Nebraska baseball earned a key win on Saturday against No. 23 Maryland, but a Sunday blowout cemented a series win for the Terrapins.
The Big Ten’s best home-run-hitting teams put up plenty of scoring throughout the weekend, but the Terrapins’ firepower prevailed. Maryland, a top-10 team in the nation in runs per game, won 8-4 in the series opener before Nebraska evened things up with a 12-10 victory the next day.
The rubber match got out of hand fairly early, as an eight-run fourth inning gave Maryland a 12-3 lead before another eight-run frame made it 20-5 in the sixth inning, and that’s where the score stayed. Prior to the last three scoreless innings, a number of Husker pitchers took the mound and struggled.
Nebraska got out to at least a 2-0 lead in every game, but those advantages didn’t last for long. Even in the win, the Huskers never lost the lead but the Terrapins consistently prevented the game from getting out of hand.
“We were pretty incompetent on the mound today,” head coach Will Bolt said postgame Sunday on Huskers Radio Network. “Every guy that took the ball was chasing the count. And we talked about it before the weekend started, against a good offense like this, you got to be able to get ahead and you know, we gave them 12 free passes. Obviously it’s tough to overcome and they’re really good hitting team and they made us pay.”
It took a bit for Maryland’s offense to get going in the opening game. Nebraska took the lead in the top of the first as Max Anderson followed up a Casey Burnham double with a two-run homer. Husker starter Emmett Olson gave up two hits in the bottom of the inning, allowing a run to score on a sacrifice fly, but held off the opponents up until the fifth inning. Between the second and fourth innings, he allowed just one baserunner on a walk.
Nebraska also couldn’t score in that span however, despite putting runners in scoring position with one out in the fourth inning. Then, the Terrapins made their push in the fifth, tying the game on an RBI double. With bases loaded, the go-ahead hit was not fully the fault of Olson, as a ground ball snuck under the glove of Dylan Carey at third base to bring in two runs, and a fielding error in left field made room for one more.
A sacrifice fly off of pitcher Corbin Hawkins made it 6-2 at the end of the fifth inning. That was all Maryland needed, as both teams added two more runs down the stretch. Maryland did not hit a home run that game for the first time in Big Ten play, but Saturday’s matchup brought a lot more.
The Huskers opened to a 5-0 lead in game two, four of those coming off of a Griffin Everitt grand slam. That was the first of eight home runs on the day between the two teams, and Maryland accounted for the next three. Matt Shaw hit two of those, the second a solo shot to cut his team’s deficit to 5-4 in the second inning.
Nebraska bounced back quick, as Anderson hit his second homer of the series in the third inning, and two more followed in the frame to give the Huskers a five-run advantage.
By the time the dust settled on the shootout, Nebraska was up 12-9 at the end of the sixth inning. The Huskers scored three runs in the latest inning, while Maryland added two. None of those were on homers. From here, the pitchers shined. Logan Ott and Andrew Johnson shut out Nebraska through the final three innings, so Shay Schanaman ended up tasked with stopping a completed comeback.
Schanaman entered the game for starter Jace Kaminska in the fifth inning, and met some struggles in the sixth. After that, he didn’t necessarily shut down the Terrapins, but came through with crucial pitches.
In the eighth, Maryland put two runners in scoring position with two outs, but the fifth-year Husker struck out the next batter to avoid any damage. A Schanaman error in the ninth put a runner on second with one out, and a single scored a run. Maryland brought the potential tying run to the plate, but that batter struck out swinging to secure the Nebraska win.
“That was his game to finish and I thought he actually got better, his command got better as the game went along,” Bolt said postgame Saturday.
The Terrapins haven’t lost a Big Ten series since 2021, and Sunday’s series-deciding matchup showed why. They hit another four home runs and recorded 20 hits, as Nebraska’s pitching stood no chance after Will Walsh exited with one out, one on and Nebraska leading 3-2 in the third inning.
If there was anything good to take away during the loss, Anderson continued his great series. He hit his third home run in as many games, adding a double as well.
Even the series loss wasn’t a terrible thing for the team. The one game Nebraska grabbed from the first-place team in the Big Ten kept it from dropping to .500 in conference play, a record that would have the Huskers at ninth in the league standings. Eight teams make the conference tournament, and Nebraska now sits in a four-way tie for fifth.
The Huskers will complete their suspended game against Creighton on Tuesday, then play another game against the Bluejays. After that comes the final home series of the season, a crucial one at home against Penn State.