Maryland took its fair share of bruisings from Northwestern, but won the fight. With a few hours to recuperate, the two teams square up again on Saturday night.
The fourth Terrapin hit by pitch came in a tie game with the bases loaded in the seventh, triggering a four-run outburst that gave Maryland a 9-5 win in the Big Ten tournament Saturday.
Third baseman AJ Lee stepped up with each base occupied and nobody out and wore a Josh Levy offering. The Wildcats turned to their fourth reliever of the afternoon after that. JR Reimer walked his first batter, gave up a sac fly on the next and was on the mound for one more run as catcher Justin Morris beat out a double play.
Northwestern began its steady replacement of pitchers in the fifth inning following a lengthy delay created by the home plate umpire’s injury. A foul ball struck the umpire in the hand and required him to be taken to the hospital, with the third base ump moving behind the plate for the remainder of the game.
Wildcats starter Josh Davis came out for the fifth and gave up a single and double before being pulled. Tommy Bordignon uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch, then gave up a single and walk before his day was done.
Lefty Richard Fordon forced the left-handed Nick Dunn into a double play but pegged the next two batters. Northwestern turned to Levy, who struck out shortstop Kevin Smith with the bases full to finally end the frame.
Maryland took an early lead with a first-inning homer from right fielder Marty Costes. The Terps added back-to-back solo shots from designated hitter Will Watson and Smith to start the second.
Watson made his first start of the Big Ten tournament, going 1-for-2 with two RBIs while wearing unfamiliar jersey No. 45. The junior normally wears No. 18.
The Wildcats scored five unanswered after falling behind 3-0, pulling ahead in the fifth on a two-run homer struck by left fielder Joe Hoscheit.
Reliever John Murphy finished the game and earned the win for the Terps with three scoreless innings, allowing one hit.
The Terps won its third straight elimination game after dropping its first contest in the Big Ten Tournament. By virtue of handing Northwestern its first loss in the double-elimination tournament, the two teams will rematch Saturday night with a championship game berth on the line.