Iowa baseball falls short at Maryland despite late rally

The Hawkeyes scored 4 runs in the ninth inning to tie the game, but it wasn't enough to pull out the win.

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Iowa baseball falls short at Maryland despite late rally

Iowa pitcher Grant Leonard warms up to pitch during the seventh inning of the afternoon Iowa vs Rutgers game at Duane Banks Field on Saturday, April 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights 9-5.

Iowa pitcher Grant Leonard warms up to pitch during the seventh inning of the afternoon Iowa vs Rutgers game at Duane Banks Field on Saturday, April 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights 9-5.

Jenna Galligan

Iowa pitcher Grant Leonard warms up to pitch during the seventh inning of the afternoon Iowa vs Rutgers game at Duane Banks Field on Saturday, April 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights 9-5.

Jenna Galligan

Jenna Galligan

Iowa pitcher Grant Leonard warms up to pitch during the seventh inning of the afternoon Iowa vs Rutgers game at Duane Banks Field on Saturday, April 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights 9-5.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

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Iowa baseball’s 8-6 loss at Maryland on Thursday was unexpected for more than one reason.

First, the Hawkeyes entered the game with a 12-9 record in Big Ten play, while the Terrapins sat with the opposite at 9-12.

Next, Iowa faced a 6-2 deficit heading into the ninth inning and scored 4 runs to tie the game at 6 all.

Finally, Grant Leonard – Iowa’s trusty closer who entered the game with a 1.82 ERA – gave up a 2-run walk-off home run to Maryland’s A.J. Lee to give the Terrapins the victory.

The loss only added to Iowa’s now-muddled postseason hopes. A week ago, the Hawkeyes were projected as a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament by Baseball America and D1Baseball. Now, after losing a series to lowly Michigan State and dropping the first of a three-game set against the Terrapins, things continue to get cloudy.

Unfortunately for Iowa, Maryland took control early on Friday starter Cole McDonald. The Terrapins scored 4 runs in the first three innings before Iowa found its way onto the scoreboard in the fifth on a single up the middle from Chris Whelan.

Ben Norman then brought the Hawkeyes within 2 with a double down the left-field line in the sixth, but Maryland added 2 more of its own in the seventh and eighth.

Then, for the top half of the ninth inning, Banks Magic traveled to College Park.

Catcher Austin Martin grounded into a double play that scored Tanner Wetrich to kick off the scoring.

With two outs, Zeb Adreon proceeded to double down the left-field line to score Whelan, and Tanner Padgett singled up the middle to bring in Adreon.

After Norman singled to plate Justin Jenkins, things started to look up for Iowa. Until they didn’t.

Lee’s 2-run shot epitomizes the struggles the Hawkeyes have dealt with as of late. Now, all they can do is focus on winning on Friday and Saturday without an important sweep in play.