Whatever momentum Maryland softball had coming off its Tuesday doubleheader sweep of Rutgers was killed by Michigan’s combination of strong pitching and hitting. The Terps were dominated in all phases by the Wolverines on their way to being swept by the 14th-ranked team in the country.
Friday: Michigan 6, Maryland 0
Maryland’s offense couldn’t get going in in the opening game of the series against Michigan, and the Terps were shut out for the 10th time this season. The Wolverines, meanwhile, scored three in the first and two in the third to cruise to victory.
Michigan’s Meghan Beaubien (26-2) was in control of the Maryland offense, allowing just one hit in seven innings with seven strikeouts. The Terps were being no-hit by the freshman left-hander until the top of the sixth, when Skylynne Ellazar broke through with a bunt. Ellazar ended up advancing to second off a wild pitch, but Sami Stefan grounded out to end the inning, ending Maryland’s only opportunity to score.
Ryan Denhart was the pitcher of choice this game for Julie Wright, allowing four earned runs on five hits en route to another complete game. Denhart was a bit hindered by Maryland’s defensive blunders, as the Terps committed three errors this game, leading to two unearned runs.
Saturday: Michigan 12, Maryland 1 (5 innings)
Michigan got its second win of the series over with quickly, beating Maryland handily by a score of 12-1 in five innings. The Wolverines scored a pair of runs in each of the first two frames, then pulled away with six in the third and two more in the fourth.
The Maryland offense enjoyed slightly more success than it did in the previous game, this time picking five hits and managing to get on the scoreboard. Bridgette Nordberg was responsible for the team’s only run, coming off a second-inning home run by the sophomore.
But Michigan also had more success hitting in Game 2, doubling its run total from the first game against Maryland’s Sydney Golden. The Wolverines lit up Golden to the tune of 10 earned runs on 12 hits in just four innings to end the game via the NCAA softball mercy rule. The Terps again weren’t helping their starting pitcher, as the defense committed four errors that accounted for two unearned runs.
Sunday: Michigan 8, Maryland 0 (6 innings)
The series for Maryland came to an early end on Sunday, as Michigan again induced the NCAA mercy rule, winning 8-0 in six innings. The Wolverines scored in five of the six frames.
It was a rock-bottom game for the Maryland offense, as Beaubien redeemed her one-hitter from Friday with a no-hitter in the final game of the series. She totaled 11 strikeouts this time around, and was in complete control of the Maryland offense all game long.
It was the same story again for Maryland pitchers and fielders: while the pitching wasn’t necessarily great, sloppy fielding didn’t help. Denhart was the starter, and she went another complete game, allowing five earned runs. But something just wasn’t right with the Maryland defense this series, as the Terps committed another four errors, good for three more unearned runs.
Three things to know
- The Terps committed way, way, way too many errors. Over the course of this weekend’s games, Maryland committed a combined 11 (!) errors, contributing to seven unearned runs in total. Denhart and Golden already had enough to worry about when facing a strong Michigan team, but it makes their jobs impossible when sound defense isn’t being played.
- Consistency remains an issue for Maryland hitters. Maryland’s offense has been hot-and-cold series-to-series in recent weeks. After struggling against Indiana last weekend, the Terps hit extremely well in their doubleheader with Rutgers, but then were back to struggling again against Michigan. While Michigan obviously has a much stronger pitching staff than the Scarlet Knights, more consistent scoring would go a long way towards Maryland making real progress in the Big Ten.
- Maryland can’t seem to win on the road. Currently, Maryland is 3-12 when playing on the road this season, compared to a 7-8 record at home and an 8-9 mark at neutral sites. With another big series coming up next weekend at Ohio State, figuring out the road woes even at this point in the season will be important.
The Terps are on the road again next weekend, when they meet Ohio State in their penultimate Big Ten series of the season. The first game will start at 6 p.m. ET on Friday.