Season ends in heartbreaking fashion for Maryland baseball

Maryland baseball entered the weekend needing a series win to likely clinch a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. The exact opposite happened as the Terps were steamrolled by Penn State, resulting in the Nittany Lions qualifying for the Big Ten Tournament, and Maryland missing out on Omaha for the first time since 2018. Here is a look at how the final weekend of the season went:

Thursday: Penn State 8, Maryland 4

Penn State scored the game’s opening run in the second with a Kevin Michaels home run, but Chris Hacopian tied the game in the bottom half with a monster home run. Penn State took a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning scoring three off of Omar Melendez. The Nittany Lions broke open the game in the sixth inning with a three-run home run by Adam Cecere to make it 7-1. Maryland got closer in the bottom half when Jacob Orr hit a two-run homer, and Maryland added another in the inning to make it 7-4. Some questionable base running decisions curbed a bigger inning for Maryland. The Nittany Lions tacked on one more in the ninth on a home run from Matt Maloney. Travis Luensmann was fantastic on the mound for Penn State through the first five innings while Mason Horwat pitched the last four innings in relief.

Friday (G1): Penn State 6, Maryland 5 (10 innings)

Penn State started strong again in game two of the series scoring two runs in the first with RBIs from Cecere and Bryce Molinaro, while the Terps got one back in the second when Sam Hojnar homered. Maryland tied the game in the third when Hojnar reached on an error. The Nittany Lions took the lead back in the fourth when Molinaro homered. Maryland countered again when Devin Russell homered in the bottom half tying the game, but the Nittany Lions responded in the fifth on an RBI from JT Marr. But, Sam Hojnar hit his second home run of the game in the bottom half to give Maryland the lead on a two run homer. Penn State would tie the game in the seventh on a throwing error by Hojnar, however. When the game went to the tenth inning, the Nittany Lions took the lead on an RBI groundout. Maryland was able to load the bases in the bottom of the tenth but Devin Russell struck out with two out and the Terps dropped the series in brutal fashion.

Friday (G2): Penn State 19, Maryland 7

Maryland was finally able to get on the board first when Brayden Martin hit his first career college homer, but Penn State took the lead on a two run homer in the second by Kevin Michaels. Eddie Hacopian, though, hit a three-run shot in the bottom of the third to give Maryland a 4-2 lead. The wheels fell off a bit in the fourth when Penn State scored four times, but not one time in the inning on an RBI hit. Tayven Kelley added two more for Penn State in the seventh to make the score 10-4, and then Ben Nardi homered to make it 10-5. But, to cement the sweep, Penn State scored seven times in the ninth inning to put the finishing touches on a dominant weekend and send Penn State to Omaha.

Takeaways:

In the Blink of an Eye

Maryland’s chances at making the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament were both still very much alive heading into the weekend. If Maryland won two out of three, they’d continue to be in a good spot. However, the team fell flat this weekend and Penn State absolutely rolled over Maryland sweeping the Terps in a series they absolutely had to win.

Super Sam

Sam Hojnar had his fourth multi-homer game of the season on Friday in game one of the doubleheader. It was a very impressive season for Hojnar in his lone season in a Maryland uniform, as he provided a significant amount of thunder to the Maryland lineup and also played a good second base.

Unfamiliar Territory

This is the first time since 2018 that Maryland will miss the Big Ten Tournament. It’s a shocking result for the team that won the regular season title in 2022 and 2023 while winning the tournament last year. Nonetheless, Matt Swope will have an extremely experienced team next season and the Terps should be right back in the mix of the Big Ten standings.

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