Maryland baseball was two wins away from reaching their first NCAA Super Regional since 2015 when they had to face off against Big East Champions UConn. Although falling to the Huskies in three games, the Terps still played their best baseball of the year on the night of June 5th.
UConn was a powerhouse during the 2022 season, achieving 50 wins by the end of the year. Maryland had similar success, finishing at the top of their conference and earning the number one seed for the Big 10 Tournament. Their first matchup between the two saw UConn come out on top 10-5, a loss that put the Terps in a do-or-die situation. Facing elimination, Maryland beat down Wake Forest the next morning, this time on the right side of a 10-5 finish. Just 24 hours after losing to UConn, Maryland was forced to meet them again, but now with pitcher Nick Robinson who was making just his second start of the season.
Shortstop Matt Shaw got Maryland off to a hot start in the bottom of the first with a single to center, scoring Nick Lorusso. The next at-bat Troy Schreffler Jr. homered to left center, giving the Terps an early 3-0 lead. Nobody was able to cross the plate for the next four innings until the bottom of the fifth when Lorusso hit a leadoff home run to left-center, giving the Terps a 4-0 lead.
Robinson pitched one of his best games of the season, throwing five scoreless innings to go along with four hits and a season-high five strikeouts. Having never pitched more than three innings and with only 16 appearances on the year, Robinson kept Maryland’s hopes alive and allowed the team to take a commanding lead halfway through the game.
UConn was unable to find a run through five innings but jumped on Maryland and tied the game with a four-run explosion in the top of the sixth. The Terps were forced to use their bullpen with Nigel Belgrave and Will Glock, each giving up two earned runs and combined for just one out. To finish out the sixth and complete the seventh, Maryland turned to freshman Michael Walsh, who allowed zero hits and just two baserunners in his appearance.
Already with one RBI on the day, Shaw got his second with a single through the second base hole and an errant throw by the Huskies’ first baseman that followed. The scoring didn’t stop there as Maxwell Costes singled to right field, scoring Shaw and giving Maryland a 6-4 lead. However, their lead was short-lived as UConn scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning to tie it up.
Maryland’s depleted bullpen called for starter Ryan Ramsey to make his first relief appearance in which he shined, pitching two and a third and giving up just one hit while striking out three. To start the eleventh inning was freshman Andrew Johnson. Johnson did exactly what Maryland hoped for and pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a baserunner and striking out another.
With bases loaded in the bottom of the eleventh, Lorusso stepped up to the plate. Already accomplishing his 26th multi-hit game of the season, Lorusso was looking to walk off the Terps for their fifth time in the season. On a 1-2 count with one out, he singled off the right field wall to give Maryland their 48th win of the year. After using six pitchers and over four hours of baseball, the Terps won their most crucial game of the season and became one step closer to the Super Regional.