Maryland baseball blown out in Evanston, drop third-straight series

The Terps (22-14, 4-7 Big Ten) dismal week continued with their fourth straight loss, losing to Northwestern (12-19, 2-6 Big Ten), 11-1, Saturday afternoon. 

The Wildcats scored their most runs in a conference game this season en route to earning their first Big Ten series victory under new head coach, Ben Greenspan. 

The Terps lost its third straight Big Ten series. Maryland hasn’t experienced three straight conference series losses since 2018, when they lost three straight to Michigan, Purdue, and Illinois (the Michigan series was only two games but Maryland dropped both). 

Maryland’s fielding was a large contributor to the loss. The Terps made three errors in the game allowing six of Northwestern’s runs to be unearned. The biggest Maryland error came in the bottom of the fifth, an inning in which the Wildcats ballooned their lead to 11-0. 

Northwestern’s lineup started the inning with a single and then a fast liner that ricocheted off of Terps’ starter Logan Koester’s who stuck his glove out in pure reaction. The back-to-back singles put runners on the corners with no outs and Freshman outfielder Jackson Freeman at the plate. Freeman hit Koester’s offering into the dirt, sending a moderately fast grounder to Eddie Hacopian at first. Hacopian fumbled the grounder as he charged in to make the play and in his attempt to recover an out threw to first, but off target. A run scored and two runners moved into scoring position due to the blunder. 

Koester was unable to recover from the error, giving up a single to Bennett Markinson that scored the two runners. Koester got the first out of the inning in the next at-bat and then walked Trent Liolios. The walk marked the end of Koester’s start. Koester ended the game giving up seven hits and nine runs – only five were earned – in four and a third innings. 

Nate Haberthier replaced Koester and was only able to get one out before being replaced by Andrew Johnson who finally got Maryland out of the inning. Four runs crossed the plate while Haberthier was on the mound, two of them off the bat of Preston Knott who earned his fifth consecutive multi-hit game.

Knott drove in three of the Wildcats’ 11 runs and Lorenzo Rios drove in four as Northwestern’s only change to the starting lineup compared to Friday. Rios was two for four with two doubles. Northwestern’s offense finished with nine hits and five walks. 

The Terps offense was able to put runners on base, but was unable to drive them home. Maryland had seven hits – four of them doubles – in the game. Three of those hits came from Eddie Hacopian who followed up his two double Friday with a three for four Saturday. Michael Iannazzo went two for four with two doubles in his first start of the season. 

Maryland’s only run came off the bat of Alex Calarco who produced a positive moment in his return to Evanston after playing for Northwestern last season.

Northwestern’s series win is its first against the Terps since 2017. The combination of Jack Dyke and Kyle Potthoff on the mound for Northwestern held Maryland to one run for the second just the second time this season. The other came against Michigan. 

Maryland will try to salvage its 0-4 week with a win Sunday against Northwestern.