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Maryland softball finishes 1-4 at Florida Tournament

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The Terps’ struggles continued as they now sit at 3-11 on the season.

Maryland Athletics

Maryland softball entered the Florida Tournament with a 2-7 record. Like last weekend, the Terps won their first game of the tournament and went on to lose the next four.

The Terps are now 3-11, after a weekend where their bats showed some life in the opening win, before going MIA for much of the tournament. Maryland faced tough competition and nearly grabbed a second win in the tournament’s final game, but fell short in extra innings.

Friday game one: Maryland 9, Iowa State 5

The Terps got themselves out on the right foot in the Florida Tournament, dropping nine runs on the Cyclones. They had scored 14 runs in their first nine games.

Julie Wright decided to go with her veteran to start the game, giving Sydney Golden the start. Golden gave up four runs on 10 hits, but pitched six innings before she was relieved by Ryan Denhart.

Golden’s performance ended up being enough, though, as the Terp offense had its best hitting day of the season thus far, putting up nine runs on 11 hits. The Cyclones helped the Terps out a bit, walking three runs across the plate before Jacqui Pascual hit a two-run single to stretch the Maryland lead to 5-0 in just the second inning. Maryland added four more runs, two in the fourth and two in the sixth, en route to a comfortable 9-5 victory.

Bridgette Nordberg continued her solid hitting into the tournament, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored. Maryland got help from everyone, with Skylynne Ellazar, Anna Kufta, Shelby Younkin and Mikayla Werahiko each contributing an RBI as well.

Friday game two: No. 2 Florida 7, Maryland 2

Much like the Auburn tournament, the Terps followed their early victory with a loss, this time to the No. 2 Florida Gators.

Maryland pulled the upset last season when it gave a then-No. 1 Florida its first loss of the season. This time Florida got its shot at redemption, and didn’t let history repeat itself.

Denhart was tasked with handling the Gator hitters, only going for three innings and giving up four runs (two earned). Sami Main came on in relief, but didn’t last very long, giving up three runs in 0.1 innings. Wright eventually ended up going back to Golden for the last 2.2 innings, and the junior didn’t give up any runs.

Hitting-wise, Maryland never really got much going, even though they matched Florida’s hit total of five. Ellazar and Hannah Eslick contributed the only RBIs of the game, Eslick’s coming on a home run, her second of the season.

Ultimately, Denhart picked up the loss, moving her to 1-4 on the season despite a 2.04 ERA.

Saturday game one: Georgia Southern 4, Maryland 1

Maryland kicked off its second day of the Florida tournament with a loss against Georgia Southern, losing 4-1.

Denhart started her second consecutive game, throwing 5.2 innings and again only letting across two earned runs. However, she did get credited with another loss, pushing the freshman to 1-5.

The offense struggled again in this one, only managing one run against Georgia Southern’s Rylee Waldrep. Bridgette Nordberg and Jacqui Pascual played well, though, each going 2-3 with Pascual having the team’s only RBI.

Saturday game two: No. 2 Florida 12, Maryland 0 (5 innings)

Reminiscent of their 12-1 loss to Auburn last weekend, Maryland didn’t play very well all-around and dropped an ugly game that ended in a mercy rule.

The combination of Aleisha Ocasio and Natalie Lugo proved to be too much for the Terp offense to handle, as Maryland only managed one hit the entire game, compared to 10 hits for the Gators.

Wright decided to go away from her two normal starting pitchers in Denhart and Golden, choosing Lauren Graves as her starter. Graves faced two batters, walked them both, and was pulled for Golden.

Florida put up four runs in the first inning, four more in the third, and by the fifth inning had Maryland in mercy rule territory, ending the game early.

Sunday morning: Illinois State 8, Maryland 7 (8 innings)

In its final game of the tournament, Maryland’s offense sparked back to life, but wasn’t enough to beat Illinois State, losing 8-7 in eight innings.

Maryland’s hitters had another one of their best games of the season, totaling 12 hits with most of them coming from Ellazar, Nordberg and Pascual.

On the pitching side, it again was the Denhart-Golden show, as Denhart started the game but only pitching 1.1 innings, leaving the final 6.2 to Golden.

The game was a back-and-forth affair, as each team’s offense had a response for the other as the game wore on. The scoring got started with Pascual hitting a two-run triple in the bottom of the first, and continued with Nordberg’s double in the third and her home-run in the fifth.

Maryland’s offense appeared to be firing on cylinders, sending the game into extra innings by scoring two runs with the game on the line. But they didn’t have a response for Illinois State in the eighth inning and fell just short of ending the tournament on a good note.

The standouts

On what was a bit of a rough weekend for the team, there weren’t too many players who played remarkably well. There were some good performances, though, from the Terps offensive unit.

Bridgette Nordberg continued her hot hitting, going 8-for-13 (.615) on the weekend and adding three RBIs. Jacqui Pascual also turned in a pretty good performance at the plate as well, bringing in five RBIs while going 5-15 (.333).

On deck

Maryland’s off again for the week before it picks things back up at with another tournament at Louisville. The Terps will play IUPUI twice, Louisville, Eastern Illinois and Miami (OH).