Indiana senior Braydon Tucker buried a breaking pitch below the strike zone in the bottom of the 11th inning against Maryland outfielder Chris Alleyne, the Big Ten Player of the Year. Alleyne reached down and swung right through it: history.
The Hoosiers defeated top-seeded Maryland 6-4 in 11 innings Saturday evening to advance to play their fourth game of the Big Ten Tournament. It's the first time in tournament history that a No. 8 seed eliminated a No. 1 seed.
Indiana fell to Maryland in walk-off fashion 6-5 on Thursday night in the first round of the tournament, which also lasted 11 innings.
Saturday's game was the first time the same two teams went to extra innings twice in two games in the tournament's history. Due to the double-elimination format, teams can face off more than once. It looked like the same walk-off fate would befall the Hoosiers again on Saturday.
Maryland loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning off Tucker in a tied game 4-4. On a full count, Maryland third baseman Nick Lorusso chopped the ball right at Indiana freshman third baseman Josh Pyne. The winning run was only 90 feet away at third base.
Pyne fired toward home plate for the force out before the next batter grounded out to end the threat. Pyne could briefly sigh in relief before entering another pressure-filled situation two innings later.
Indiana loaded the bases in the top of the 11th, and Pyne stepped into the right-handed batter's box. The freshman delivered clutch hits before, hitting a walk-off in late April against Illinois — who Indiana beat Friday night to survive elimination in the tournament.
Pyne knocked a base hit up the middle and two runners scored as Indiana regained a 6-4 lead in the top of the 11th. Bobby Whalen, who exited Friday's game after getting hit by a pitch in the helmet, was the second runner to cross the plate.
Tucker returned to the mound in the bottom of the 11th and, despite allowing a two-out single, retired the side to earn his second individual win of the season. The right-handed senior hurled a season-high six innings, allowing zero earned runs and four hits while striking out five Terrapin batters.
When Tucker entered in the sixth inning, he committed a throwing error that allowed two Maryland runners to score. Still, no other Terrapin crossed the plate for the remainder of the game, allowing Indiana's offense to remain in striking distance before completing the three-run rally.
With the historic win, Indiana advances to play No. 2 Rutgers in another elimination game Saturday night. First pitch is slated for approximately 11:53 p.m. CT and will air on the Big Ten Network.