Maryland uses three home runs to beat Nebraska 10-7, evens series at one

Maryland looked to even the series at a game a piece on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Unlike Friday, Maryland was able to get on the board first in the second inning. Ben Cowles stroked a one-out double down the left field line, and was driven in by Tucker Flint who singled up the middle to give Maryland a 1-0 lead. Tommy Gardiner would get a hit and advance him to third, but Chris Alleyne flew out to end the inning, limiting the damage for Nebraska.

The Terps threatened to score in the third after putting two men out with two out, but a Cowles strikeout ended the inning.

Nebraska was able to put a big third inning together off of Nick Dean. After a sac bunt to record the first out of the inning, the Cornhuskers had five straight men reach base. Joe Acker tied the game with a double, and Cam Chick laced a single to left that scored two and gave Nebraska the lead. Following that, Dean hit a batter and then gave up a sac-fly to make the score 4-1. A bizzare play following a double steal where Matt Shaw had the ball knocked away from him made the score 5-1.

Maryland would respond in the fifth inning. Following singles from Randy Bednar and Shaw, Maxwell Costes came through with an RBI single to make it 5-2. Unfortunately for the Terps, Matt Shaw was picked off of second base as he wandered too far off the bag. Following a Luke Shliger single, Ben Cowles launched his tenth home run of the year to tie the game at 5.

Nick Dean’s day ended for Maryland after getting the first out of the fifth inning. His final line was four and a thirds innings, four hits, five runs (four earned), two walks and a strikeout.

“I thought Dean wasn’t as sharp today,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “Usually he gets a lot of swings and misses and he only had one strikeout today. Nebraska was very good when they fell behind in the count, as well.”

Nebraska was able to take the lead back in the bottom of the sixth after freshman Max Anderson launched a solo home run.

The Terps would respond quickly in the seventh thanks to a leadoff solo home run from freshman Matt Shaw to tie the game at 6. The other freshman in the starting lineup for Maryland, Luke Shliger, came through after a Maxwell Costes single and hit his first career home run to put the Terps up 8-6.

“I want us to be aggressive at the plate,” said Vaughn. “We want to make sure that we swing at the pitches in the zone, and Nebraska did a good job of throwing strikes. We did a good job of being ready for those strikes.”

“I never go up to the plate thinking about hitting a homer,” said Shliger. “The only thing I was trying to do was to get in scoring position.”

The Huskers were able to get one in the bottom half of the seventh back after a ball popped out of Justin Vought’s glove with two out and allowed Joe Acker to score.

Nebraska put together a rally in the bottom of the eighth, as they put two on with one out. But Sam Bello came on from the bullpen and struck out the next two Cornhuskers to end the inning.

Maryland was able to load the bases in the top of the ninth thanks to a hit by pitch, and two walks. Maryland was able to get some insurance after a wild pitch and an error which plated two runs, making the score 10-7.

Sam Bello came back out in the ninth and retired the side in order to lock up the win, evening the series at a game a piece.

“I thought we played with a lot of grit today,” said Vaughn. “We would prefer not to play from behind, but because we have come from behind to win so many times, we do not get phased when we fall into a hole.”