Despite a fantastic outing from the eighth-seeded Spartan starting pitcher Nick Powers, who had six strikeouts in seven innings, the effort was not enough to overcome the top-seeded Maryland Terrapins. Their defense turned countless double plays to strand 10 Spartan runners in a 3-2 first-round loss.
MSU got on the board first as junior second baseman Trent Farquhar reached on a walk followed by a single to right field by junior first baseman Brock Vradenburg. A wild pitch by the freshman Maryland starter Kyle McCoy on a swinging bunt by junior shortstop Mitch Jebb allowed Farquhar to score to give the Spartans the early lead. Shortly after the error, McCoy was pulled for fifth year right hander Kenny Lippman.
Maryland struck back in the next half-inning as the Terrapins got runners to second and third to start the inning. They eventually scored both on back to back sacrifice flies to center field. Senior third baseman Nick Lorusso and sophomore designated hitter Ian Petrutz were the batters to record the runs batted in.
MSU threatened in the top of the second with two runners on and one out but junior right fielder Jack Frank grounded into a double play as Lorusso touched third and rifled the ball over to first to end the Spartans half of the second.
The Spartans continued to go on attack mode as they loaded the bases with Lippman walks but Jebb popped out along with a double play ground out by redshirt sophomore designated hitter Sam Busch to keep the score at 2-1 through three and a half innings.
The junior Powers started to settle in during the bottom of the fourth as it only took him less than 10 pitches to end the inning.
Maryland’s defense was sharp all evening as they turned its fourth and most impressive double play when junior shortstop Matt Shaw made a miraculous catch on a blooper by Vradenburg and then threw it to second to get Frank to end the top of the fifth.
After Lippman was pulled to begin the fifth, sophomore left hander Andrew Johnson got yanked after giving up a two out walk to Busch and a double to junior third baseman Dillon Kark. That sequence led the Terrapins to bring out redshirt sophomore right hander Nigel Belgrave. He then got out of the top half of the sixth unscathed, only needing four pitches to retire senior left fielder Casey Mayes.
The green and white were finally able to knot the match at two apiece as Vradenburg ripped an RBI single to score redshirt junior center fielder Greg Ziegler. Maryland again then went to the pen with two on and one out in the top of the seventh as they brought out David Falco Jr. The redshirt junior right-hander worked his way out of the jam as he recorded a pop out and a strikeout to take the game into the seventh inning stretch.
After getting runners on first and second with only one out, the Terrapins turned yet another double play to end the Spartans top half of the eighth inning.
Powers' dominant day along with the game's tie score came to an end in the bottom of the eighth as junior catcher Luke Shliger barreled up his second double of the night to give the Terrapins their one run lead back. Senior right hander Wyatt Rush was called upon to finish off the inning and he did so, forcing Shaw to ground out and Lorusso to strikeout, giving the Spartans one last chance to tie or take the lead with the top of the lineup due up.
The Spartans' gutsy effort came to a close as Falco Jr. took down the top of the MSU lineup in order to advance the Terrapins to the second round.
With the loss, MSU will face the winner of fourth-seeded Nebraska and fifth-seeded Rutgers on Thursday morning to attempt to prolong their season. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.