Centerfielder Zach Jancarski watches a ball low to walk. UMD Baseball faced Purdue on April 20th, 2018. (Richard Moglen)

Late homer lifts Hoosiers past Terps

When lightning strikes, thunder isn’t too far behind.

This came to fruition in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Maryland Terrapins’ 6-5 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers on Thursday night.

After lightning in the top of the seventh inning delayed the game for over 90 minutes, the thunder came in the form of one fateful swing from Indiana’s Luke Miller. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Miller launched a three-run homerun to right-center field off Maryland closer John Murphy to turn the Hoosiers’ 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 lead.

The Terps entered the bottom of that inning leading 5-2, but relievers Ryan Hill and Grant Burleson could not record an out. After Burleson allowed a run to score on an RBI single from Matt Lloyd leaving runners on first and second with no outs, Murphy entered. The closer started off strong, striking out the first two he faced, but Miller got the job done.

The homer was the finishing touch on an ugly half-inning for Maryland in which four pitchers were used. The last was Sean Fisher, who entered to record the final out after Murphy was ejected for throwing behind Ryan Fineman.

A heartbreaking loss was detrimental to the Terps in multiple ways. The first: it spoiled an excellent all-around performance through the first seven innings.

Hunter Parsons was given the nod Thursday as the Terps continue to shuffle around their weekend rotation, and the junior right-hander did not disappoint. Continuing his successful 2018 campaign, Parsons tossed six innings allowing just two earned runs. He may have been able to continue into the seventh, but the lightning delay ended his start.

Offensively, Zach Jancarski and Taylor Wright led the charge for the Terps. Jancarski opened up the scoring, launching a two-run homer off of Indiana starter Jonathan Stiever in the second, and Wright went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s.

The loss also has negative ramifications for the Terps’ playoff chances. Entering Thursday night’s matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers, Maryland had an opportunity to separate themselves from the other teams fighting for the eighth spot in the Big Ten tournament. With Rutgers being eliminated earlier in the day with a loss, and Michigan State and Nebraska falling as well, a Terps win would have gone a long way towards securing the final spot.

With the loss, the Terps still hold the eighth spot, but have plenty of work to do in the final two games of the regular season.

Game two is moved up to 1 p.m. on Friday due impending weather.