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Maryland softball shuts down Iowa’s offense for 3-game series sweep

Sydney Golden and the Terps’ pitchers were on their game this weekend.

Julie Wright Maryland softball Photo by Maryland Athletics

Maryland continued its stretch of Big Ten matchups this weekend by facing Iowa, looking to continue its strong conference start from last weekend at Penn State. Maryland handled business against the Hawkeyes, winning all three games of the series.

Friday: Maryland 2, Iowa 1 (11 innings)

In a game that was stretched all the way to 11 innings, the Terps pulled out a tough win. Both teams scratched across their first run in the sixth, and Bridgette Nordberg delivered the winning single in the 11th.

It was a half-and-half split of the game for Ryan Denhart and Sydney Golden, with Denhart starting and pitching five innings and Golden taking the last six frames. Both pitchers fared very well against the Iowa hitters, as Denhart and Golden held the Hawkeyes to just one run on six hits.

It wasn’t the best day for Maryland hitters, as they were held in check by Iowa’s Allison Doocy for most of the game. They were able to get the hits when they needed them, though, as Maryland was able to extend the game in the sixth inning by matching the run Iowa scored in the top of the frame. In the bottom of the 11th, Bridgette Nordberg singled in Amanda Brashear for the winning run. Aside from Nordberg, Anna Kufta produced at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Golden ultimately ended up being credited with the win, which pushed her record to 7-10 this season. It was a solid win for the Terps and a great start to the weekend slate.

Saturday: Maryland 5, Iowa 2

The Terp hitters were able to break through in the second game of the series, this time tallying 11 hits and bringing five runs across. Leading hitters on the day were Nordberg (2-for-3 with an RBI), Skylynne Ellazar (1-for-4, two RBIs), Mikayla Werahiko (2-for-3, two runs) and Kassidy Cross (2-for-3 with a run).

It was another split game pitching wise, as this time Sami Main was given the start. Main pitched pretty well, throwing 3.1 innings and giving up two runs on five hits. She was then relieved by Denhart in the fourth inning, and the freshman would pitch the final 3.2 innings of the game. Denhart was on her game, giving up only two hits the rest of the way and being credited with the win.

Sunday: Maryland 1, Iowa 0

Once again, when the Terp hitters couldn’t seem to get much going, the pitching was able to pick them up and lead Maryland to victory, this time beating Iowa 1-0 to complete the series sweep.

Golden was back to make her second start of the weekend for Maryland, and kept up her impressive stretch of play. She pitched all seven innings, allowing only four hits and zero runs. She added three strikeouts as well.

Iowa’s Doocy was again able to subdue the Maryland offense, holding the Terps to just five hits for the game. But Ellazar was able to break through, hitting a home run in the fourth inning to give Maryland the only run they needed.

The win put the winning streak at five games, and brought the team’s record to 15-20.

The standouts

Aside from the 5-2 win on Saturday, Maryland’s offense was quiet for most of the weekend, but the Terps picked up key hits when they needed them. Skylynne Ellazar remained a leader in the lineup, hitting the home run in the Sunday game and grabbing two RBIs on Saturday. Bridgette Nordberg also played well, driving in the game-winning run on Friday and going 2-3 with an RBI on Saturday.

The real star of the weekend was Sydney Golden. She pitched six innings in relief in the first game of the series, and followed it with a complete game two days later. The junior did all that without allowing a run, and her ERA is down to 3.35 for the season.

Iowa (15-17, 1-4 Big Ten) isn’t a bad team by any stretch, so Golden’s performance this weekend is a great sign for her—and the whole team, for that matter—moving forward into crucial Big Ten play.

On deck

The Terps (15-20, 5-1 Big Ten) are back on the road next weekend to face the Illinois Fighting Illini (22-13, 3-4). The three-game series will begin on Friday at 6 p.m. ET.