Welcome to The Diamondback Sports Digest. Every week, we send you a rundown of the latest Maryland athletics news.

The NCAA tournament selection show was held Sunday night. Maryland men’s and women’s lacrosse made the field despite uncharacteristic early exits in the Big Ten tournament.

In this week’s newsletter, we’ll discuss where the two programs stand heading into the NCAA tournament, Maryland baseball’s massive series win against Rutgers and Maryland softball’s Big Ten tournament berth.

Similar fates could await two historic programs

John Tillman walks on the field during Maryland men’s lacrosse’s 13-7 win over Princeton on Feb. 24, 2024. (Autumn Hengen/The Diamondback)

Cathy Reese and John Tillman are not used to losing. Both Maryland lacrosse coaches have reached the NCAA tournament each year since taking over their respective programs in 2007 and 2011. Tillman has lost in the first round just twice. Reese has never.

While those streaks will continue in 2024 after both squads clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament Sunday, neither group will enter the biggest part of the season on the right note. Rutgers upset Reese’s squad at home in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals on April 27. Penn State trounced the men’s team 19-9 in the tournament semifinals on Thursday.

Tillman’s group seems close to encountering back-to-back first round losses for the first time since 1993 and 1994. The women’s team could also see an early exit after dropping three of its last five games.

Maryland baseball wins a crucial weekend series

Logan Koester pitches during Maryland baseball’s 14-2 loss to Indiana on April 6, 2024. (Sam Cohen/The Diamondback)

Despite facing a rough start to its conference season, Maryland is trending upward at the right time. The Terps won each of their last two weekend series against Illinois and Rutgers, the most recent victory boosting them to No. 35 nationally in RPI, according to Warren Nolan’s RPI tracker.

Maryland still sits eighth in the Big Ten standings, but coach Matt Swope’s club only sits behind Nebraska in terms of RPI in the conference, a key metric used by the NCAA tournament selection committee.

The Terps will now prepare for a critical stretch as the regular season reaches its closing stages. They’ll face two formidable opponents — USC Upstate and Boston College — this week before wrapping up their conference slate against Penn State May 16 through 18. Then, the Big Ten tournament begins.

Maryland softball clinches Big Ten tournament berth

Diamond Williams runs during Maryland softball’s 11-2 win over Towson on April 24, 2024. (Sam Cohen/The Diamondback)

Maryland softball had been vying for a spot in the 12-team conference tournament. The Terps were teetering on the edge for weeks before finally secured a spot with a 6-5 win over Wisconsin on Saturday. They also defeated the Badgers 12-2 on Friday and 4-3 on Sunday for a series sweep, hitting their stride as coach Lauren Karn’s first season winds down.

The Terps won just eight out of 15 conference games and struggled to match their success from last year’s 38-win season. But they edged out Michigan State and Iowa for the final spot in the tournament bracket. Illinois’ 1-2 weekend against Iowa and the sweep over Wisconsin moved them to the No. 10 seed.

Best bits

  • The spring football transfer portal window closed Tuesday. Maryland was the lone Power Four school to have no players depart.
  • Maryland men’s basketball will play Syracuse in a neutral site game at the Barclays Center on Dec. 21, according to various reports.
  • Virginia transfer Mir McLean committed to Maryland women’s basketball on Friday, filling the Terps’ last vacant scholarship.
  • Softball reporter Holliday Woodard sat down with captain Courtney Wyche to discuss her illustrious college career as it comes to a close.
  • Maryland gymnastics’ midseason resurgence allowed the program to enjoy a historic year.

Stat of the week

Maryland men’s lacrosse’s 19-9 loss to Penn State on Thursday was the program’s first 10-goal defeat since 2006.

Game of the week

Women’s lacrosse will host Robert Morris in the NCAA tournament first round on Friday. The No. 7-seeded men’s squad will play Princeton Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at SECU Stadium.