Maryland softball was swept by Wisconsin over the weekend to finish the 2017 season. The sweep meant that the Terps did not win a single conference series the entire season and only split against Rutgers, who finished second to last in the conference. Maryland’s 11-39-1 record comes in one game worse than last year’s record for the worst in program history.
For senior weekend, Madison Martin, Kristina Dillard, Hannah Dewey, Juli Strange, Sarah Calta and Jordan Aughinbaugh were honored before suiting up for the final time for Maryland.
Friday afternoon: Wisconsin 8, Maryland 3
Maryland had the first part of its opening ceremonies for senior weekend, and right after the festivities, the high-octane Wisconsin offense went to work.
Chloe Miller, who entered the game leading the Big Ten with a .436 batting average, drove a double down the right field line for the first hit of the game. She advanced on a grounder and scored on an infield single. Sara Novak hit a weak ground ball back to the pitcher, but the ball bounced off her glove.
Wisconsin added another run with back-to-back doubles in the third inning. The Badgers hit .385 with runners in scoring position over the course of the game.
Freshman Anna Kufta was the main offensive contributor for the Terps, as she put them back in the game when Terps were down 2-0. Kufta drove a two-run home run off the left field foul pole. The home run scored Amanda Brashear, who had just recorded the Terps first hit of the game on an infield single. Kufta also drove in the team’s third run in the sixth inning.
But Wisconsin pulled away with two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. Dewey only allowed three earned runs, but gave up seven in total. The Badgers added one more in the seventh.
Saturday afternoon: Wisconsin 5, Maryland 3
After Madison Martin was honored for senior weekend, she went to work in the circle, retiring the first 10 batters in order before Miller tripled in the fourth inning.
Everything seemed to be going the Terps’ way when Aughinbaugh put Maryland on the board with a two-run home run down the left field line in the third inning. The homer was Aughinbaugh’s first of her collegiate career.
The seniors kept delivering, as Hannah Dewey hit her first home run of the season in the fourth inning to give the Terps a 3-1 lead.
Unfortunately for the Terps, Wisconsin kept chipping away at the lead. After adding runs in the fourth and fifth inning, the Badgers dropped three in the sixth to take the lead. The inning started with three consecutive hits before head coach Julie Wright brought in Lauren Graves with one out. After getting ahead in the count, Graves surrendered a weak ground ball up the middle that scored two and turned out to be the difference in the game.
Wright decided to bring in the freshman since the game plan for the Terps was to pitch hard and in. The Novak RBI single was the only hit that Graves surrendered in her 1.2 innings.
Sunday afternoon: Wisconsin 5, Maryland 0
The Terps had a disappointing finish to the season as they fell behind 4-0 in the first inning. The Badgers picked up four hits that led to the runs against Dewey, including Brooke Wyderski stealing home. Wisconsin added another run in the third when Gabby Scherle scored Jordan Little on an infield single.
The Badgers could have run ruled the Terps, leaving 10 runners left on base through five innings, but Martin was able to get a groundout with the bases loaded to end the fourth after she was brought in to pitch.
The offense, which struggled all year in conference play, finished the season quietly, picking up only two hits against Kaitlyn Menz. The Terps’ best chance to get on the scoreboard was in the fifth, when Maryland had two runners on and two outs. Already down 5-0, the Terps could not make a threat, as Martin grounded out to end the inning.
It was a long season
For the second year in a row, Maryland (11-39-1, 4-18 Big Ten) was one of two teams to miss the 12-team Big Ten Tournament. Wright said that she was disappointed that seniors would not make the tournament, and noted that they had gone through three head coaches in their careers.
The Terps also finished with the worst season in program history winning surpassing the record set last season (12-40, 4-19 Big Ten).
Seniors get lasting memories
Jordan Aughinbaugh and Hannah Dewey both hit their first home runs of the season Saturday. The hit ranked as the top moment for Aughinbaugh at Maryland. “It’s awesome, they are great,” she said when talking about celebrating with her fellow seniors. “My whole family was here, it was special.”
Despite being eliminated from tournament play Friday, Aughinbaugh insisted that the seniors would finish the season strong.
“This is the last time that all of us will play,” she said. “We don’t want to leave with any regrets.”