Throughout the season, right-hander John Murphy has emerged as Maryland baseball coach John Szefc’s top relief option. On Sunday afternoon, he celebrated as such in the fourth, clenching both fists and launching his right arm into the air.

The Mountaineers loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth to chase left-hander Tyler Blohm, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year who lasted just three innings in his second postseason appearance. But then, on the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Murphy caught first baseman Jackson Cramer looking. Left fielder Kyle Davis and center fielder Braden Zarbnisky went down on strikes as well, and the Terps escaped the frame without allowing a run.

Despite failing to score in that inning, the Mountaineers put up three runs against Murphy later in the game. In the Terps’ 8-5 loss to West Virginia, even Szefc’s best reliever struggled.

And a four-run eighth inning — one that took three Maryland relievers to complete — ended the Terps’ season in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“Tough ending to our season,” Szefc said. “Not the way we would want it to end. … It’s our third regional in our last four years. We try to coach consistency. I think our guys are pretty good in that respect.”

Cramer’s RBI doubled tied the game at four, and by the time the frame ended, Maryland found itself trailing by three runs. Right-hander Ryan Selmer induced ground balls, but too many of them ended up in the outfield. Right-hander Ryan Hill’s recent struggles continued. Right-hander Jamal Wade walked in a run.

West Virginia rallied against Maryland’s most effective late-inning relievers, and the Terps were unable to replicate their late-season ability to come from behind.

“In the first part of the season, [the bullpen was] probably one of our biggest strengths,” Szefc said. “Unfortunately, down the stretch, it didn’t really stay that way. They also had some very good moments down the stretch too. Today wasn’t one of them.”

Through six innings, Maryland was in control, making the elimination game loss especially deflating for Szefc and his staff.

Led by first baseman Brandon Gum, who recorded an RBI double in the third and a two-run home run in the fifth, Maryland’s offense gave the bullpen a four-run lead. It didn’t matter that Blohm didn’t make it beyond three innings. Maryland’s relievers were rested after right-hander Taylor Bloom’s eight-inning outing Saturday night.

Still, a day after scoring 16 times, the Terps struggled to add to their lead, which proved costly as the Mountaineers rallied. The unit that possessed a knack for coming back late was unable to do so with the tying run at the plate in the ninth.

Second baseman Nick Dunn led off the final inning with a solo shot, trimming the deficit to 8-5, and pinch-hitter Madison Nickens and center fielder Zach Jancarski reached base with one out. But Mountaineers right-hander Jackson Sigman struck out third baseman AJ Lee and Gum to send the Terps packing.

Sunday’s loss was reminiscent of Maryland’s last four series this season, during which the relievers struggled and the offense stalled, causing the Terps to be unsure they would even make the tournament. They ultimately made the cut, but against the Mountaineers, the pattern continued.

“This is one of the bigger ones, obviously it didn’t end the way we wanted,” Gum said when asked to reflect on his takeaways in 2017. “The reason I wanted to come here was to go to a regional.”