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Behind Stellar Pitching, Baseball Wins First Big Ten Tournament

Terps Head to NCAA Regional

By Maryland Athletics Staff

Terps baseball celebrates big ten championship

The Maryland baseball team celebrates its Big Ten title after defeating Iowa on Sunday. The Terps return to the NCAA regionals for the third year in a row.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland baseball won its first conference championship on Sunday, beating Iowa, 4-0, to capture the Big Ten title at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha.

The top-seeded and No. 23-ranked Terps (41-19) secured the Big Ten's NCAA Tournament automatic qualifier with the victory. The Terps will take on Northeastern (44-14) in the Winston-Salem Regional at 1 p.m. Friday; it will be Maryland’s third consecutive year in the NCAA regionals.

“We’ve got a dang good ball team,” said coach Rob Vaughn. “We were able to win the regular season outright with a pretty dang tough schedule … and we got it done again going through a tough bracket. Proud of our guys.”

After five innings of scoreless baseball, the Terps broke through for three runs in the fifth inning on a pair of home runs from Kevin Keister and Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player Nick Lorusso. Facing the formidable Jack Whitlock, Keister opened by turning on a breaking ball and belting a two-run jack into the Maryland bullpen. Three batters later, Lorusso hit his 23rd home run of the season on a high fly ball that just cleared the left-field fence.

On Sunday, Maryland's pitching staff continued its tournament brilliance in a collective effort, as the five pitchers who Vaughn used recorded the Terps' second Big Ten Tournament shutout (after a 3-0 win over Indiana in 2016). The Terps gave up only five runs across Big Ten Tournament action for a 1.22 ERA.

Kenny Lippman (8-1) earned the win with a dominant performance in relief, setting down all eight Hawkeyes he faced. After entering the fourth inning with two runners on base, the fifth-year right-hander induced a double play and a soft groundout to keep Iowa (42-14) off the board. In his next two frames, Lippman retired the side in order to allow for the offensive outburst.

Before Lippman's appearance, Ryan Van Buren earned the starting nod for the final, opening with two innings of scoreless ball while working himself out of a pair of Iowa scoring opportunities. The Hawkeyes got runners on first and second in the first two innings, but the freshman right-hander sneaked Maryland out of both situations. Andrew Johnson pitched the third, allowing a two-out double.

Lippman exited after the sixth inning, leaving Nate Haberthier and David Falco Jr. to handle the seventh. After a leadoff walk, Falco coaxed a double play to keep Iowa scoreless. Falco closed out the contest for the Terps, tossing 2.2 scoreless frames while striking out a pair of Hawkeyes.

The Maryland offense added another run in the sixth inning, as Jacob Orr's RBI single padded the lead after an Eddie Hacopian leadoff double.

The tournament victory closed out four games in six days, as Maryland toppled seventh-seeded Michigan State (3-2) and fourth-seeded Nebraska twice (2-1 and 4-2) to take on No. 3 seed Iowa.

Lorusso notched his 99th RBI of the season, extending his nation-leading total, while Keister recorded his 13th multi-RBI contest of the campaign. Hacopian notched his second consecutive multi-hit effort, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Additionally, Luke Shliger extended his 58-game reached-base streak with a hit-by-pitch and a walk.



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