Back in the top spot in the Big Ten, the No. 19 Maryland Terrapins (33-17) welcomed the Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-31) to College Park, looking to gain space between them and second-place Indiana.
In a game that felt like a home-run derby at times, Maryland got a taste of its own long ball medicine. Minnesota came into the game having only hit 25 home runs the entire season, but they ripped four off of Terrapin pitchers en route to a 10-7 win vs the Terrapins.
After Nick Dean sat the first three Minnesota batters down in order, the Terps quickly got to work. After a Matt Shaw Hustle double, Nick Lorusso crushed a ball deep over the left-center field wall to put the Terps up early 2-0.
Dean, who had a stellar first inning, quickly found himself in trouble to start the second after he loaded the bases with a walk and back-to-back singles. He was able to get back in control after striking out the next two batters he faced. However, on a full count with the bases loaded and two outs, Riley Swenson smacked a bases-clearing three-run double down the left field line to put Minnesota on top, 3-2.
Both teams went scoreless for the next inning and a half, but not for lack of getting on base. In the top of the third, Minnesota left two stranded while Maryland followed suit in the bottom half of the inning leaving Lorusso on first after a four-pitch walk.
After giving up three runs in the second, Dean found his groove in the top of the fourth with back-to-back strikeouts. Minnesota, not wanting to go down in order, ripped Dean for two home runs to extend their lead. Swenson, who was responsible for Minnesota’s first three runs, launched a solo shot followed by a Boston Merila two-run blast to put the Golden Gophers up 6-2.
Determined not to go quietly, Kevin Keister brought the game back within one after he slapped a three-run homer over the wall. Not to be outdone, Shaw hit a two-run shot of his own moments later to give the Terps back the lead at 7-6.
After four shaky innings, Nate Haberthier came into the game in relief of Dean. The game started to look like batting practice after Minnesota’s Weber Neels hit the sixth home run of the game, a solo shot, to tie the game at 7-7. Two batters later, Kris Hokenson poked one of his own out of the park for a two-run homer to give Minnesota back the lead. That would do it for Haberthier as Nigel Belgrave was called into relief.
Both teams would go scoreless for the next three innings as Maryland’s Belgrave and Minnesota’s Connor Wietgrefe allowed just two total hits in their relief outings through the top of the eighth. After allowing back-to-back walks with no outs, head coach Robert Vaughn decided to go to the bullpen for David Falco Jr.
Looking for some insurance in the top of the eight, Brady Counsell doubled down the third base line just beyond the outstretched glove of Lorusso. The hit scored Hokenson and moved Merila to third, but that was all the Golden Gophers could get.
Down to their last six outs, Maryland went down without a fight to end the eighth inning, still trailing by three. Falco allowed two walks in the ninth but was able to work out of the jam unscathed.
After Jacob Orr popped out to start the bottom of the ninth, Keister roped a single into the outfield to try and start a rally. However, Luke Shliger and Shaw both struck out to end the game.
With the loss, Maryland drops their last two games, something they have not done since last month when they lost to Rutgers and Georgetown. Maryland drops to 33-18 and Minnesota improves to 15-31.