Terps squander late lead, lose in extras to Wildcats

Logan Berrier stood on the mound with the bases loaded and one out. The redshirt senior was over 60 pitches coming into the at-bat against Tony Livermore and fatigue may have plagued him in what became the game’s final at-bat. 

Berrier left his 1-0 offering out in front of the plate allowing Livermore to hit the outside pitch the other way to left field over the head of Brayden Martin. The Wildcat dugout ran onto the field in jubilation as Livermore’s foot hit first base.  

Livermore’s walk-off single broke Northwestern’s ten game losing streak helping the Wildcats (11-19, 1-6 Big Ten) beat Maryland (22-13, 4-6 Big Ten), 6-5, in extra innings Friday evening. 

Berrier struggled in his two and two thirds innings giving up three earned runs on six hits. It was the most earned runs he’s given up this season as well as the most hits. Berrier’s outing wasn’t all bad as the right-hander got the Terps out of a bases-loaded two-out jam in the bottom of the seventh preserving what was then a two run lead. The bottom of the eighth was where Berrier found trouble.

Jackson Freeman got on base as the inning’s leadoff hitter with a single through the right side. Bennett Markinson followed the Freshman outfielder with a double to left center putting the tying run at second. Vince Bianchina and Trent Liolios drove them in with a sacrifice fly and base hit, tying the game at five, evaporating a lead Maryland held since the second inning. 

Maryland’s lineup had chances to score, getting the go-ahead run on base in both the ninth and tenth, but no Terrapin could come up with the big hit. The Terps left 13 runners stranded on the base paths.

Maryland finished the game with 11 hits and four walks, five of their hits were doubles. The most consequential double came in the top of the fourth off the bat of Jacob Orr. 

Orr stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. The Northwestern reliever, Matt McClure, was one out away from escaping the trouble he worked himself into. Orr swung at the righty’s 1-1 offering and blasted it deep into the left center gap. The ball looked like it may squeeze over the wall, but it bounced off the top instead allowing the bases to clear and Maryland to go up by four. 

That was the most Maryland led by in the game providing run support for Kenny Lippman who produced a strong bounce back start coming off a poor outing against Indiana.   

Lippman came into his ninth start struggling since the start of Big Ten play starting the weekend with a 8.22 ERA and 1.85 WHIP against conference opponents. Lippman’s last outing against Indiana was another rough one giving up six runs in six innings. Lippman went the same distance in this game, but to a much better result.

The right-handed starter allowed three earned runs in his six innings of work on five Northwestern hits. Lippman didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. The only thing that Lippman struggled with was keeping the ball in the yard. 

All three Wildcat runs scored against him came via the home run. Northwestern’s first home run came in the fourth off the bat of  Liolios. Liolios blasted a long 2-run homer to right field that left no doubt of its final landing spot. The other was a solo homer from Freeman to the opposite field in the bottom of the sixth. The pair finished a combined four for eight with a walk and four RBI.

The win is Northwestern’s first conference win of the season and is the Terps third straight loss this week. The Wildcats continue to sit at the bottom of the conference standings with its 1-6 record while the Terps sit in tenth.

Maryland will look to rebound with a win on Saturday in hopes of forcing a rubber match on Sunday.