Terps fall to Spartans in extra innings

By Michaela Johnson

In a game that had the potential to determine the fate of their season, the Terrapins (27-25) fell to the Michigan State Spartans (34-17) after 13 innings on Friday evening. The Terps needed the win to guarantee their spot in the Big Ten Tournament, but they still have a chance at the tournament if Illinois loses to Michigan, or if the Terps win the final game of the series tomorrow.

The game went back and forth for the first nine innings. The Spartans scored first in the bottom of the second inning after a couple of defensive errors by third baseman Andrew Bechtold. The Terps answered in the top of the third with one run of their own, tying the game. They tacked on another run in the top of the fifth, taking the lead. Michigan State came back in the seventh with two runs, one of which was unearned because of another defensive error. The Terps tied the game again in the top of the eight after Madison Nickens led off with a triple to right field.

Starting pitcher Taylor Bloom threw six and two-thirds innings before Mike Rescigno entered the game. Bloom struck out three, didn’t give up any walks, and allowed two earned runs in his outing. Rescigno faced only one batter before Ryan Selmer entered the game to throw three and two-thirds scoreless innings. Hunter Parsons took the hill in the bottom of the eleventh, and was ultimately credited with the loss, but not before getting out of a couple jams with runners on second and third.

Sophomore righthander Dakota Mekkes earned the win for the Spartans, pitching a stellar six innings in relief, allowing just one hit. He retired the last eleven batters he faced.

The winning run came in the bottom of the thirteenth, when leadoff hitter Brandon Hughes was hit by a pitch, Jordan Zimmerman singled, and Dan Durkin was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Matt Byars hit a long fly ball to right field, allowing Hughes to score from third and win the game 4-3 for the Spartans.

Right-fielder Anthony Papio went 3-6, and was just a home run shy of batting for the cycle, after hitting a leadoff double in the first and a triple in the third. Nick Cieri and Madison Nickens also hit for extra bases, with a double and a triple respectively.

The Terrapins committed four defensive errors—three of which came from Bechtold at third—the most Maryland has made in a game this season. The Terps also left thirteen runners on base.

While the Terps were unable to clinch their spot in the Big Ten Tournament tonight, they have another chance tomorrow in their final regular season game, starting at 1:05 p.m. Right-hander Brian Shaffer will be starting for the Terps, and the game can be heard live here on Maryland Baseball Network.

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