Maryland softball got its first win of the season Saturday after a shocking upset over top-ranked Florida. The Terps overall went 1-3 in the tournament making their record 1-8.
Hannah Dewey and Madison Martin were the stars in the circle as they stepped up from a disappointing start to the season last weekend. Martin is also having a great season at the plate, hitting .571. Maryland is still in a tough spot at 1-8, but perhaps the team could use the big win to create momentum for the rest of the season.
Despite the team’s struggles, the young players on the team are starting to show some flashes, most notably freshman Anna Kufta, who hit her third home run of the season. Freshman Amanda Brashear is also off to a great start, as she is hitting .343 on the season. With veterans Skylynne Ellazar and Kristina Dillard all contributing at the plate, Maryland may not have as rough of a season as the Texas Invitational indicated.
Friday morning: FIU 6, Maryland 1
The Terps opened the weekend against the 7-1 FIU Panthers. Dewey provided a solid start for the Terps as she pitched 5.1 innings. She gave up five runs but only three of them were earned. In the second inning two unearned runs were scored due to an error. The early 2-0 hole was too much for the Terps to overcome as Dewey was outmatched by FIU’s Megan Kugelmann, who pitched 5.1 innings and only gave up one run.
The offense had 10 hits during the game. Dillard, Martin and Juli Strange all had multiple hits. The Terps had a chance to have a big sixth inning, but Ellazar was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. Attempting to take the extra base hurt the Terps as Kufta followed with a single to center potentially taking a run off of the scoreboard. Dillard and Martin both followed with singles and forced a pitching change. After chasing Kugelmann out of the game, Abby Summers entered for FIU and forced a ground ball out that allowed Kufta to score from third. Summers managed to finish the inning by striking out Andi Jarvis, ending Maryland’s rally. Maryland also got two runners aboard from walks in the seventh, but was unable to score any runs.
Friday evening: Northwestern State 13, Maryland 2 (6 innings)
Maryland got off to a quick start, as Brashear led the game off with a triple. With a runner on third, neither Kufta nor Ellazar were able to drive her in resulting in two outs. Dillard followed with a walk and Martin was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kassidy Cross drove in the lone run of the first inning with a single to first base. The Terps were unable to extend their lead as Strange flied out to center to end the inning. Maryland’s other run was scored on a leadoff home run from Kufta in the third, which was her team-leading third on the season and fifth RBI.
After getting the early lead, the Terps had a disastrous second inning as they allowed seven runs to score. Ari Jarvis retired Northwestern State in order in the first, but began to struggle after a leadoff walk. After getting a ground ball to get a force out at second, Jarvis began giving up big hits. She was chased out of the game after allowing a bases-clearing triple to Kellye Kincannon that made the score 7-2. Martin relieved Jarvis and was able to prevent more runs from scoring. Martin went on to pitch four innings and gave up five runs, four of them earned.
Northwestern State extended their lead to 10-2 in the fourth inning and put the run rule in effect in the sixth. The Demons managed to score four runs in the sixth off Martin. They started their inning by getting the leadoff runner aboard on an error at first base. Relief pitchers Sami Main and Dewey couldn’t limit the damage.
After a leadoff walk by Ellazar to start the bottom of the sixth, the Terps went down in order to start the season 0-7.
Saturday Morning: Florida A&M 5, Maryland 1
Martin contributed in the circle and at the plate Saturday. She was able to limit the damage in the second inning as Florida A&M had the bases loaded with no outs; only one run scored on an error by the catcher. The Terps escaped further damage as they got a double play and Martin picked off a runner at first base. Maryland tied the score with an RBI triple from Ellazar, driving in Brashear in the third inning.
The Terps gave up four runs in the top of the seventh. After Martin gave up a leadoff single to Whitney Farris, an error at third base forced head coach Julie Wright to make a pitching change. She brought in Jarvis, who gave up a single up the middle to Taylor Rosier that gave Florida A&M the lead. Three more runs scored in the inning from two errors by the shortstop. Jarvis faced eight batters in her lone inning, giving up a hit and two unearned runs.
Martin had a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh, her second hit of the game. The Terps were scoreless in the inning as Strange, Jarvis and Haley Clements were all unable to drive her in.
Saturday Evening: Maryland 4, Florida 2
Top-ranked Florida got an early lead, as Dewey gave up a two-run single to Aleshia Ocasio after the runners reached by a walk and a single. Dewey had another big start for the Terps, pitching 5.1 innings and giving up two runs, one earned.
The Maryland offense responded in the fourth inning with three runs to take the lead. Dillard had an RBI double to right center that scored Ellazar. Jordan Aughinbaugh drove in Dillard with a sacrifice fly. Destiney Henderson drove in the final run of the inning with a two-out single to the shortstop. The Terps got an insurance run in the fifth as Martin drove in Ellazar with a RBI single to left field.
In the bottom of the sixth, Florida opened the inning with three straight walks, forcing Wright to make a pitching change. Martin entered with the bases loaded and one out. Just as the Terps made the change, the game was delayed due to rain. After about an hour-long delay, Martin managed to strike out the first batter she faced and got Chelsea Herndon to ground out to second.
Martin pitched the final 1.2 innings of the game. When in the circle in the seventh, she had to face the top of the order. She got Nicole DeWitt to ground out. With one out, Amanda Lorenz hit a single up the middle, bringing the tying run to the plate. Then, with two strikes, Kayli Kvistad singled to put runners on first and second. Martin then got another groundout, placing runners at second and third with two down. Martin got the final out of the game, getting Ocasio to ground out to second, sealing the Terps’ first win of the season.
Final moment, Maryland gets its first win of the season over #1 Florida! @NCAAsoftball @umterps #Believe #FearTheTurtle pic.twitter.com/WlO93mxR9i— Maryland Softball (@TerpsSoftball) February 18, 2017
Field of bad dreams
Fielding has hurt the Terps this year as they have already made 17 errors, while their opponents have only committed seven. In a close game against Florida A&M, Maryland had four errors.
Maryland is going to have a long season if they cannot solve their issues on defense. Errors have resulted in opponents scoring 16 unearned runs. On Friday the Terps had two errors at first base, and on Saturday morning they had another two errors at shortstop. Even when they beat Florida, Maryland still had three errors while Florida had none.
State of the circle
Wright may have found her two starting pitchers this weekend. Dewey’s start Friday against FIU was the deepest a starter had got into a game this season until Martin went six innings on Saturday. Despite a rough start against Colorado State last week, Dewey is proving to be one of the more reliable pitchers on the staff with her two quality starts. Her performance against top-ranked Florida may have cemented her place as the ace of the staff.
Martin also had a great start Saturday, as she gave the Terps an excellent opportunity to win their first game of the season against Florida A&M. She pitched six innings and gave up three unearned runs. She pitched the Terps into the seventh inning with the game tied at one until her defense let her down. Martin has a team-leading 4.63 ERA.
The Terps play Drake, Bowling Green, Bradley, Louisiana-Lafayette and Dartmouth next weekend at the Mardi Gras Classic in Lafayette, Louisiana.