Maryland was swept in its season series against Ohio State for the second consecutive season.
The Buckeyes entered the weekend with a 15-7 record, and emerged at 18-7. Maryland allowed 38 runs over the three games, falling to 7-23.
Friday night: Ohio State 6, Maryland 2
Madison Martin started in the circle for the opening game of the series. She pitched her second straight complete game, but fell to the Buckeyes. She allowed six runs, but only two were earned.
Martin gave up one run in the first, but the game fell apart in when Ohio State scored five runs in the third inning. The Buckeyes opened the inning with a single and, the Terps began to unravel after an error at shortstop. The error allowed the runner from first to score putting Maryland behind 2-0. Martin then surrendered back-to-back hits by Emily Clark and Ashley Goodwin that scored two more runs before Taylor White hit a three-run home run to center field.
Maryland was never able to put pressure on Ohio State pitcher Shelby Hursh. She pitched a complete game and picked up her eighth win of the season. The only critical mistake for Hursh was giving up a solo home run to Juli Strange in the third inning.
Saturday afternoon: Ohio State 10, Maryland 6 (8 innings)
Maryland nearly grabbed its first Big Ten win of the season after coming back from an early deficit. The Terps fell behind when the Buckeyes scored two runs in the first and third innings, all of which came on home runs. Clark hit her second home run of the series off Hannah Dewey in the first inning, and Anna Kirk and Lilli Piper both hit solo home runs in the top of the third.
The Terps rallied in the bottom of the third to cut the four-run deficit to one. With two outs, Kristina Dillard hit a double to left that scored two runs. Dewey with a double to left center to score Dillard.
Ohio State extended its lead to two runs in the sixth inning after Piper hit a RBI double to left field. The Terps responded in the bottom half of the inning when Strange hit a double that scored Sarah Calta.
Maryland headed into the bottom of the seventh down one, and Anna Kufta started the inning with a leadoff triple to right center. Dillard reached on an infield single to short, but it was not able to score Kufta and she remained at third. Dewey drove in the tying run on a short sacrifice fly to short. Piper was able to make the running catch over her head, but was unable to make a strong throw to home plate allowing Kufta to score.
Maryland allowed five runs to score in the top of the eighth inning. Martin was able to get the first two outs of the inning, but after a hit, two walks and an error, White hit a grand slam to left that gave the Buckeyes a five-run lead. The Terps attempted to rally again in the bottom of the eighth when Martin hit her first home run of the season, but it was not enough and the Terps dropped the second game of the series.
Sunday afternoon: Ohio State 22, Maryland 0 (5 innings)
Dewey struggled out of the gate Sunday. She allowed the first three batters to reach base and walked White with the bases loaded for the first run of the game. Ohio State scored the second run of the inning on an infield single by Becca Galvin before Dewey walked in another run.
Already down 3-0, Dewey allowed another leadoff walk in the second inning. She then allowed three straight hits, including a RBI single by Clark. Dewey was replaced by Martin, but she could not stop the bleeding as she allowed two RBI singles before recording her first out. Piper’s grand slam started to put things out of reach, but the Buckeyes continued to pile on. Ohio State scored 13 runs in the second inning to extend the lead to 16-0. The Terps allowed six more runs before the game was called.
Terps show power resurgence at home
Since the Terps returned home last weekend, the team has had a power surge. After hitting only three home runs in the first 23 games, all by Kufta, Maryland has hit four in the past eight games. Last weekend, Dillard was the star, hitting a home run in both games vs. Binghamton. This weekend, Strange and Martin both hit their first home runs of the season. Strange has been thriving in the leadoff spot.
“My role didn’t change when [Wright] moved me to leadoff,” Strange insisted, “it's just another spot in the lineup.”
Despite Strange claiming that her role did not change, her success is impossible to ignore. She has had nine hits since moving up to the top of the order March 19. By reaching base and showing power at the top of the order, Strange is giving Maryland a midseason spark to its lineup.
In the circle
After allowing five runs in the third inning, Martin did not allow a run for the remainder of the game. She appeared in relief fourth inning with one out Saturday. She pitched 4.2 innings and allowed six runs. After allowing the grand slam in the eighth inning, Martin lost her second game of the series. Martin also had a brief appearance in Game 3, pitching only 0.2 innings in relief. She allowed seven runs and six hits before being replaced.
Dewey started Games 2 and 3. She allowed four runs in 3.1 innings on six hits and three walks in Game 2. She struggled again in Game 3, allowing eight runs in just one inning. She continued to have trouble finding the strike zone, walking five of the 14 batters she faced in Game 3.
Wright went deep into her bullpen after Dewey couldn’t get it done on Sunday. Ari Jarvis entered with two outs in the second inning and allowed two runs in 1.1 innings. Sami Martin allowed two runs in her lone inning. Lauren Graves replaced Martin and allowed three runs in the fifth inning.
The Buckeyes are tied for third in the Big Ten with 29 home runs. Ohio State hit seven homers over the weekend. Head coach Julie Wright attributed that to pitchers missing spots and multiple looks against the same pitchers.
“Pitches hit out of the ballpark were too elevated,” Wright said. “The more [the hitters] see pitchers, the more they get comfortable.”
Maryland continues Big Ten play as it travels to East Lansing, Michigan for a three-game series against Michigan State. The Terps went 2-1 against the Spartans last season.