Martin’s walkoff caps off Dirty Terps comeback over MSU in Big Ten opener

Brayden Martin entered the game in the bottom of the sixth in place of the Terps designated hitter Alex Calarco. The move seemed inconsequential as his sacrifice bunt in the inning didn’t lead to any runs. The move turned out to be the most consequential of the evening. 

Martin stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the tenth with the bases loaded and one out. Maryland was down by a run and one ground ball away from ending its Big Ten opener with a loss. Spartan reliever Tommy Szczepanski threw his second pitch of the at-bat and Martin swung, pulling the ball into right field. As the Freshman made his turn at first, Eddie Hacopian touched home plate and the lefty swinging Martin was a hero. 

The Maryland Terrapins beat the Michigan State Spartans, 7-6, Friday night in the teams’ first conference matchup of the season. It was the first walk-off hit in Martin’s collegiate career. 

The Terps didn’t expect to need walk-off heroics when they entered the top of the ninth ahead by a run. Terp reliever Trystan Sarcone struck out the first batter of the inning, but Randy Seymour singled through the left side putting the tying run on base. Sarcone exited in the middle of the next at-bat in favor of Logan Berrier, securing the second out of the inning. 

Berrier was one out away and during what Terps fans hoped was the last at-bat, Berrier threw a wild pitch that allowed Seymour to advance to second. Berrier continued to pitch to Sam Thompson and on a full count Thompson singled up the middle, sending the game to extra innings. The Spartans scored in the top of tenth on another Berrier wild pitch setting the stage for Martin’s heroics. 

Maryland led for most of the game gaining its first lead in the bottom of the fourth. The Terps scored three times in the half inning, the first coming on a pair of doubles.  

Devin Russell led off the inning with his first collegiate double and then a batter later Chrish Hacopian doubled him home. Jacob Orr provided the go-ahead run, blasting a two-run homer that skied so far over the left field fence that the left fielder could only stop and watch. Orr’s homer gave the Terps a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

The three-run fourth inning came in response to a lack of scoring for the Terps in the first three frames, although there were plenty of opportunities to score. Maryland left six runners on base through the first three innings scoring only one run in that time. The one run came on a Jordan Crosland home run to left center on the first pitch of the inning. 

Michigan State only left four on the base paths in the first three innings, but the Spartans brought three runners home in the first inning, giving the Spartans the first lead of the game. The Spartans scored all three of their runs on RBI doubles. Michigan State hit four doubles in the inning, half of them ricocheting off the left field wall. 

The three runs came off of Maryland starter Kenny Lippman. Lippman struggled in his past two starts going a combined five and third innings giving up eight earned runs. The right-handed graduate student bounced back big time in this start. Lippman pitched six innings allowing only those three earned runs and didn’t walk a batter. 

The Terps offense ended the game with 14 hits and six walks. The Terps left 13 runners stranded on the base paths as well. Maryland’s arms held the Spartans scoreless in six of the ten innings and struck out nine Michigan State batters. 

The Terps and Spartans are scheduled to play again Saturday though there is bad weather expected in the area. The game has been pushed back to 6pm to hopefully mitigate the effect.