First, the bad news. Maryland is very good at baseball and smacked around Purdue’s pitching for two games this weekend.
Then, the good news.
Purdue baseball is still headed to the Big Ten Tournament on a technicality.
Let’s look back at the abbreviated series, as senior day and the final home game of the season was rained out today.
Maryland 14, Purdue 7
The final score looks cosmetically better, but the Terrapins led this game 13-0 after the top of the fifth before putting things on cruise control. The win gave them at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title, and they ended it early with one in the first, four in the second, two in the third, and three each in the fourth and fifth. They would finish the game with four home runs and 15 hits.
Purdue did finish the game strong. Mike Bolton Jr. had a two run double in the seventh and Ryan How had a three run homer in the eighth to finish with 4 RBI.
Maryland 18, Purdue 7
The Boilers were able to put up a fight in this one. Cam Thompson and Evan Albrecht each had RBI hits in the second to give Purdue a 2-1 lead. After Maryland pulled in front 5-2 an RBI double by Troy Viola and a two-run home run from Paul Toetz tied it at 5-5 after five innings.
That’s when it became all Maryland. The Terps outscored Purdue 13-2 over the final four innings. They hit five home runs in the final four innings to turn the game into a blowout. Cam Thompson added a Purdue home run, but five Maryland runs in the seventh and six in the ninth gave the Terps the outright Big Ten title.
So the regular season is over and Purdue closes at 29-19 and 9-12 in the Big Ten with a whopping eight games cancelled due to weather, three of them Big Ten games. That second part is what gets the Boilers into the Big Ten Tournament. Here are your final Big Ten standings.
Iowa 16-7 (last game with Indiana currently ongoing)
Penn State 11-13
Indiana 10-13 (last game with Iowa is currently ongoing)
Ohio State 8-14
Michigan State 8-16
Every Big Ten team was scheduled to play 24 conference games this year. Out of all those games, only three all year ended up being outright cancelled: Two of Purdue’s games against Ohio State in March and today’s game against Maryland. In March, Purdue and Ohio State were in the stadium and ready to play a doubleheader on a chilly weekend in West Lafayette. They were ready to go at a moment’s notice, but the Big Ten rules stated that the ambient temperature needed to reach a certain point in order to start, and it never got there, so both games were cancelled. Today, with thunderstorms in the area, lightning warnings meant the game couldn’t get started. There is a mandatory 30 minute waiting period after each lightning strike within a certain radius of the stadium.
All of this has made Nebraska baseball fans VERY MAD ONLINE, as it means Purdue nabs the eighth and final Big Ten Tournament slot based on overall winning percentage. Purdue’s winning percentage in conference play was .429, while Northwestern and Nebraska were at .417. Had Purdue been able to play that doubleheader with Ohio State back in March (and the Boilers were 18-1 at the time and playing very well) a single win in either game would have ended any controversy. If anything, that week stopped Purdue’s momentum as it came during a bad weather stretch where five of those eight cancellations came in a 16 day span.
Perhaps Nebraska should have played like the Big Ten favorite they were all season instead of going 23-30, 10-14 this year and needing to rely on weather to get them in (and they still would have been knocked out had Purdue won today).
The Big Ten Tournament starts Wednesday in Omaha, Nebraska at Schwab Field, home of the College World Series. As the No. 8 seed Purdue will play these same Maryland Terrapins on Wednesday.