The Maryland softball team kept their barely beating hopes of qualifying for the ACC Tournament on life support for one more day Sunday with an 8-1 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies at the softball complex in College Park. The win moves the Terps to 6-32 on the season and 4-13 in ACC play.
Kaitlyn Schmeiser started for the Terps and got out of an early jam. After walking Lauren Gaskill to start the game and seeing her advance to third on a stolen base and fly out, Schmeiser induced two ground ball outs. The Terps also threatened but failed to score in their first at bat. Amanda McCann walked to open the inning but was doubled off first on Shannon Bustillos' liner to third. Kylie Datil and Candice Beards followed with back to back singles but they were stranded when Maddie Martin struck out.
A stylish senior day celebration
After a scoreless second and top of the third, Maryland struck first jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third with all the damage coming after two were out. The rally started innocently enough when Bustillos smacked a hard grounder down the third base line that hit the bag and the Terps catcher reached on the infield hit. Kylie Datil picked up her second hit of the day pulling a line drive single into left after an eleven pitch at bat in which she fouled off several pitches to stay alive. Celebrating her senior day in style, Beards launched a no doubt about it home run over the right field fence and passed the 100 RBI mark for her career.
A tiring arm
Tech began to get to Schmeiser in the fourth. Dani Anderson started the inning with a line drive double into the left field corner and catcher Kaley Smith followed with another sharp liner to left but Anderson held at third. The Hokies then ran themselves out of the inning. Vanessa Gonzalez drove a hard grounder to short. Anderson hesitated just briefly before breaking for home and was unable to beat the Strange throw and Bustillos tag. But the Hokies' baserunning issues didn't end there. Toni Erwin, who had entered the game as a pinch runner, tried to go to third on the play at the plate. Bustillos made the throw to third baseman Jessica Warner who applied the tag for the unusual double play. The twin killing proved fortuitous for the Terps when Amanda Ake lined a single to right center that moved Gonzalez to third. Schmeiser escaped the inning by inducing a groundout to second.
When Bailey Liddle opened the Virginia Tech fifth with another double, Madison Martin came in to relieve Schmeiser and retired the side on three straight fly ball outs. It was also Martin who got the key hit when the Terps added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Amanda McCann, continuing a busy weekend on base, led off the inning with a single to left and moved to second on a fielder's choice. Datil reached on an error with McCann moving to third. Bridget Hawvermale came in to run for Datil and stole second before coming around to score on Martin's single to left. The inning ended with Maryland holding a 5-0 lead.
After Tech scratched out a run off Martin in the top of the sixth, the Terps put the game on ice tallying three more in their half of the inning while again showing some late foot. Erin Pronobis started the inning with a walk and after two force outs at second, McCann wrapped up her senior weekend by lacing a double to right driving in Corey Schwartz. Bustillos followed with her second home run in as many days lofting a fly ball to left that looked to be a routine out when it came off her bat but that just kept carrying until it finally landed in front of the Hyattsville Fire Department ladder truck that had parked just beyond the left field fence. With the blast, Bustillos joined Beards in the hundred RBI club. Madison Martin finished off the Hokies in the seventh and the Terps salvaged one win for the weekend series.
Maryland will host Howard for a doubleheader beginning at 5 pm Wednesday in their last non-conference action of the season. The Terps will then travel to Notre Dame to take on the twenty-first ranked Fighting Irish before finishing up their final ACC season when they host Pittsburgh on the first weekend in May.