BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Redshirt senior Jared Price was stellar in four and two thirds innings of relief and the Maryland offense started fast in an 8-5 victory over Nebraska in Big Ten Tournament elimination game Friday night at Bart Kaufman Field.
The Terrapins (36-20) advance to face seventh-seeded Northwestern in the semifinals Saturday afternoon. Maryland will have to defeat Northwestern twice to move on to Sunday's tournament final. LHP Tyler Blohm was electric over his four and a third of an inning, striking out a career high 10 batters.
Maryland was led offensively by AJ Lee, who belted a three run home run in the first to give Maryland the lead. A walk issued to Brandon Gum and a Nick Dunn single set up Lee's eighth home run, a shot that went to left field. Lee has now reached base in 19 straight games and is on a 14-game hitting streak.
Nebraska tied the game on an Angelo Altavilla solo shot in the bottom half of the frame. Blohm settled in from there. The first six outs the freshman recorded came via the strikeout.
Maryland did its most damage in a four-run fourth. Lee drew a four-pitch walk to begin the frame and went to second on Nick Cieri's blooper into right. Junior Kevin Smith then dropped down a perfect bunt for a hit to load the bases. Senior Madison Nickens followed with a triple to left center to plate all three. Junior Justin Morris' single up the middle was enough to bring home Nickens to make it a 7-1 game.
Nebraska chipped away with a run in the fourth, a run in the fifth and two runs in the sixth. Price shut the door for the final three frames. The right-hander recorded his first win since 2014 when he induced a double play in the ninth to end the game. He struck out five to no walks and gave up just a single earned run.
Sophomore Marty Costes provided Price with some insurance in the ninth, singling through a drawn in infield to plate Morris.
Maryland has advanced to the Big Ten semifinals for the third consecutive season since joining the conference. Morris and Smith led the Teprs with two hits.
The Terrapins return to action Saturday afternoon against Northwestern. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m., and the action can be seen live on BTN.