Terps rally to top Northwestern in spirited comeback win

After Maryland’s 4-0 loss on Friday, Vaughn said that sometimes, all it takes is one comeback to build momentum and confidence.

Saturday’s spirited 6-5 win over Northwestern, capped by a walk-off walk in the 10th inning, may be the comeback Vaughn’s Terps needed.

It was a gritty win — as the Terps didn’t hold a lead until the 10th inning walk-off — but one Maryland so desperately needed.

“The fact that we were able to come and grind that one out was huge for us, and hopefully gives us some momentum moving forward,” Vaughn said.

Maryland’s win got off to a rough start, though. Starting pitcher Tyler Blohm’s attempt to repeat a stellar performance against Stetson got off to a dreadful start. Each of the first two batters to face the left-hander reached base. Then, before an out was recorded, Jack Claeys launched a no-doubt, three-run homer over the center field wall.

Blohm allowed a double and then settled down, retiring the side without any further damage. The Terps were quick to respond.

In the bottom of the frame, Maryland scraped together a rally of its own. A pair of singles by Nick Dunn and Kevin Biondic started the rally, and both of them came around to score — Dunn on a sacrifice fly, Biondic on a wild pitch.

Northwestern fought back, extended its lead in the second when Kyle Burnett Jr. drove in a run with a single. The teams then traded runs with solo homers — Will Watson for the Terps, and Northwestern benefited from another blast by Claeys.

The 5-3 Terrapin deficit remained for four innings, as both teams had potential scoring chances thwarted.

For Maryland, freshman Sean Fisher entered the game and had a strong performance, throwing 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. After a rough stretch, the left-hander kept the Terps in the game while the bats looked to re-emerge.

“That’s the player of the game without any question right there,” Vaughn said of Fisher. “That guy matures every time he gets on the mound.”

In the fifth inning, Maryland left a pair of runners on base, while in the top of the sixth, Marty Costes threw out Jack Dunn at the plate, keeping the deficit to just two runs.

Maryland’s comeback really picked up in the seventh inning, when a Nick Dunn single and Marty Costes walk set the stage for AJ Lee, who drove in Dunn with an RBI single. Still, the Terps were unable to fully utilize the scoring chance, as Jancarski grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the frame, and strand two.

Similarly, in the eighth, Maryland only managed one run after placing runners on the corners with one out. Although Watson drove the game-tying run home, it was on a double play, effectively ending the greater opportunity.

The extra inning rally, aided by poor control for Northwestern reliever Josh Levy and a fielding blunder on Tommy Gardiner’s bunt, gave Maryland its first conference win of the year, and its first win in extra innings since April 26, 2016.

It wasn’t a pretty game, as Maryland scored runs on were scored on a sacrifice fly, wild pitch, a bases loaded walk, and a double play, but getting back in the win column was crucial for the Terps.

“We just did a good job grinding that out,” Vaughn said. “We’ve been telling our guys that we just need a come-from-behind win.”

The two teams will play the rubber match on Sunday, when the Terps send Hunter Parsons to the hill, looking to win their first Big Ten series of the year.