Omaha, NE Maryland and Iowa entered Sunday eyeing a Big Ten Championship as well as the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It looked like Iowa was going to strike early when Sam Peterson and Brennen Dorighi got on in the first, but Maryland starter Ryan Van Buren was able to escape and settle in. Van Buren produced an efficient 2nd inning and turned the ball over to Andrew Johnson for the 3rd, with the Hawkeyes able to collect their 4th hit of the game, but no runs.
It remained a quiet day offensively for both sides until Maryland’s Kevin Keister deposited a 2 run homer into the Left Field bullpen at the Charles Schwab Field. The nation’s RBI leader Nick Lorusso added a solo homer of his own, his 23rd of the season, to give Maryland a 3-0 lead in the 5th. The Terps added one more in the 6th inning, off of the bat of Jacob Orr. His RBI single represented the 4th and winning run for Maryland.
Maryland will head into the NCAA Tournament likely as a 2 seed, although Terrapins Head Coach Rob Vaughn says that Maryland did submit a bid to host knowing that it would be an unlikely outcome. Vaughn says that he feels his team is adequately prepared to go on the road for a regional after their early series at Ole Miss, and experience in front of the large Nebraska and Iowa crowds at the Big Ten Tournament this week.
Iowa’s NCAA Tournament still looks strong, despite a 2nd place finish in what is normally a one-bid league in the Big Ten. Hawkeye Head Coach Rick Heller says he believes the Hawkeyes played very well this week before running out of steam on Sunday. Heller and the Hawkeyes would love to have star Keaton Anthony back for the NCAA Tournament, but his future amidst NCAA investigation remains unknown.
Maryland enters the NCAA Tournament with a 41-19 record, while Iowa falls to 42-14 on the year. Both the Hawkeyes and the Champion Terrapins will hear their NCAA Tournament assignments on Monday at 11 AM Central time, with host sites announced Sunday at 7:30 PM on Twitter.