By Jake Eisenberg
Day 3 of the 2016 Big Ten Tournament featured much the same as the first two days—underdogs and rain.
(6) Maryland and (7) Michigan State got things started at 9:00 a.m. CT/10:00 a.m. ET, making up the game that got rained out Thursday night. The Terps got on the board first with an RBI single, but the Spartans responded two innings later with a run of its own, partially in part because of a Maryland error. Anthony Papio, Jordan Zimmerman and Nick Cieri traded solo home runs and Dakota Mekkes closed things out for the Spartans to give Michigan St. the 4-3 win and keep them in the winner’s bracket. Michigan St. will face the winner of Ohio St. and Michigan (game was postponed due to lightning.
(4) Ohio State faced (8) Iowa in the second game of the day and it seemed as though the Buckeyes were in the driver’s seat. But, down 4-0 in the bottom of the ninth, Rick Heller’s Hawkeyes rallied, scoring four runs on six hits—all of them singles—to send the game to extra innings. In the 10th, the Buckeyes couldn’t score, leaving two runners on. A half-inning later, and the Hawkeyes were celebrating after Mason McCoy hit a bases-loaded walk-off single to give Iowa the 5-4 come-from-behind victory. It’s the second time in as many Big Ten Tournaments that Iowa has beaten Ohio State on a walk-off (last year, Nick Day hit a two-run walk-off home run). Iowa will face Maryland this morning in an elimination game for the Terps.
The (6) Terps returned to TD Ameritrade Park to face (3) Indiana in an elimination game. Marty Costes gave Maryland and Brian Shaffer an early lead with a two-run home run in the top of the first inning. It was all the support Shaffer would need as he twirled a gem. The sophomore tossed his second complete game shutout of the season, allowing just two hits, striking out eight (tied career high) and walking none. He faced 29 batters and did not allow a runner past first base. Maryland tacked on a run in the seventh inning for some insurance and staved off elimination, winning 3-0. The Terps will face Iowa this morning, with elimination on the line once more. Should Maryland lose, it wold be eliminated. But, if the Terps win, Maryland and Iowa would return to the ballpark to play again tonight.
Lightning struck again Friday night, postponing (4) Ohio State and (5) Michigan until tomorrow. The Wolverines scored twice in the top of the first, but the Buckeyes responded with five runs on six hits in the home half of the frame to take a 5-2 lead before the game was called in the second inning. Ohio State and Michigan will finish the contest at approximately 1:00 p.m. today. The winner will face Michigan St. while the loser will be sent home.
Here’s how the bracket looks as of this morning: