Maryland softball played its first home games this weekend at Maryland Stadium. The Terps were originally supposed to open Friday against Buffalo, but the game was cancelled due to the snow that hit the region earlier this week. Maryland went 2-2 at the Maryland Invitational, then won a fifth game against St. John’s on Monday thanks to a Madison Martin one-hitter.
Maryland split against Binghamton, playing two competitive games that came down to the final innings. Meanwhile, the Terps defeated Buffalo and struggled against No. 12 James Madison. Their 3-2 weekend brings them to 7-20-1 entering Big Ten play.
Saturday Afternoon: Maryland 5, Binghamton 4
After the field was able to be cleared and available for play, Madison Martin started the Terps’ home opener and picked up her third win of the season.
Martin was able to keep the Bearcats scoreless until a two-run home run by Kate Richard tied the score at 2-2 in the fourth inning. The home run surrendered was the only major mistake on her stat line as Martin’s quality start was hurt by her defense. The Terps made six errors in the ballgame, a season high. Despite the errors behind her, Martin pitched her second complete game of the season.
After a scoreless first inning, Kristina Dillard put Maryland on the board with her first home run of the season. It was the first long ball for any Terp since Feb. 17.
The Terps added another run in the third inning when Anna Kufta drove in Juli Strange with a single up the middle. The Terps scored again in the fourth when Amanda Brashear hit a RBI single.
The surprise performer for the Terps was Hannah Dewey, who entered the game hitting .081 on the season. She hit two doubles in the left-center gap, including one in the sixth inning that drove in the tying run.
Martin held the Bearcats scoreless in the seventh to keep the score tied at 4-4. Strange got her second hit of the game and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Kufta followed with a double that allowed Strange to easily score the walk-off run.
Saturday Evening: Maryland 6, Buffalo 3
After a thrilling win to open the tournament, Maryland faced off against Buffalo. Buffalo entered the game struggling with a 3-17 record and had lost nine of their last 10 games.
Dewey managed to pitch herself out of trouble early, and the senior seemed to be cruising until she gave up a leadoff double in the fourth inning. Buffalo got on the scoreboard after Jessica Goldyn hit a RBI single up the middle. Dewey escaped further damage by ending the inning on a weak ground ball.
The defensive struggles for Buffalo showed early as Maryland capitalized in the second inning on a dropped infield fly. With two runners on, Brigette Nordberg hit a high popup that was dropped by Essence Savinon at first, advancing the runners to second and third with one out. Skylynne Ellazar scored the first run of the ballgame from third on a wild pitch.
Maryland rallied with two outs in the bottom of the third inning. Brashear singled to left, advanced to second on an error and scored on a single by Kufta. Ellazar’s single drove in another run, and Cross nearly broke the game open with a deep fly ball to right that was caught at the warning track for the final out of the inning.
Maryland took advantage of more mistakes by Buffalo in the fifth inning, as an overthrow on a Dillard bunt allowed Kufta to score from first.
The Bulls cut the lead to 4-2 after a RBI single by Goldyn in the top of the sixth, but the Terps bounced back in the bottom half with a two-run single by Brashear. Martin earned her second save of the season despite surrendering a leadoff home run by Charlotte Miller in the seventh.
Sunday Afternoon: Binghamton 9, Maryland 7
Dewey avoided a disastrous first inning in the circle thanks to a baserunning blunder. Binghamton had two runners reach via walk for power-hitting Richard, who drove a deep fly ball over the right-center wall. However, while rounding the bases, Richard missed stepping on home plate. Not only did the mistake record the third out of the inning, but it also took a run off the scoreboard. Dewey managed to escape the first allowing two runs.
She gave up another run in the third on a wild pitch, but appeared to be in control until the sixth inning where the Bearcats took the lead.
Wright replaced Dewey with Lauren Graves after Binghamton loaded the bases on a walk and two singles. Graves walked in a run, then got Richard to hit a popup to first, which was dropped. Maryland got the force at home, but Richard reached base safely because the infield fly wasn’t called. A hit-by-pitch and a walk brought in in two more runs.
After the walk, Wright decided to go back to her bullpen and brought in Martin, who almost got out of the jam before a fielding and throwing error allowed Binghamton to score two more runs. Binghamton scored their sixth run of the inning on an infield single.
The Terps were never able to rally in the late innings, only recording two hits in the final three innings.
Sunday Evening: No. 12 James Madison 8, Maryland 0
After a tough loss to Binghamton, Maryland had to take the field against one of the best pitchers in the country. JMU started Megan Good, who was named Fastpitch News National Pitcher of the Week for March 14 and was ranked No. 6 in espnW’s top 25 softball players in the country.
The Terps were able to gets runners on, but could not come through with runners in scoring position. Entering the game, opponents were hitting .044 with runners on against Good this year. The Terps left eight runners on base over the course of the game.
Maryland’s best opportunity to score came in the second inning, when JMU only had a four-run lead. Ellazar began the inning with a double to center, and Cross followed with a walk. Nordberg bunted the runners to second and third, but the Terps were unable to bring either of them in.
The game was essentially over when JMU extended their lead to seven runs in the fifth inning. Niki Prince hit a 3-run home run to right center that was her third of the season.
Monday Afternoon: Maryland 3, St. John’s 0
Madison Martin tossed a one-hit shutout, throwing only 68 pitches in seven innings. She was perfect through three before allowing a leadoff double in the fourth, but only allowed a hit and an error after that.
Ellazar opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with a two-run triple to right. Dewey followed by driving a ball to center past the glove of the diving second baseman.
Maryland had a chance to extend their lead multiple times with runners at second and third. Henderson and Sara Calta reached on infield singles in the fourth inning and stole second and third for the top of the order, but Strange and Brashear both struck out swinging to end the inning. The Terps also left runners stranded in the fifth and sixth innings, but Martin still had plenty of run support
Lineup adjustments before conference play begins
Juli Strange moved up to third in the order against Binghamton on Saturday, then moved again to leadoff for the evening game. She had two hits in the first game and added another hit and two walks later against Buffalo. Amanda Brashear was hitting leadoff in the beginning of the season, but Julie Wright said she’s “naturally a two-hitter.”
Kufta moved from third to fourth in the lineup against Binghamton; she moved back to third against Buffalo. The freshman was also moved to shortstop despite having no experience there, while Ellazar shifted to her natural position of third base.
Ellazar had a great weekend at the plate, totaling nine hits including a 4-for-4 performance against Binghamton Saturday. Wright contributed Ellazar’s weekend success to her “making really good adjustments in practice.” She also added that “she is closer to where we need her to be.”
The other lineup change over the weekend was Calta starting Monday. After two pinch hitting appearances Sunday, the senior replaced Cross in the outfield against St. John’s. Calta suffered an ACL injury last season, but can be a big contributor to the lineup.
“She is one of my best hitters,” Wright said of her senior outfielder. “We had been giving her time to get her ready.”
In the circle
Martin pitched a complete game Saturday afternoon against Binghamton and threw two more innings in relief against Buffalo. Wright was forced to bring her into Sunday’s first game, but still started her against JMU. Martin ended up pitching in all five games, throwing 24.2 innings in total. Her shutout of St. John’s improved her record to 5-5 on the season with a team-low 2.89 ERA.
Dewey earned her second win of the season Saturday, pitching five innings and allowing two runs against Buffalo. She had control issues on Sunday, walking seven batters in six innings between the two games.
Graves was the third pitcher used for the Terps over the weekend in her lone appearance Saturday against Binghamton. She pitched a third of an inning while allowing three unearned to score. She also had control issues, walking two of the four batters she faced.
Maryland hosts Ohio State for a three-game series to start Big Ten play. The Terps were swept in Columbus last season.