For the second straight day, Maryland turned to its saves leader in the seventh inning. The strategy did not pay off Sunday.
Center fielder Craig Dedelow crushed a grand slam, propelling Indiana to steal a 6-3 win from Maryland in a rain-shortened rubber match in Bloomington.
Ryan Selmer entered Saturday’s game to protect a 6-2 advantage and remained in the rest of the game although Maryland upped its cushion to 9-2. Selmer needed only 23 pitches to retire eight batters, so coaches deemed him fresh enough to pitch again Sunday.
The decision worked for the first two batters, whom Selmer sent down quickly. The inning quickly unraveled from that point on.
With Indiana trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning, designated hitter Matt Lloyd doubled to follow second baseman Tony Butler’s single. Center fielder Zach Jancarski had a long way to run to field Lloyd’s extra base hit, but Indiana gave Butler the stop sign at third base.
Indiana’s patience was soon rewarded.
Following an intentional walk that loaded the bases, Dedelow struck a 1-1 pitch the opposite way. The grand slam landed in front of the scoreboard in left-center field.
As Dedelow rounded the bases and his teammates gathered to greet him at home plate, first baseman Austin Cangelosi turned to the Terrapin dugout, pointing and barking at them. Head coach John Szefc sprinted out onto the field, his squad emptying the benches to join him.
The situation quickly resolved, with Szefc shooing his team away and Indiana turning away to head back to its dugout. The tension had no chance of escalating on the field as the skies opened and forced a lightning delay.
Play resumed at 2:22 p.m., with the travel curfew looming. Reliever Jamal Wade finished the seventh quickly and took just three warmup pitches before the bottom of the eighth, doing his best to give Maryland a ninth inning.
No inning could begin after the clock struck 2:35, and Cangelosi walked on a full count in his turn at the plate leading off the eighth. The Terps were unable to score in the eighth and with no chance of a ninth inning, the game was called.
Maryland struggled all day to hit with runners on base, batting just 2-for-17. Fortunately for the Terps, one of those hits flew over the fence. Shortstop Kevin Smith belted the first pitch he saw from starter Pauly Milto in the fourth inning off the scoreboard to drive in two runs.
Milto allowed seven hits, two walks and three runs before Indiana replaced him after four innings.
With 17 men reaching base, the Terps had plenty of opportunities to score, but they went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Maryland loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning, with three-hitter Marty Costes coming to the plate. The right fielder stepped up 2-for-2 with a walk earlier in the ballgame.
Costes, the team’s leading home run hitter, looked to add one more long ball to his stat sheet. The right fielder too three giant cuts and came up empty on three of them, striking out.
Second baseman Nick Dunn grounded sharply to third baseman Luke Miller, who collected it and outraced Jancarski to the bag, ending the inning.
Dunn came up with an RBI in the first inning when his fielder’s choice drove in Jancarski.
Dunn blooped the pitch into right field, where two outfielders converged to watch it drop in front of them. Costes, on board with a walk, stood close to first base trying to gauge whether either outfielder would make the catch. So close to first, he didn’t have enough time or speed to advance safely once he saw the ball hit the turf.
Maryland missed another opportunity as the next batter, designated hitter Will Watson, over-slid second base trying to stretch his single into a double. The slippery, rain-soaked turf near second base gave Maryland runners trouble on three occasions, but this instance ended the inning with a runner on third.
The lack of timely hitting wasted Taylor Bloom’s six-inning, two-run outing. The junior righty struck out seven while granting six hits and two walks.
Maryland fell to 13-5 in conference play but still sits atop the Big Ten. The next stop on the Terps’ seven-game road stretch is Towson on Wednesday at 7 p.m.