The Dirty Terps live to see another day.
When neither the Terps nor the Cornhuskers could escape with the win in nine innings, Nick Lorusso took it upon himself to seal the win for Maryland in extra innings. The Big Ten RBI king hit a walkoff one-run shot in the bottom of the 10th to advance Maryland to the semifinals.
The Terps overcame the Cornhuskers in a defensive battle that leaked into extra innings, 2-1.
Following their first round victory over the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday evening, the Terps faced a tough task: facing the No. 4 seed Cornhuskers while playing in Omaha. Although Maryland was officially considered the home team, it certainly did not feel like a home game. The stands were packed with local Cornhusker fans who were loud all night long.
The Cornhuskers took an early lead in the second when right fielder Cole Evans delivered a sacrifice ground out to score catcher Josh Caron. They would hold onto that lead until the fifth, when the Terps used a double from Kevin Keister and an RBI single from Matt Shaw to tie the game at one.
The two teams remained deadlocked at one run apiece for the next few hours – which included a lightning delay which lasted an hour and a half. Neither pitching staff wanted to give in.
Maryland skipper Rob Vaughn gave the starting nod to Nick Dean, who delivered his best performance of the season. He finished his day with one earned run over six and one-third inning pitched, with two hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. David Falco Jr. came on to replace him after the rain delay, shutting the Cornhuskers out for two and two-third innings using four strikeouts.
When the Terps got to extra innings, Vaughn made the decision to turn to ace Jason Savacool, who used two strikeouts in the top of the tenth to earn his seventh win of the season. Then, it came down to the offense.
The Terps entered the bottom of the tenth with a distinct advantage – their big three of Luke Shliger, Matt Shaw, and Lorusso were up to bat. Although Shliger and Shaw could not deliver, Lorusso sent one over the left field wall with two outs and a two-two count, giving the Terps the win and the chance to advance to the finals on Saturday. It was his 22nd homer of the year and 98th RBI of the year, neither of which could have come at more clutch of a time.
The Terps will have a rematch on their hands come Saturday, no matter who comes out on top in the loser’s bracket. They will face the winner of the Michigan State/Nebraska game, which takes place tomorrow. However, since the Terps have not lost, they’ll have two opportunities to advance to the finals if necessary.