Ryan Halstead went from the worst of times to the best of times in a matter of 48 hours.
Wednesday night he surrendered a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth that tied the game against Indiana State and then gave up the eventual game-winning run in the 10th.
But Friday night, in a Big Ten showdown when the Hoosiers needed him the most, the senior from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. showed how quickly he could bounce back.
Halstead faced four batters and retired them all Friday night, earning his eighth save of the season in the process as Indiana hung on for a 6-5 victory over No. 20 Maryland in a key Big Ten Conference matchup in College Park, Md.
Indiana (24-19, 7-10) was able to snap a four-game losing streak and get back in the hunt for one of the top spots in the conference standings. The top eight advance at the end of the season to the Big Ten Tournament. IU was ninth before the game began but is now eighth, slipping a half game ahead of Minnesota. The Gophers are playing out of conference this weekend.
Scott Donley and Casey Rodrigue each collected three hits for the Hoosiers and IU had 10 hits overall. Most impressively, though, was the fact that Indiana was able to get the win against one of the Big Ten’s best pitchers. Mike Shawaryn, who came into the game with a perfect 10-0 record, suffered his first loss. He threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits.
Indiana jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Maryland scored three in the bottom of the third to tie. Maryland added a run in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead but Indiana scored two in the sixth and one in the eighth to go on top 6-4.
Maryland, now 11-5 in Big Ten play, loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth after scoring a run to cut the lead to 6-5. But Halstead came in and shut the Terrapins down.
IU and Maryland will play the second game of the series on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. with Kyle Hart expected to take the mound for the Hoosiers. The series concludes on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.