The No. 18 Nebraska baseball team (23-10, 3-3 Big Ten) jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the No. 17 Maryland Terrapins (22-7, 7-2 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon, but the Terrapins fought back and scored the game’s final six runs, including an unearned run in the ninth for a 6-5 walk-off win.
The Huskers were swept in the series, the first time they’ve been swept in a conference series since joining the Big Ten. The last time NU was swept in a conference series was in 2011 as members of the Big 12, when NU lost three straight at Texas A&M.
The game was tied 5-5 going into the bottom of the ninth and after NU reliever Colton Howell retired Brandon Lowe to start the inning, the Terps got back-to-back singles that put the tying run on second base. Howell then got a ground ball to shortstop Wes Edrington and he tossed to Jake Placzek for an out at second base, Placzek tried to turn the double play, but committed an error throwing to first base and the game-winning run scored on the play.
Nebraska jumped out to a 5-0 lead on five hits through the first two innings, but was then held hitless the rest of the game. The Terrapins didn’t get a hit the first three innings before notching eight the rest of the game, including three home runs.
Nebraska sophomore Derek Burkamper gave the Huskers 5.1 innings and allowed three runs on only four hits, but two of the hits were solo home runs. The right hander left the game with a 5-3 lead, but didn’t factor into the decision after UM tied the game in the seventh.
Maryland started junior Kevin Mooney, who entered the game with a team-best three saves and just one start on the season. The right hander lasted just 3.0 innings after giving up five runs (two earned) on two hits and four walks. Mooney entered the game with one hit and three walks issued over 8.0 innings.
Just like both games yesterday, the Huskers had their leadoff man on to start the game when Ryan Boldt was hit with Mooney’s first pitch. Jake Schleppenbach followed with his fifth double of the year and the Huskers were in business with two runners in scoring position. Mooney came back and struck out Blake Headley on three pitches, but Tanner Lubach then got the job done with a RBI groundout that gave the Huskers a 1-0 lead.
Nebraska added to its lead in the second thanks to walks and a two-out error. Scott Schreiber led off the frame with a single and it looked like he’d be stranded after Mooney retired the next two Huskers he faced, but UM’s starter lost the strike zone and walked three straight. With the bases loaded and one run already across, Lubach hit a routine popup to shallow left field, but UM shortstop Kevin Smith had the ball bounce off his glove and three Huskers scored on the miscue to give NU at 5-0 lead.
Burkamper retired the first eight Terrapins he faced and didn’t allow a baserunner until there were two outs in the third when No. 9 hitter Kengo Kawahara reached on a fielding error by Schreiber at first base. Burkamper’s shutout and no hitter came to an end with one out in the fourth on a solo homer by Kevin Martir. NU’s starter didn’t allow any other damage in the inning and the Huskers took a 5-1 lead into the fifth inning.
The Terps got their second hit of the game in the fifth, and just the like the first hit it was a one-out solo home run. After Jamal Wade’s third homer of the year cut NU’s lead to 5-2, Burkamper walked Kawahara before retiring UM’s No. 1 and 2 hitters to end the fifth.
Maryland kept chipping away and added a run in the sixth, before Smith launched a two-run homer with two outs in the seventh off Jeff Chesnut that evened the score, 5-5. Chesnut entered the game with only two runs allowed on the year in 21.1 innings over 15 appearances.
The Huskers had the go-ahead run on base in the eighth when Schreiber drew a four-pitch walk to start the frame. Luis Alvarado then moved Schreiber into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, but UM reliever Alex Robinson got Edrington to fly out for the second out of the inning. Robinson then walked Boldt and the Huskers went to Placzek, who Robinson struck out on three pitches. Maryland then had the go-ahead run in scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but Howell kept the game tied, 5-5, with a strikeout of Kawahara.
Headley led off the top of the ninth with his second walk of the game, but he was quickly cleared off the bases when Lubach hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Robinson then got Ben Miller to fly out, setting the stage for the Terrapins to complete their comeback in the ninth.
The Huskers now head back to Lincoln before hitting the road on Tuesday for a midweek contest in Manhattan, Kan., against the Kansas State Wildcats. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and the game will be carried on Time Warner Sports in Nebraska.