With two down, Alleyne turned on a pitch and laced a two-run double into the right-field corner.

Murphy came into pitch the ninth for the second time in three games. He gave up a lead off double to bring the tying run to the plate. But unlike Thursday night, The Sheriff shut down the next three batters to send the Terps to Omaha.

The Terps end the regular season at 28-27 overall and 12-12 in the Big Ten. Their next game is Wednesday in the Big Ten tournament, team and time TBD.