Maryland baseball right-hander John Murphy didn't record more than one out in the ninth inning Saturday against Purdue.
Tasked with protecting a one-run lead, the Terps closer surrendered a home run to Boilermakers first baseman Jacson McGowan that tied the game. The junior slugger, who leads the team in RBIs, stared at his dugout as the Boilermakers' bench spilled out in celebration.
Right-hander Kevin Biondic was similarly unable to retire McGowan, prompting a comparable reaction in extra innings. McGowan's second homer in the top of the 11th gave Purdue a 4-3 lead it didn't relinquish.
While pitching coach Corey Muscara implores his staff not to let an opposing team's best player single-handedly win a game, the Terps' two best late-game options allowed McGowan to do just that as the Boilermakers secured a series win.
Maryland wasted a quality start from right-hander Hunter Parsons and enters Sunday's series finale three games behind the Boilermakers in the conference standings. Coach Rob Vaughn's team has lost five consecutive contests for the second time this season.
Before McGowan's first homer, the Terps took the lead in the seventh and seemed poised to even the series. Designated hitter Tommy Gardiner never stopped running when he reached third base on second baseman Nick Dunn's weak ground ball.
Boilermakers infielder Tyler Powers charged and rushed a throw to first, and Dunn beat it out. By the time McGowan noticed Gardiner down the third base line, it was too late. Gardiner was safe at the plate and threw his first into the air in celebration.
However, Maryland's lead was short-lived.
The Terps' bullpen struggles came on a day Parsons was dominant. He pitched eight innings, allowing five hits and two runs.
Maryland (16-22, 3-7 Big Ten) gave Parsons an immediate lead. Shortstop AJ Lee reached via an error to begin the first and scored on left fielder Will Watson's single. Then, center fielder Zach Jancarski hit an RBI double to plate first baseman Kevin Biondic.
Maryland's three seniors were productive in a lineup featuring four first-year Terps.
After the Terps' early breakout, their bats receded once more, and Purdue (18-16, 6-4) was able to adjust to Parsons. Shortstop Harry Shipley cut into the lead with a solo home run in the third, and a fielder's choice plated the tying run in the fifth.
Gardiner's run in the seventh set Parsons up for his fourth win of the year. When Murphy entered for the ninth, it displayed coach Rob Vaughn's faith in the closer, who allowed four runs in his last outing against Michigan.
But Murphy blew the save and Maryland's offense was unable to add to its late lead. The Terps stranded two runners in the 10th, and McGowan capitalized against Biondic as Maryland's struggles continued.