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‘Cats collect top-25 win, lose series to Maryland

Northwestern baseball left College Park with its first top-25 win of the season but lost both the first and final game of the series to the Terrapins.

Following a historic performance from Maryland on Friday and facing a late deficit in Saturday’s game, Northwestern was in danger of heading into the final day of the series without scoring a single run, let alone winning a game.

The Wildcats were on the wrong side of a perfect game courtesy of Ryan Ramsey on Friday and managed only three hits and no runs through seven innings on Saturday in front of 2,576 fans at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

But the ‘Cats responded in a big way, exploding for seven runs in the final two innings and hanging on for a 7-4 win to steal a single game in a series loss to 23rd-ranked Maryland. Northwestern (20-19, 7-8 B1G) fell to the Terrapins 10-5 on Sunday but held onto sixth place in the Big Ten standings.

Game 1 Recap

For just the 20th time in a nine-inning NCAA baseball game, a team went 27 up and 27 down at the plate on Friday. Ryan Ramsey needed 118 pitches to strike out 10 Northwestern hitters and induce nine groundouts and eight flyouts for the first Maryland perfect game since 1959.

Maryland’s offense pounded out 17 hits and scored 13 runs to back their left-hander, chasing NU starter Sean Sullivan from the game in the third inning. Sullivan lost his first decision of his collegiate career, allowing eight earned runs in 2.2 innings. David Utagawa and Jacob Scharm finished the game on the mound in the 13-0 loss.

Ramsey improved to 8-0 in his first Friday start of the year. Northwestern was shut out for just the second time this season, and the team failed to reach base in a game for the first time since Iowa’s Chad Blackwell threw a seven-inning perfect game in 2000.

Game 2 Recap

Trailing 1-0 in the top of the eighth inning, the Wildcats rallied for five runs against three Terrapin relievers to flip the script on a dismal offensive series. Jay Beshears’ sacrifice fly with the bases loaded snapped the two-game scoring drought, and Vincent Bianchina’s two-run single handed Northwestern its first lead of the weekend. Bennett Markinson added a run-scoring single and Patrick Herrera was hit by a pitch with the bases full to make it 5-1.

Michael Farinelli silenced the Terps’ bats over the first five innings, limiting Maryland to five hits and one run. Coby Moe and Mike Doherty fired two innings each to seal the victory. Doherty, appearing in his second game of the week after missing a month of action, earned his first career save in the 7-4 win.

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Bianchina, Markinson and Anthony Calarco each recorded multiple hits. Calarco’s solo home run in the top of the ninth inning gave the ‘Cats a key insurance run.

Game 3 Recap

The seventh inning on Sunday made the difference in the game and the series. In a 3-1 hole, Northwestern posted another crooked number in the late innings, plating three runs to take a 4-3 lead. But the Terrapins spoiled the brief advantage, scoring four runs in the bottom of the inning en route to a 10-5 win and securing the series victory.

Both Northwestern’s Grant Comstock and Maryland’s Nick Dean were effective on the hill to start the game. Comstock pitched 4.1 innings of two-run ball, while Dean shut out the ‘Cats through five frames.

Northwestern’s defense committed errors on back-to-back plays in the seventh inning, the latter of which resulted in two runs scoring. Parker Hanks was the losing pitcher, which was his first loss of the year.

Up Next

Northwestern is scheduled to take on UIC on Tuesday at Curtis Granderson Stadium in Chicago, although according to local forecasts, inclement weather may impact the non-conference tilt. The Wildcats return home for a Big Ten series this weekend, hosting Ohio State at Rocky and Berenice Miller Park.

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