Logan Koester circled around the pitcher’s mound while Cole Evans celebrated on second base. The junior outfielder flapped his arms at the bag as Nebraska mounted a four-run fourth inning to grow its lead.

For the first three innings on Friday, Koester kept the Terps within striking distance in his first Friday night start. But the Cornhuskers piled their highest scoring output of the game in the fourth, and held a three-run advantage by the end of the frame — a lead they maintained the rest of the night.

Maryland baseball fell 6-3 to Nebraska in the weekend series opener, the Terps’ third straight Friday night defeat. It was Koester’s fourth straight start with five or more earned runs allowed.

“I think overall was a pretty good game,” coach Matt Swope said. “It’s gonna be the small things, it’s going to be these little tiny details.”

Koester represented a change over previous Friday starter Kenny Lippman, but the team’s pitching woes remained. Lippman moved back into the bullpen after the Terps dropped four of his last six starts with just a 8.59 ERA in the span. 

The right hander stranded a runner in the first two frames to keep Nebraska scoreless. Koester then conceded a leadoff home run from Joshua Overbeek to open the third, and another runner trotted home later in the inning off a called balk. 

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Four different Cornhuskers recorded hits and another two drew walks in the fourth inning scoring spurt. Ben Columbus blasted the second straight leadoff home run for Nebraska in the frame. 

The fourth inning was Koester’s last of the game, ending his start with six earned runs and nine hits allowed. Koester’s ERA grew to 6.44 following the outing, over three runs more than the mark he had last month.

Maryland’s offense attacked Nebraska’s Brett Sears early in his start, who entered the game with the lowest ERA in the Big Ten. 

Chris Hacopian began the scoring with his ninth home run of the season, a solo shot into left center in the top of the third. After Nebraska’s two-run third, the Terps retook the lead with a two-run frame of their own in the fourth. Jacob Orr sent a run home with a single to left field, and freshman Michael Iannazzo followed with an RBI-double into right center. 

Then, Sears kept Maryland scoreless the following three innings of his outing. The three runs Sears surrendered were the most the junior has given up this season. The right-hander struck out eight Terps.

“We did a good job slowing them down at times today,” Swope said. “Sometimes with a lot of pitchers, “You just got to do the best you can to stop the rhythm.”

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Jalen Worthley held the Terps without a run over the final two frames.

Maryland mirrored the strong relief pitching as Trystan Sarcone and Andrew Johnson tossed four scoreless innings. But it was too late following Koester’s fourth inning lapses.

Pitching changes will continue for Maryland on Saturday. 

With Koester bumped to the Friday slot and Joey McMannis staying on Sunday, a new arm will start game two. Swope noted on Wednesday he is leaning toward Omar Melendez assuming the role, but the team has yet to officially announce the starter. 

With whomever is on the mound, Saturday’s game holds strong importance for the rest of the season. A loss would clinch the Terps’ fourth straight series loss, dwindling their postseason hopes.

“There’s not a lot of screaming and yelling,” Seope said. “You just got to try to gain that edge tomorrow.”