Maryland softball split its doubleheader against Rutgers Wednesday, finishing a series postponed for two straight weeks in disappointment. The Terps fell behind early in both games and were not able to come back in the second, putting their postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.
The Terps no lonfer control their own destiny for the Big Ten Tournament. Even if Maryland sweeps Wisconsin (29-14, 8-11 Big Ten), the Terps need Rutgers, Northwestern and Purdue to lose their series over the weekend.
Game 1: Maryland 4, Rutgers 3
With such high stakes, head coach Julie Wright gave the ball to Hannah Dewey knowing that the team had little margin for error. Wright got a lot of innings out of her senior last weekend, allowing just one hit over 11 innings Saturday before trotting back out to the circle to throw 3.1 more innings Sunday.
The Terps were unable to take advantage of their first scoring opportunity when an error at third in the third inning loaded the bases with one out. Anna Kufta popped up to third and Dewey lined out to short as the Terps struggles at the plate continued. It was a great opportunity to capitalize on a rare Rutgers error. The Scarlet Knights are fifth in the conference in fielding percentage, so those chances don’t come around often.
Maryland fell behind in the third inning when Nicolette Anico drove in the game’s first run with a RBI single to center. Rebecca Hall followed with a double to center to drive her in. Rutgers kept rallying with two outs as Sierra Maddox drove in the third run of the inning with a single up the middle.
Down three, the Terps rallied late against against Whitney Jones. Kufta came through in the fifth inning when she drove a two-run double to left center. Dewey tied the game when she drove in Kufta on a single to center.
The Terps took a 4-3 lead in the seventh when Sarah Calta hit a two-out single that scored Dewey.
Wright turned to Madison Martin to get the final three outs. Martin retired the side in order to earn her fourth save of the season. Dewey picked up her fifth win of the season, improving her record to 5-13.
Game 2: Rutgers 4, Maryland 3
Martin remained in the circle to start the second game of the doubleheader. The Terps began to unravel in the third inning when the Scarlet Knights extended their lead to two. Already up one, Hall kicked off the inning with a single that hit Martin. An error at short allowed Hall to advance to third before she scored on a wild pitch. Another error in the fourth inning extended Rutgers’ lead to 3-0.
The Terps almost had another fifth inning rally as Amanda Brashear drove a two-strike pitch to right that scored Maryland’s first run of the game. The stage was set for Kufta with runners at first and third with one out before she hit a shallow fly ball to right field. Anico made the play and threw out Skylynne Ellazar out at the plate to end the inning.
Rebecca Hall added an insurance run when she hit her 12th home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the fifth.
Maryland made another late push in the seventh when Maryland cut the deficit down to one after Dewey hit a single to left. Rutgers was just able to hang on to the 4-3 win as Kristina Dillard grounded out to end the game.
The Terps return home Friday to take on Wisconsin in the final series of the regular season. The series will give fans a final time to watch the seniors, and Maryland will be hoping to make a final conference tournament push.