Coming up to bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eleventh, the goal for Ian Petrutz was clear: do whatever you can to break the 5-5 tie and send No. 10 Maryland off with an opening round win in the Big Ten tournament.
He had already tied the game in the tenth. Now he had a chance to send his team and the fans who had made the journey to Omaha, Nebraska back to their hotel rooms happy.
The Maryland freshman got a little help from Indiana pitcher Jack Perkins, getting hit by a pitch in the elbow, but it counted just the same as any hit, securing a 6-5 extra-innings win over the Hoosiers.
Because of a lack of tournaments the past two seasons, this was the first Big Ten postseason game for the Terps since 2019. It certainly did not disappoint.
A big fourth inning provided most of Maryland’s offensive production, the Terps getting three RBI doubles from Bobby Zmarzlak, Kevin Keister and Chris Alleyne.
Alleyne picked up right where he left off at the end of the regular season, going two for five with a pair of doubles and a run driven in.
One issue the Terps lineup faced today despite the win was leaving runners on base. There were multiple times in the late innings that Maryland squandered opportunities to score with runners on base, something that will most likely need to be looked at moving forward.
Jason Savacool was almost unhittable early on, retiring fourteen consecutive Indiana hitters from the end of the first inning to the middle of the fifth.
Into the seventh though, the Maryland ace began showing signs of fatigue. Indiana took full advantage, bringing home three runs and tying the game.
Savacool finished the day with eight strikeouts, allowing four runs on six hits in six and two-thirds innings of work.
Neither team scored for the rest of the first nine frames, sending the game into extra innings.
The two teams traded blows in the tenth, Indiana striking on a tough infield play that resulted in a fantastic sliding score by Evan Goforth. The Terps responded in the bottom half with Petrutz’s RBI base hit.
Indiana threatened to score again in the top of the eleventh, but an incredible throw from right field by Troy Schreffler Jr. to the plate saved the potential go-ahead run from scoring and setting up the eventual walkoff in the bottom half.
With the victory, Maryland continues to increase its win total for this historic season and build its NCAA tournament resume, now 45-10 on the year. The Terps will get the late game tomorrow, facing off against the winner of Illinois vs. Michigan at approximately 10:00 p.m. ET.
The Hoosiers will have a tough road ahead in trying to win the Big Ten tournament following the loss, now needing to win four consecutive games if they want to be named conference champions. That road will start tomorrow at approximately 6:00 p.m. ET against the loser of tonight’s Illinois-Michigan contest.