Indiana baseball was swept by Maryland last weekend, falling to 31-14 overall and 9-6 in Big Ten play. The Hoosiers are now in third place in the conference. The Terrapins improved to 30-15 this season and 11-4 in conference play, taking sole possession of the top spot in the Big Ten.
Prior to the weekend, Indiana had not been swept in a three or four game series in the history of Bart Kaufman Field. The last time the Hoosiers were swept at home was against Minnesota on April 24, 2011.
On Friday, Maryland scored three runs off junior right hander Seti Manase in the opening frame thanks to back-to-back homers from junior infielder Matt Shaw and senior infielder Nick Lorusso, with the third run scoring on a sacrifice fly from sophomore infielder Eddie Hacopian. That was all the run support Maryland senior starter Nick Dean needed on the mound in the lopsided affair that ended in a 13-2 Terrapin victory.
A theme throughout the weekend was that whenever Indiana’s offense showed signs of life, Maryland responded in kind. After sophomore outfielder Carter Mathison hit a solo homer to bring the Hoosiers to within two runs heading into the fifth inning, the Terrapins hung seven on freshman Brayden Risedorph, who was tasked with pitching in relief of Manase after his short outing.
Maryland sent 11 men to the plate in the frame, and seven came around to score. Risedorph surrendered five hits in the inning, and despite forcing weak contact, the only out he recorded was a sacrifice fly. Whatever Maryland put into play seemed to find a hole before it found an Indiana defender. By the time the dust settled, the Terrapins had outscored Indiana 10-1 in the first five innings.
Game two began similarly to its predecessor, with the Terrapins scoring in the first inning versus sophomore right-handed pitcher Luke Sinnard, Indiana’s Saturday starter.
Shaw opened the scoring with a double that scored junior catcher Luke Shliger in the first, and junior infielder Kevin Keister tacked on Maryland’s second run an inning later. Indiana pulled back to within one run in the bottom of the second after sophomore third baseman Josh Pyne singled to score sophomore first baseman Brock Tibbitts, but that was as close as the home nine got.
In his six innings of work on Saturday, Sinnard gave up a season-high six runs and ten hits, two of which were home runs blasted by Shliger and Shaw. He exited the game with Indiana trailing 6-1, and Maryland exploded with nine runs in the eighth inning, putting the game well out of reach.
Mathison hit his second solo homer in as many games in the bottom of the ninth, but Indiana’s rally fell just short as they dropped the second game 16-2.
“(The Terrapins) are the defending (Big Ten) champs for a reason,” Mercer said after Saturday’s game. “They’ve played and thrown really well.”
Freshman southpaw Kyle McCoy pitched a gem for Maryland Saturday, throwing seven innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and walking two batters but striking out just one. Of the 21 outs he recorded, 16 were groundouts.
Indiana stranded eight baserunners in Saturday’s loss, including a contentious fifth inning groundout from freshman outfielder Devin Taylor that saw the Hoosiers go scoreless with the bases loaded.
The series finale began at noon Sunday and did not finish until over 4.5 hours later because of middle-inning lightning delays that totaled one hour and 49 minutes. Maryland’s offense was not stymied by the inclement conditions, scoring in every inning except the first and securing the sweep by a final score of 14-8.
Three consecutive one-out knocks and a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by sophomore infielder Jacob Orr gave Maryland a 2-0 lead in the second inning, which became a 4-0 advantage an inning later.
Indiana responded with a 479-foot, three-run blast from Taylor in the bottom half of the third, but Maryland’s offense continued its torrid pace in the fourth inning.
After Keister doubled to lead off the inning, sophomore lefty Ryan Kraft’s day ended when he hit Shliger on the first pitch of the at-bat. Redshirt senior Craig Yoho took Kraft’s place, and after striking out Shaw on three pitches, he surrendered an RBI single to Lorusso that extended the Terrapins’ lead to two runs.
Indiana took the lead for the first and last time of the weekend in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a sacrifice fly from redshirt junior Bobby Whalen, Taylor’s second homer of the day and an RBI double from Mathison.
Shaw seared another Maryland home run to dead center, tying the game at seven. Connor Foley replaced Yoho and got out of the inning without any further damage, but the first of two lightning delays meant the freshman flamethrower’s day was either going to be cut short or potentially turbulent.
Over 60 minutes after recording the final out in the sixth inning, Foley returned to the mound in the seventh and promptly surrendered back-to-back walks. Mercer decided to bring in junior Brooks Ey to replace Foley with two runners on, nobody out and the top of Maryland’s lineup due up.
At the ninth spot in the lineup, Keister laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both baserunners into scoring position, and the second lightning delay began immediately thereafter.
As the skies cleared, Shliger ripped Ey’s 2-1 pitch up the middle, scoring both baserunners and giving the Terps the lead for good. They scored seven runs after the delay. Sophomore outfielder Elijah Lambros plated the final two on his second homer of the day, this one ricocheting off the left field scoreboard in the ninth. Indiana lost by six.
Maryland hit safely 50 times in the series, headlined by an 8-14 weekend from Shaw that included three of the team’s nine home runs. Shaw now stands atop the conference leaderboards with 18 homers this season. Nearly half of Maryland’s 50 hits were for extra bases, and they batted over .400 on the weekend.
Indiana, by contrast, struck out 11 times on Friday and did not record more than seven hits in a game until the series finale. They batted just .238 against the Terrapins and stranded 22 baserunners in total. The Hoosiers were outscored 29-4 in the first two games of the series and 43-12 on the weekend.
“We got beat,” Mercer said Sunday. “Their coaches were better than ours. Their head coach was better than me. They were just better for three days.”
Indiana has five days to rest before heading up I-65 to face Northwestern this weekend. The Wildcats hold the worst record in the conference at 3-12. They are 7-31 overall and did not win a game until March 19. The series begins Friday at 4 p.m. and concludes with 2 p.m. starts on Saturday and Sunday. All three games will be streamed on B1G+.