By Jake Eisenberg
The Terps were eliminated from the tournament at the hands of the surging Hawkeyes in the first game of the day. (8) Iowa put up 11 runs on 14 hits, while (6) Maryland could only muster four hits, as Shane Ritter and Nick Gallagher combined for the complete game shutout and 11-0 victory. It was the first time Maryland was shutout since April 30 against Penn St. (2-0 loss) and also the widest margin of defeat all season. The Hawkeyes move on to their first Big Ten Tournament championship game since 2010, and will look to win it all for the first time in program history.
It’s been an improbable run for Iowa, which snuck into the tournament by winning its final regular season series against Penn St. and owning head-to-head tiebreakers over the Nittany Lions and Illinois. The Hawkeyes knocked off top-seeded Minnesota in the opening round, then came from behind to defeat Ohio State in extra innings before upending the Terps.
Maryland will learn whether or not its season will continue Monday morning during the NCAA Tournament selection show. While a bid is unlikely, it’s not impossible, given the Terps’ strength of schedule.
The second game of the day was a continuation of the previous evening. (4) Ohio State and (5) Michigan were in the bottom of the second inning, with Ohio State holding a 5-2 lead, when lightning struck, and, after a brief delay, the contest was suspended until yesterday afternoon. The Buckeyes and Wolverines resumed, and Ohio State continued it’s offensive onslaught. Led by second baseman Troy Kuhn (3-4, 4 RBI, 3 runs), the Buckeyes put up 11 runs on 18 hits, defeated Michigan for the fifth time this season. The Wolverines fell 11-4, and as a result, became the latest team to be eliminated.
The final game of the day pitted (4) Ohio State vs. (7) Michigan St. The Buckeyes would need to win in order to force a second game, to be played this morning at 9 CT/10 ET. With a win, the Spartans would advance to the championship to face (8) Iowa. The game featured little offense, and was tied at 2 through four innings. Each team had its chances, but the Buckeyes and Spartans needed extra innings to decide the affair. In the top of the 10th, it was Ohio State jumping out in front, thanks to a solo home run from Ronnie Dawson, his 14th of the season. The dinger to straightaway right field gave Ohio State a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the 10th, Yianni Pavlopoulous came on for the save, just a day removed from allowing the game-winning hit to Iowa’s Mason McCoy. Pavlopoulous walked the first batter, Brandon Hughes, but retired the next three to earn the save and force a second game this morning. The winner will face Iowa at 1:00 p.m. for the Big Ten Tournament title.
Only three teams remain—(4) Ohio State, (7) Michigan St. and (8) Iowa. Here’s how the bracket looks for the final day of action: