After Mother Nature spread Maryland baseball’s Big Ten tournament matchup with No. 7-seed Ohio State across two days, the No. 6-seed Terps fell 3-2 Friday morning, dropping them to 1-1 in the double-elimination tournament.
The two teams combined for four runs in the first three innings, but their bats were held silent through the seventh. Ohio State took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth, and after a weather delay pushed the finish to Friday, the Buckeyes held on for the win.
Maryland opted to pitch freshman Trevor LaBonte over usual No. 2 starter Zach Thompson, and while LaBonte hadn’t started in several weeks, he was on his game Thursday. The righty tossed 6.1 innings, giving up two earned runs on just two hits in 98 pitches. Left-hander Griffan Smith opposed LaBonte on the mound for the Buckeyes and matched him pitch-by-pitch, striking out 10 over seven innings and 110 pitches.
Ohio State scored first in the first as Dominic Canzone was hit with a pitch to lead off the game, scoring on a Brady Cherry RBI single. The Buckeyes doubled their lead in the third thanks again to the duo. Canzone was walked, eventually scoring on an errant throw to first from Taylor Wright at third.
That lead wouldn’t last long, as Maxwell Costes made his presence known again in Omaha, blasting a two-run home run into the Maryland bullpen in left field to tie the game at 2-2.
It became a pitcher’s duel between Smith and LaBonte, who both came into the game supporting ERAs north of 4.65. It certainly wasn’t expected for either pitcher to throw gems on the mound, pitching deep into the game.
Things changed in the eighth, thanks to a missed pop fly. Mark DiLuia came in for his second relief appearance of the tournament and was cruising in the eighth. He retired the first batter and seemingly the second, but miscommunication between Costes and Ben Cowles allowed the ball to drop between them in foul territory. Cherry was given extra life at the plate and he took advantage, singling and scoring on a sac fly to give Ohio State the lead. DiLuia walked two in the inning and loaded the bases twice, but escaped disaster with the Buckeyes only up 3-2.
In the bottom of the eighth, Wright led off with a single and Costes reached on a fielder’s choice, advancing to second on a throwing error. The game then entered another weather delay during the replay review, forcing a suspension until 11 a.m. ET on Friday.
When play resumed, Ohio State quickly ended the Maryland threat. Andrew Vail retired the Buckeyes quietly in the ninth, but in the bottom half, a leadoff walk to Josh Maguire was squandered on the bases as Andrew Magno came in for a successful six-out save.
The Terps now move into the losers bracket and face an elimination game against No. 2-seed Michigan, who swept Maryland at home three weeks ago.