Michigan holds off late rally by Terps to claim its ninth Big Ten title
MINNEAPOLIS -- Michigan scored four times in the fourth inning and thwarted Maryland rallies in the eighth and ninth to defeat the Terrapins 4-3 in the Big Ten tournament championship game on Sunday morning at Target Field. Michigan picks up its ninth Big Ten tournament title and earns its 22nd NCAA tournament berth in school history.
Maryland struck first in the top of the third on a Kevin Smith sacrifice fly that scored Nick Cieri. Senior Jackson Glines walked to open the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Carmen Benedetti hit a bouncer back to Maryland pitcher Taylor Bloom. His throw to second was wide, allowing Glines to move to third. Junior Cody Bruder then tied the game as his single scored Glines. Senior Kevin White reached on a one-out Texas League single to left, scoring Benedetti and giving U-M a 2-1 lead. A wild pitch brought in Bruder, and freshman Jake Bivens walked with the bases loaded, putting the Maize and Blue up 4-1.
Sophomore Brett Adcock and the Michigan bullpen held Maryland's offense in check for most of the game. The Terps got a pair of walks in the eighth and looked to score two runs as Jose Cuas doubled to right, but Kevin Martir slipped rounding third, and Cuas was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, leaving the score at 4-2.
Maryland made things interesting in the ninth. Cieri singled with one out. A grounder to Benedetti looked to end the game, but he slipped on the bag and only recorded one out. Back-to-back singles from the Wade Brothers plated pinch runner Zach Jancarski, and Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Junior Jacob Cronenworth, closing out his fourth consecutive game, got Brendan Lowe to fly out to end the game and give the Maize and Blue the automatic berth into the postseason.
Adcock earned the win for the Wolverines, his second in the tournament. He struck out four and allowed two hits and a run in 5.2 innings. Junior Matt Ogden struck out three in 1.2 innings of relief, while Cronenworth picked up his eighth save of the year in the ninth.
Sophomore Johnny Slater had two hits for the Wolverines in the win, while Bruder had a hit, a run and a run batted in.
After the game, Cronenworth was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Big Ten Tournament. He joined Adcock, Bruder and Glines on the all-tournament team.