The fourth-seeded Maryland baseball team's late comeback fell short in a 6-5 defeat to seventh-seeded Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals Sunday morning at Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Ind.
The Terps (37-21) trailed 6-0 after two innings before coming all the way back to make it 6-5 in the eighth. Maryland had the bases loaded with nobody out in that inning but could not bring the tying run across.
The Wildcats (27-29) advanced to the championship game for the first time since 1984. They'll face Iowa (37-20) at 1 p.m. with an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line. Northwestern has not made the NCAAs since 1957.
Northwestern's three first-inning runs came on a home run by Jack Claeys off starter Hunter Parsons. The Wildcats chased Parsons in the following inning with three more runs, two scoring on single by Jack Dunn.
Maryland redshirt junior right-hander Ryan Selmer allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings of relief, giving the Terps a chance to get back into the game.
Kevin Smith opened the Maryland seventh with a single before Dan Maynard walked. After Zach Jancarski walked to load the bases, Brandon Gum hit a grand slam -- the Terps' first of the season -- to center field to make the score 6-4.
Maryland continued to rally in the eighth. AJ Lee of Millersville walked to starting the inning, before consecutive infield singles from Will Watson and Kevin Smith, with Smith's coming on a bunt down the third base line. Maynard walked to score a run, but Nick Cieri's pop out and a double play ended the inning.
Maryland was unable to get anything going in the top of the ninth after right-hander Taylor Bloom of Severna Park retired the side in the eighth.
Maryland has made a conference tournament semifinal in four consecutive seasons.
The Terps await their NCAA tournament fate today. Fans can watch the NCAA selection show on ESPN2 at noon.