The Dirty Terps are back-to-back outright Big Ten Champions.
Following Indiana’s loss on Friday night to Michigan State, the Terps earned the championship, but with the chance to share it with the Hoosiers if the Terps lost and the Hoosiers won on Saturday.
However, there will be no sharing in College Park for the second consecutive year. The Terps beat the Penn State Nittany Lions in game three on Saturday, 7-4. Along with clinching the title, they extend their Big Ten series win streak to 23. They’ll enter Omaha as the first seed, with the first game set for Tuesday.
The Terps’ offense was humming in the finale with contributions from the entire lineup. Along with the title being captured and the win streak being extended, two Maryland players set new records, forever cementing their place in Maryland baseball history.
Catcher Luke Shliger scored his 182nd career run, the most in program history. He passed assistant coach Matt Swope, who had 181 in his time playing for the Terps from 1999-2002.
With his two RBIs today, third baseman Nick Lorusso ended his regular season with 96 RBIs, the most RBIs by a single player in any program in Big Ten history.
Penn State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning off the bat of designated hitter CJ Pittaro, whose triple brought shortstop Jay Harry across. The next inning, the Terps evened it up after Ian Petrutz flew out, bringing Shliger across.
In the fourth, Matt Woods finally ended the series’ home run drought, sending one over the right field wall to give the Terps a 2-1 lead. However, Penn State quickly responded, plating three runs in the same inning to retake the lead.
In the sixth, the Terps would tie the game with a clutch home run to left field off the bat of Elijah Lambros, scoring Woods once again. This time, they wouldn’t surrender any runs.
In the eighth, Jacob Orr delivered a clutch one-out triple that was two feet away from being a home run. Despite that, the Terps used the fuel to muster three runs, with clutch hits to the outfield from Kevin Keister and Lorusso to give the lead back to the Terps – a lead they would not let go of.
On the defensive side, the Terps overcame four errors in route to victory, mostly thanks to the work of the bullpen. Andrew Johnson, Kenny Lippman, and David Falco Jr. all shined in relief of Ryan Van Buren. The three completely shut out the Penn State offense for the final 5.1 innings. Lippman earned the win, finishing the season 7-1, while Falco earned the save, his ninth of the season.
The Terps finish the season with a 37-19 record, with a 17-7 record in conference play. On Tuesday, they begin their quest to earn the official Big Ten title in Omaha, looking for a reprieve from last season’s disappointing end.