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Maryland softball does it again against Ohio State in first B1G home series

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The hard as diamonds Maryland softball team turned stony faces to smiles Friday night with yet another unfathomable come from behind win. This time it was over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Terrapins' first Big Ten home game.

The Maryland Terrapins softball squad hosted the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Terps' first Big Ten home series. The three game set opened with a remarkable comeback win for the Terps Friday night. For the second time in their first four B1G games, Maryland found themselves looking at the possibility of a run rule loss. For the second time in their first four B1G games, this never quit group of hard as diamondback shelled Terrapins found a way to win.

Hard hitting Buckeyes

Ohio State entered Friday's contest with a team batting average of .306 through their first 27 games though they looked nothing like that in their first at bat going three up and three down against Kaitlyn 'KK' Schmeiser in the top of the first. The second inning was a different story. After Maddy McIntyre's lead off double to the fence in right center, some missed communication on a bunt to the left side allowed McIntyre to score from second. A walk, a sacrifice bunt and another double followed in quick succession and the Buckeyes had an early 3-0 lead.

Ohio State added single tuns in the third and fourth. Meanwhile, Buckeyes' starting pitcher Olivia O'Reilly held the Terps to just Lindsey 'Lu' Schmeiser's one out double through three innings. Maryland ended the string of zeroes in the fourth but also lost an opportunity to score more than the two runs they registered.

Shannon Bustillos opened the inning with an opposite field triple and came in to score on KK's infield single deep in the hole at short. Mandy Gardner drew a walk and Juli Strange smashed a line drive of the top of the fence in center. However, KK stumbled on the base path and was thrown out at the plate. Kylie Datil lifted a fly ball deep into the right field corner. Although the ball drifted foul and OSU right fielder Kirstie Fehrenbach made a nice running catch, Emma Mires, who had come in to run for Gardner, tagged and scored easily. The deficit was now a more manageable three runs at 5-2 after four innings.

The Buckeyes made the situation considerably less manageable in the top of the fifth. Back to back singles off Brenna Nation, who had come on in relief of KK in the third opened the inning and Maryland head coach Courtney Deifel elected to bring Jaymi Bautista-Geiger in as the third pitcher of the evening. The senior was ineffective. She faced only four batters walking three and giving up a single. By the time the top half of the fifth was done, the Buckeyes had put five more runs on the board and led 10-2.

The Comeback

Trailing by eight headed to the bottom of the fifth, the Terrapins needed to score at least once to avoid a five inning run rule loss. They got precisely that and no more in an inning that held much more promise than its eventual outcome. The inning opened with three walks and a hit batter (Corey Schwartz and not usual suspect - Erin Pronobis though the left fielder was one of the hitters to walk). The inning ended with two strikeouts sandwiching a soft liner to short as the Terps left the bases loaded but managed to avoid the run rule ending.

Shelby Hursh, who had struggled to find the plate in the fourth, continued the pattern in the fifth. After striking out Kylie Datil to start the inning, she issued three straight walks to load the bases for Pronobis. The player they call E Money smacked a double to center driving in two runs. KK Schmeiser, who had come back on to pitch in the fourth, aided her own cause with a double down the left field line driving in two more. Still, the Terps trailed 10-7 at the end of six.

Perhaps invigorated by her double and by having gotten out of a two out threat in the top of the six, KK seemed to have regained her confidence and command. The senior struck out the side in a one, two, three seventh.

The bottom of the seventh or

It wasn't so different or so new and it didn't start with a kiss but it  was magical. It started with another walk - this one to Strange. The Terps' third baseman advanced to second when Datil skied out to right. A key moment in the inning came when OSU catcher Cammi Pranti failed to hold on to Lu's soft foul pop up along the first base line. Schmeiser rifled the next pitch like a bullet over third easily scoring Strange from second. The score now stood at 10-8.

Hannah Dewey smashed a ball off the fence in left center that just missed being a game tying two run homer. She settled for an RBI double as Lu scored from second. Deifel sent Sarah Calta in to run for Dewey as Schwartz stepped to the plate. Buckeyes coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly brought Oh, Oh, Oh, O'Reilly back into the circle but the only one with  the right parts would be Schwartz. The New Jersey junior smacked a line drive in the same direction as Dewey's a batter earlier. This one had enough height to clear the fence and the comeback was complete with a walk off home run.

The Terps scored eight runs in their final two at bats. The metamorphosis was complete. The ugly 3-10 chrysalis deficit had turned into a beautiful 11-10 butterfly win.