Maryland baseball went down quietly in a 5-3 defeat to Penn State on Saturday afternoon, failing to take hold of the Big Ten crown by pulling even with Indiana.
The visiting Terps lacked pop in their bat, turning in a sub-par day at the plate for their standards with a total of 10 hits and seven men left stranded. Tommy Molsky, pitching for the Nittany Lions, diced up the typically-dreaded Terps lineup to hold them scoreless outside of a three-run fifth inning, and Maryland’s Jason Savacool couldn’t quite keep up.
The Terps likely woke up Saturday still likely clutching their chests from their nonsensical 17-15 comeback win the day before, as it wasn’t exactly the type of win they strive for. Their five-run ninth inning saved their bacon after trailing nearly all game, but five combined Maryland errors mixed with 16 batters left on base don’t typically make for winning recipes.
Maryland had no issue with Penn State’s pitching last night, recording 21 hits as each player finished with either two or three hits apiece, but Saturday didn’t see near the same results for the majority of the afternoon. Seven of their first nine outs were flyouts, with many making their way to the warning track as Penn State starter Molsky did an admirable job forcing harmless contact and strikeouts.
Thomas Bramley, a fellow leadoff-hitting catcher to Maryland’s own Luke Shliger, put his team on the board first with a two-run shot off the top of Lubrano Park’s towering left field wall to take a 2-0 lead at home.
Savacool, who turned in a strong six-inning, one-run performance last Saturday against Minnesota, struggled with consistency early before gradually figuring out the Nittany Lions. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third with a timely double-play and turned in a 1-2-3 fourth inning with the help of a pair of strikeouts to keep them quiet.
The Terps busied up the bases in the fifth, but finally scratched the scoreboard when Matt Shaw singled with multiple runners on to bring in Maryland’s first run. Nick Lorusso, yesterday’s hero, followed that up with an RBI single of his own before Ian Petrutz legged out a triple to bring Lorusso aboard and take a sudden 3-2 lead.
Maryland’s lead was short-lived, as Savacool soon buckled under the Penn State bats. Jay Harry turned in some more small-ball to score two more Nittany Lions to retake a 4-3 advantage. The starting pitcher was pulled after the sixth, finishing with eight hits, four runs and six strikeouts to set up Nigel Belgrave in relief.
Penn State took advantage of the Terps’ offense sputtering out in the later innings, tacking on a fifth run after CJ Pittato singled in a run off of Belgrave. Maryland went down without making any real push after that, failing to string together multiple hits in any frame after the fifth in the 5-3 loss.
The Terps season more or less comes down to Sunday at noon, when they’ll not only hope to stretch their Big Ten winning streak to 23 straight series, but more importantly fight to stave off Indiana with one last regular season win to bolster their playoff hopes.