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Maryland softball drops twin bill at Rutgers

Any momentum the Maryland softball squad might have hoped to carry from their sweep of Penn State died a quick death Tuesday afternoon as the Terps dropped a pair at Rutgers.

The Maryland softball team traveled to Piscataway, NJ to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a midweek doubleheader Tuesday afternoon. The Terps, coming off a weekend sweep of Penn State, looked to lay claim to sole possession of sixth place in the Big Ten. Rutgers, losers of two of three at Ohio State and tied with Maryland with and 8-7 record, looked to do the same. At the end of the day, the Scarlet Knights had asserted control in the standings by sweeping Terps 6-5 and 11-3.

Game one - Terps give away the advantage

On a sunny and windy New Jersey day, both teams put a pair of runners on in the first inning but both failed to advance a runner past second. Rutgers got on board first with a solo two out homer to left center in the bottom of the second.

The Terps needed just two batters to get even in the top of the third. After Kylie Datil struck out leading off the inning, Lindsey 'Lu" Schmeiser extended her hitting streak to 23 games with a massive blast to left for her 11th home run of the year.

Rutgers recaptured the lead manufacturing a run in the home half of the third. The inning opened when Stephanie Huang blooped a double just over the head of Maryland third baseman Julie Strange. She advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball.

Maryland again used the long ball to get even in the fourth. This bomb came courtesy of catcher Shannon 'Boom Boom' Bustillos leading off the inning. They then turned to the small ball to take the lead. After Juli Strange grounded out to second, Mndy Gardner picked up her second single of the day with a grounder up the middle. Bridget Hawvermale looped a soft liner to short for the second out.

But as they have done so often this season, the Terrapins put together a two out rally. Dati lined a single to left and Schmeiser followed with a walk to load the bases. Hannah Dewey singled to right to drive in a pair of runs and Corey Schwartz lofted a soft liner just over the shortstop's head scoring Schmeiser who had motored to third on Dewey's single. Kaitlyn 'KK' Schmeiser would take to the circle in the fourth with the Terps in the lead for the first time.

Rutgers began to chip away at Maryland's 5-2 lead scoring once in the home fifth with Rutgers single season home run record holder Jackie Bates picking up the RBI on an opposite filed bloop down the right field line and another in the bottom of the sixth on back to back doubles to lead off the inning after the Terps had squandered a bases loaded one out opportunity in the top of the inning.

With Maryland now clinging to a 5-4 lead, Terrapins' head coach called on Dewey to come on in relief of KK. And K-K is exactly what Dewey got striking out the first two batters she faced before getting Elizabeth Adams on a routine grounder to second.

The Terps went in order in the top of the seventh and Dewey would face the top of the Scarlet Knights' lineup hoping to notch her second save of the season. Dewey got Huang on a ground out to second but Chandler Howard doubled to the opposite field before issuing a intentional unintentional walk to Bates - her third free pass of the day. Jordan Whitley singled up the middle driving in the tie run with Bates going all the way to third. Dewey then hit Melanie Slowinski with a pitch to load the bases and then hit Rebecca Hall to push across the winning run as the Terps gave away a win that was in their grasp.

Game two - Rutgers bats dominate

The Terps jumped on top 3-0 in their first at bat of the second half of the doubleheader. The first two runs came when New Jersey Native Corey Schwartz homered to left after Hannah Dewey had drawn a one out walk. Erin Pronobis followed with a bomb over the center field fence. Unfortunately for Maryland fans, Dewey who had pitched a very effective sixth inning in the first game before losing control in the seventh and letting Rutgers complete their comeback, starting the second game continued to be ineffective in the bottom of the first as Rutgers quickly cut the lead to 3-2.

Dewey continued to struggle in the second. She hit Elizabeth Adams then one out later gave up a home run (possibly wind aided) putting the Scarlet Knights ahead 4-3. After walking Jackie Bates, Dewey had a chance to get out of the inning but a questionable decision by Corey Schwartz that led to an error by the Terps' second baseman opened the door for a single and a three run homer that gave Rutgers a six run inning and an 8-3 lead after two.

Brenna Nation came in to pitch for Dewey and got through an inning and two-thirds before giving up a pair of runs on three hits in the fourth. The Terps went quietly in the fifth unable to capitalize on two walks and Rutgers came to bat in the bottom of the inning leading 10-3.

Jaymi Bautista-Geiger came on as the Terps' third pitcher of the game and got out of the fourth inning jam. However, with one out and no one on in the fifth, Bautista-Geiger walked Bates. It was the sixth time in the twin bill Maryland walked the Rutgers center fielder who is tied for second in the B1G with 16 home runs. As the Scarlet Knights had done all day, they made Maryland pay for this over-abundance of caution. In this instance, it came in the person of Jordan Whitley who doubled to the fence in left. Bates scored from first and the Scarlet Knights handed the Terrapins their first run rule loss of the season.

The run rule shortened game also saw Lindsey Schmeiser's 23 game hitting streak come to an end after the junior grounded out in her first two at bats and walked in her final chance at the plate in the Terrapins' fifth. Maryland falls to 26-21 on the season and 8-9 in the B1G. They are now tied for seventh with Ohio State and face a weekend series with the 41-6 Michigan Wolverines who are ranked fourth in the country.