After not having much success in its previous tournaments, Maryland softball finally had a winning weekend, finishing 3-2 at the Louisville Invitational. The offense was hit-and-miss throughout the tournament, but Ryan Denhart and Sydney Golden had their best performances of the year this weekend in Kentucky.
The weekend included a sweep over IUPUI, a Saturday doubleheader sweep and a win over 12-5 Eastern Illinois.
Friday game one: Maryland 2, IUPUI 0
For the third straight tournament, Maryland has won its first game of the weekend, this time defeating IUPUI 2-0.
It was a slow game for the Terps hitting wise, as they only registered three hits all game and just two runs, both coming off an error. Denhart was spectacular, though, pitching a complete game shutout while only giving up four hits. Her performance pushed her to 2-5 on the season, with her freshman-year ERA still below 3.50.
The key moment in the game came in the fourth inning, when Bridgette Nordberg reached first base on an error, scoring Amanda Brashear and Bailey Boyd, giving Denhart all the advantage she needed to get Maryland the win.
Friday game two: Louisville 4, Maryland 1
Again, like the last three tournaments, Maryland was unable to build on their Game 1 win, this time losing to Louisville 4-1.
Golden was Julie Wright’s choice of pitcher against the Cardinals, and like Denhart in the morning, the junior pitched the entire game for the Terps. She let up four earned runs but had five strikeouts.
It was another tough offensive game for Maryland, as in this game the Terps only managed three hits while striking out eight times. First baseman Taylor Wilson provided the only run of the game on a home run, her first of the season, in the top of the fifth inning.
Saturday game one: Maryland 3, Eastern Illinois 2 (8 innings)
Maryland took a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning in its first game Saturday, and while the Terps couldn’t close the deal, they bounced back to win in extra innings.
Brashear had one of her best games of the season, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs, including the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the eighth. Nordberg had herself a decent game as well, hitting 1-for-4 but having an RBI and a run.
Denhart was back out on the mound after her impressive performance on Friday, this time hurling six shutout innings before surrendering a game-tying two-run homer in the top of the seventh. Golden would replace her in the eighth when Denhart got herself into a jam with a runner on third and one out, but the reliever worked out of it and kept Maryland alive going into the bottom of the eighth, when Brashear won it.
Saturday game two: Maryland 5, IUPUI 1
Maryland kept the winning going in the second game of its Saturday doubleheader, as the Terps took down IUPUI for the second time this weekend.
Brashear and Nordberg kept their strong hitting going, each adding another two hits with Nordberg tallying two RBIs as well. Shelby Younkin also had an impressive game, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Denhart and Golden split the game again, with Golden getting the start and pitching 5.1 innings of one-run ball. Denhart then entered in the sixth inning, taking it the rest of the way without letting across any more runs.
Although the score may make it look like Maryland controlled this game, it was a lot closer than it appeared. Both teams were tied 0-0 heading into the fourth inning before Younkin’s two-run single.
Sunday: Miami (OH) 2, Maryland 1
Despite having the most success it’s had all season in a tournament this weekend, Maryland couldn’t close out the slate of games with a win, losing 2-1 to Miami (Ohio).
Golden started her third game of the weekend, pitching four innings and letting two runs across before giving the ball to Denhart for the final two innings. Golden got credited with the loss, putting her at 4-7 for the season.
Brashear had another strong game, getting a hit in two out of three at-bats while also driving in a run on a sixth inning single. Kassidy Cross had a decent outing, finishing 1-for-2 at the plate with a run and a walk.
Maryland’s winning record this weekend comes thanks to some impressive performances from the pitching staff, and some sparingly good play from the offense.
Brashear was the team’s leading hitter, going 8-for-16 (.500) over the five games with three RBIs, including the game-winning hit against Eastern Illinois. Younkin and Nordberg also had a few good games each, and they combined for five RBIs for the tournament.
On the pitching side, it was all Denhart and Golden. Whether one of them was starting or relieving, both pitchers played relatively well in each game in the tournament. Neither pitcher gave up more than four runs in any appearance, and both pitchers combined for 21 strikeouts.
Maryland’s early-season road stretch will finally come to an end next weekend, as the Terps will play again in College Park in the Maryland Invitational against Utah twice, Miami (OH) again, Jacksonville and Yale. The tournament starts Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET.