The fourth ranked and Big Ten leading Michigan Wolverines made their first trip to College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins Friday evening in the first of a three game series. The Wolverines lived up to their reputation getting strong pitching and taking advantage of every Terrapins mistake to stroll to an 8-0 rule shortened win.
In a bit of a surprise, Maryland head coach Courtney Scott Deifel elected to start California sophomore Hannah Dewey in the circle and moved Lindsey Schmeiser to start in center field with Kylie Datil making the start at shortstop.The move paid an early dividend as Dewey retired the Wolverines, who are second in the conference batting .341 as a team, in order.
Although they didn't hit the ball hard against Michigan starter Megan Betsa, who leads the B1G with a 1.58 ERA, the Terps manage to put two on with one out in the bottom of the first when Dewey topped an infield single between the pitcher and shortstop and Corey Schwartz blooped a ball into shallow left center. Maryland failed to capitalize when Erin Pronobis looked at a third strike and Shannon Bustillos skied to right.
Michigan got on top in the second when an recent bugaboo struck Dewey and a season long problem poked its head out of the Terrapins' shell. With one out, Dewey hit Lauren Sweet and Lindsay Montemarano laid down a bunt that Kaitlyn Schmieser fielded, turned and fired to no one covering first leeting Sweet take third. Montemmarano stole second and scored on Tera Sweet's single to right. Juli Strange drew a two out walk but the Wolverines led 2-0 at the end of two.
The Wolverines doubled their lead to 4-0 in the third. After giving up a lead off single, Dewey walked three of the next four batters and Michigan's fourth run came around on an infield single. A diving play by Schwartz that prevented the ball from going through save a run after KK Schmeiser came on in relief of Dewey. KK retired Blanco on a soft liner to second and made a terrific sliding play at the plate for the third out after uncorking a wild pitch.
The lead opened to 5-0 in the fourth when Abby Ramirez blooped a ball over Schwarz's head that she hustled into a double. She moved to third on a fly ball to deep right and scored on an error. Betsa retired the Terps in order in the home half of the inning.
Brenna Nation came on to start the fifth for Maryland and promptly walked the first two batters who advance on two illegal pitches. The first came around to score on a ground out and Blanco cleared the bases with a home run off the light post in left center.
Strange drove a one out single to center and moved around to third on a pair of wild pitches - the second of which struck out Datil. Lindsey Schmeiser struck out for the final out as the Terps dropped a run rule decision for the second consecutive game.
The series continues Saturday at 1:00 pm and the Terps will celebrate senior day Sunday afternoon.