Hopes were very high for the Dirty Terps on Saturday.
Following the Terps’ wild come-from-behind victory and a loss from the Indiana Hoosiers on Friday night, Maryland earned the chance to clinch a share of the Big Ten title if they achieved a victory over Penn State on Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Terps, the Nittany Lions played spoiler, erasing a nine-game losing streak by coming out on top, 5-3.
Because of victories from the Terps and the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday night, what started as a six-team race for the Big Ten title quickly reduced to three, as Nebraska, Rutgers, and Michigan were eliminated. Entering Sunday, only the Terps, Hoosiers, and Hawkeyes remain. The winner will be anointed tomorrow depending on the outcome of the three games.
The Terps came into the game with a lot of energy, as they found themselves in the driver’s seat of the conference with their ace, Jason Savacool, set to take the mound. However, Savacool struggled and Maryland’s bats were unable to do enough to get the Terps over the hump.
The Nittany Lions attacked Savacool early, getting four hits and bringing two runs across within the first two frames. He finished the day with a staggering 114 pitches thrown, surrendering four earned runs over six innings pitched. He also had six strikeouts to five walks.
On the offensive side, Nick Lorusso and Ian Petrutz shined. Lorusso finished the day three for four with an RBI while Petrutz put up an RBI triple which gave the Terps the lead in the top of the fifth. Outside of that, however, the Terps offense was not able to generate much.
Despite the lack of production, the squad was getting the bat on the ball all game long, with a lot of hard contact and long flyouts. Many speculate that many of their hits would have had the chance to leave the yard had they been in College Park, but at Penn State’s larger stadium, they were unable to find much luck.
The Terps will be back in action tomorrow afternoon for the third game in State College, hoping for a better result and the chance to earn their second consecutive Big Ten title. The game is currently scheduled for noon, but poor weather is expected to knock back first pitch.