Maryland Takes Rubber Match, Win 22nd Consecutive Conference Series

Looking to win their 22nd consecutive BigTen series, the Maryland Terrapins needed a win today coming into the rubber match against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. With great hitting all throughout the game, the Terps used a dominant seven-run inning en route to a 15-9 win.

Unlike the first two games of the series, neither team scored until the bottom of the second inning when Matt Woods homered to deep right-center field. The two-run blast was Maryland’s only score of the game until the bottom of the fifth.

Ryan Van Buren started the game for Maryland and pitched two scoreless innings before Minnesota was able to score one on a fielder’s choice to cut the lead 2-1. That would do it for Van Buren as Kenny Lippman came in immediately after to relieve him. Despite working the bases loaded, Lippman was able to work out of the jam unscathed.

After a scoreless fourth inning, the Golden Gophers got the bats hot to start the fifth. After back-to-back infield singles from Brett Bateman and Boston Merila, Minnesota loaded the bases after Brady Counsell reached on a Nick Lorusso error that scored a run. From then on it was a walk party. Three straight walks resulted in two runs for the Golden Gophers to give them the lead at 4-2. 

At that point, head coach Rob Vaughn decided to pull Van Buren in favor of Logan Ott. He walked one more home before a pop-out ended the inning, but the damage was done as Minnesota took a 5-2 lead.

Maryland started the fifth with some hope after Jacob Orr and Luke Shliger reached on singles. Up stepped Matt Shaw. The consensus future first-round MLB draft pick sent a towering no-doubt three-run blast to tie the game at 5-5. As a result, Minnesota pulled their starter Ritchie Holetz for two-way player Kris Hokenson who immediately gave up a double to Ian Petrutz. Shortly after, Eddie Hacopian brought Petrutz home on a single to take back the lead.

However, it did not last for long. After Ott hit Bateman to start the sixth, Ike Mezzenga sent a two-run homer out of the Bob to give Minnesota back the lead at 7-6.

Quickly getting two on base in the bottom half of the inning, Shaw tied the game after his single scored Orr. Minnesota pulled Hokenson for Seth Clausen. The Terps managed to rip Clausen for two runs after two RBIs singles from Lorusso and Petrutz to take the lead and extend it to 9-7.

From there, the bats only got hotter. Maryland tacked on four more when Elijah Lambros was walked home, Orr lined a two-RBI single to left, and Kevin Keister added on one more on a single to right field to make it 13-7.

After coming on to relieve Ott, David Falco Jr. went to work quickly. Through two innings of work, he did not allow a run or walk and gave up just one hit. However, he got into a little trouble in the ninth. After a quick Weber Neels home run and three singles in a row that scored another run, runners were on the corners with two outs. A quick hopper over to Keister ended the rally.

Maryland will now face Penn State next weekend to determine their seeding for the BigTen Tournament ahead of another run in the NCAA tournament later this month.