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Maryland softball finishes with split on final Florida trip

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Compared to the 2014 season, it's all gravy from here on out for Maryland's softball squad. The Terps split four games in Florida and their 12 wins in the first 19 games exceeds their 2014 season total.

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After their dramatic 4-3 extra innings win over Fordham at the Citrus 9 Classic in Orlando Friday afternoon, the Terps fell 6-2 to a very good Mississippi State team in their second game on Friday. Rain cancelled Saturday's scheduled games against Lehigh and James Madision but Maryland had a chance to play two on Sunday facing the 20th ranked Missouri Tigers in a morning game and adding a game against the Northern Iowa Panthers early Sunday afternoon.

The Terps again came away with a split. After dropping a 5-1 decision to the Tigers, Maryland rediscovered their bats and bounced back to their first run rule win 10-0 over the Panthers.

Hey UNI, your Panthers falling down!

If the Terps were to get back on a winning track the UNI Panthers looked to be a likely tonic to cure the ills of two straight losses. The Panthers came to Orlando with a 5-6 record and dropped their first three games of the weekend including a 2-0 loss to Lehigh Sunday morning.

Maryland went three up and three down in the top of the first and UNI put two runners on courtesy of a single and a hit batter in the bottom half of the inning. However, Kaitlyn, 'KK' Schmeiser kept the Panthers' bats silent  by inducing two pop outs to end the frame.

The Terps then scratched out a run in the top of the second starting when Erin Pronobis, leading off the inning,  reached second on an error by Northern Iowa's left fielder. Mandy Gardner had an infield single to second that moved Pronobis up a base. The senior scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Juli Strange.

After a quiet third for both teams, the Terrapins exploded for a six run fourth. Hannah Dewey led off with a single and Corey Schwartz followed with a big bomb to left for her fourth home run of the year. Pronobis batted next and was hit by a pitch for the seventh time in 19 games. Gardner was also plunked and Bridget Hawvermale walked to load the bases.

Shannon Bustillos' grounder to third forced Pronobis at home for the second out of the inning but Kylie Datil singled up the middle driving in two and assuring that the Terps would not meet the same fate they had in the morning when they twice left the bases jammed en route to stranding 11 runners. Lindsey 'Lu' Schmeiser singled to drive in two more upping the Terrapins' lead to 7-0 and closing out the scoring for the inning.

But Maryland wasn't done for the day. The Terps again loaded the bases with no one out on back to back singles by Pronobis and Sarah Calta and another hit batter. This time it was Skylynne Ellazar who had entered the game in place of Strange.

Hawvermale, who had gone 2-4 and scored Maryland's lone run against Missouri, made her good day even better when she lined a bases clearing double off the fence in left center. Her three RBI put the Terps up 10-0 at the end of four and a half.

Jaymi Bautista-Geiger, seeing her first stint in the circle this season, entered the game in relief of KK in the bottom of the fifth. The Florida senior retired the side sandwiching two strikeouts around a walk to secure the 10-0 run rule win as the Terps improved to 12-7 on the season.

The Terps are not quite done traveling. They face their final road tournament when they travel to James Madison for five games beginning at 11:00 am Friday, March 6. Maryland will open with games against Stony Brook and and Rhode Island.