In a rematch of a series in which Maryland softball was thoroughly dominated, the Terps played a competitive game against a higher-seeded team. But a late rally from Illinois did Maryland in, and a 5-3 loss to the Illini ultimately ended its season.
Despite taking advantage of early mistakes by Illinois, the Terps’ pitching struggles late put Illinois ahead at the end of the game.
The Maryland offense matched its run total in Thursday’s game that it had in its entire three-game series against Illinois a month ago. Things got going early, with Jacqui Pascual slapping a two-run double down the right field line after Illinois loaded the bases off errors. Skylynne Ellazar carried the momentum into the next inning, adding another run to the lead, but the Terps couldn’t get themselves any extra separation in the inning despite having the bases loaded and just one out.
Sydney Golden was the starter for the team’s first Big Ten tournament game since 2015, and was dealing early. She let runs across in the first and fifth innings, but for the most part shut down an Illinois offense that she allowed 10 runs to in their previous matchup. She was subbed for Ryan Denhart in the bottom of the sixth inning with the score at 3-2. Then a triple, a passed ball, and a fielder’s choice gave Illinois three runs and the lead heading into the seventh inning.
Maryland was unable to keep its season alive, going 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh inning.
Three things to know
1. Maryland was in it the whole game. Illinois outscored Maryland 38-3 in their series at Illinois April 6-8. It was a totally different story on Thursday, as Maryland appeared completely unfazed by the higher-seeded opponent. Even though they came up short, Maryland was prepared and gave Illinois a run for their money.
2. Skylynne Ellazar’s Maryland career is over. After having perhaps her most productive season since she’s been in College Park, setting career highs in homers and RBIs, the senior’s time with the Terps is officially over. She didn’t go out without a bang though, going 2-for-3 with an RBI in her final game.
3. The Terps have room to grow. After going 11-39-1 last season under Julie Wright, the team made real strides this season towards improvement, this year finishing 18-37 and earning a bid to the Big Ten tournament. While progress may appear minimal, it is a significant step in the right direction for Julie Wright and where this program could be heading.