LINCOLN, Neb. – Sophomore AJ Lee notched three hits, two runs scored and two RBIs to help lead the No. 24 Maryland baseball team past Nebraska at Haymarket Park Saturday afternoon.
The Terrapins (20-9, 6-2 Big Ten) rode their offense, which scored eight runs on 12 hits, and a superb performance from their bullpen. Junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Hill led that performance, tossing four and two thirds innings of one-run ball with five Ks after starter Taylor Bloom was bounced early in the game.
Maryland opened the scoring in the top of the first. Back-to-back singles from junior Zach Jancarski and sophomore Nick Dunn set up senior Brandon Gum, who slapped a single into left to plate Jancarski and give the Terps a 1-0 lead.
The Terps doubled the lead in the second. Lee took a 1-0 pitched over the left field fence for the second home run of his season and career.
Nebraska responded in the bottom half of the frame, chasing Bloom. The junior right-hander lost the zone in the inning, walking three, hitting a batter and allowing a single to give up two runs. The brought Hill into the game. Hill was able to escape the jam, but not before hitting a batter to force in another Nebraska run.
The Terps jumped back in front in the fourth. Junior Will Watson was plunked to open the inning, and then went first-to-third on a failed pick-off attempt from Nebraska starter Derek Burkamper. Back-to-back walks issued to Nick Cieri and Lee loaded the bases.
Watson was put-out during Patrick Hisle’s at-bat when he broke for home on squeeze attempt. Hisle was unable to get the bunt down and Watson was extinguished in a rundown. After Hisle struck out, sophomore Dan Maynard produced a two-run pinch hit single to make it a 4-3 ballgame.
Hill steadied the ship for Maryland, eating the middle innings and limiting the Cornhuskers to just one-run, which came in the fifth. Maryland retook the lead with a two-out rally that ended with Watson driving in Costas with an opposite field RBI single to right.
Maryland added three insurance runs in the ninth. Dunn reached on a walk, but switched places with Marty Costes after the sophomore grounded into a fielder’s choice. Gum moved Costes to second with a single before Watson walked to load the bases.
Cieri knocked in two with a high chopper that landed in center for a single. Lee followed with a rocket in the gap that scored Watson. Cieri was thrown out at home on the play.
Redshirt junior right-hander Ryan Selmer finished off the game, tossing one and two thirds of an inning to notch his fourth save. Nebraska picked up an unearned run in the final frame, but Selmer induced a double play to end it. Andrew Miller also pitched in relief, a scoreless one and one third to get from Hill to Selmer.
Gum ended the game with three hits, while Dunn also had a multi-hit game.
Maryland and Nebraska will face off Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. in the series decider at Haymarket Park. The action can be seen live on BTN Plus or heard live on the Maryland Baseball Network.