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Maryland softball goes 2-3 at Trojan Classic to start 2019 season

The Terps beat Murray State twice, but couldn’t keep up with Alabama or Troy.

julie wright maryland softball Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

In the first weekend of the 2019 season, Maryland softball finished 2-3 at the Trojan Classic in Troy, Alabama. Overall, the Terps were outscored 29-13 and were run ruled twice, but still showed some positives and came away with two victories.

Game summaries

Editor’s note: “road” teams are listed first

Friday afternoon: Maryland 6, Murray State 3

The Terps jumped out to an early lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI double by freshman catcher Gracie Voulgaris and a two-run shot by sophomore first baseman Sammie Stefan, and they were able to hold off the Racers for the rest of the game.

In addition to Maryland’s steady offense, the Terps also received very impressive pitching performances from senior Sami Main and sophomore transfer Victoria Galvan. Main started the game in the circle, pitching three innings and allowing three runs. Galvan was brought into a tough situation with no outs and runners on second and third in the fourth, but Galvan was able to work out of the jam by recording three straight outs without letting up a run, keeping Maryland ahead 4-3. Galvan finished off the game tossing four innings, recording one strikeout and only allowing two hits, while picking up the win.

The Terps possessed a 4-3 lead after the fourth inning and added one run each in the sixth and seventh. In the final inning, the Racers put a runner in scoring position but weren’t able to do anything with it, as the Terps secured their first win of the season.

Friday evening: Maryland 3, Troy 4

For the most part, it was pitching duel between the Terrapins and Trojans. It wasn’t until the fifth and sixth innings that both offenses got going.

Senior Sydney Golden started in the circle and was cruising until the fifth. Golden got into a bases-loaded jam and Trojans infielder Madeline Porter cleared the bases with a double that hit off the center field wall to extend Troy’s lead to 4-0. Head coach Julie Wright was forced to bring in junior transfer Kiana Carr, who was able to get out of the inning without surrendering another run. Golden finished with 4.1 innings pitched, while recording two strikeouts and letting up four runs. Carr tossed 1.1 innings and did not give up any hits.

It was a similar story for the Trojans’ starting pitcher, Leanna Johnson, who was mowing down the Terps’ hitters until the top of the sixth inning. Entering the sixth, Johnson had only allowed two hits, while racking up seven strikeouts. With runners on first and second, junior Anna Kufta turned on the first pitch she saw and drove it over the left field wall to cut the deficit to 4-3. A few batters later, Stefan hit a two-out double and it seemed like Maryland was going to keep the rally alive.

The Trojans had different ideas. Troy brought in Kynsley Rae Blasingame to shut down the Terps’ offense. Blasingame went on to pitch the remaining 1.1 innings of the game, without allowing another hit, denying Maryland’s comeback hopes.

Saturday afternoon: No. 9 Alabama 10, Maryland 0 (5 innings)

The Terps couldn’t get anything going against the No. 9 team in the nation as they lost in five innings. Maryland was only able to tally two hits in the game against Alabama pitcher Sarah Cornell, who pitched the entire game, racking up five strikeouts in the win.

The Terrapins utilized four different pitchers in an effort to slow down the Crimson Tide. Golden started the game in the circle but was pulled in the second inning after being responsible for seven runs scored, even though only three were earned. She was relieved by Carr, who only faced a few batters and then was taken out for Galvan after letting up two more runs. Galvan pitched 2.2 innings, allowing only two hits and one run. In the fifth, freshman Amelia Jarecke made her college debut, tossing a relatively quick inning without surrendering a hit.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Terps couldn’t plate a run, forcing the game to be called early and resulting in their second loss of the year.

Saturday evening: Maryland 1, Troy 10 (5 innings)

The Trojans pounced on the Terps early and Maryland was never able to recover, resulting in another game being called after just five frames.

The Trojans put up five runs in the first inning off Main. The senior pitched 2.1 innings, allowing seven hits and giving up five earned runs. Galvan was brought in to finish the third inning and got just two outs, allowing three earned runs. Jarecke was brought in for the fourth and finished without allowing a hit.

The Terrapins recorded seven hits, but they weren’t able to get enough timely knocks. Their one run came in the second inning from a RBI single by sophomore Shelby Younkin.. Poor defense helped this game get out of hand, as Maryland committed three errors, resulting in prolonged innings and two unearned runs.

Sunday afternoon: Murray State 2, Maryland 3 (8 innings)

With runners on the corners and two outs in the eighth inning, Anna Kufta ripped a two-run walk-off double, ending the Trojan Classic with a bang.

The Terps were trailing 1-0 until the fifth inning, when Voulgaris tied things up with an RBI single. Voulgaris had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with one RBI.

The score remained 1-1 until the eighth inning, in which a runner was placed on second to start the frame. Murray State used a sacrifice bunt and RBI groundout to take a 2-1 lead. Maryland looked doomed when Micaela Abbatine was picked off and Taylor Okada grounded out. But Taylor Wilson and Regan Kerr singled to keep the Terps alive before Kufta lifted them to victory.

Golden had a great day, tossing the full eight innings and only allowing one earned run. She surrendered five hits and no walks, striking out two batters.

Three takeaways

Kufta starts hot

Junior Anna Kufta is off to a great start to the season, hitting .357 and leading the team in doubles (3), runs scored (3), and RBIs (6). Several of the hits came in game-changing situations, especially the walk-off double Sunday. Kufta’s bat played an important role in the Terps’ offense this weekend and it will be important for upcoming games.

Freshmen make immediate impacts

One freshman that had a huge impact this weekend was catcher Gracie Voulgaris. Voulgaris hit an outstanding .417 in 12 plate appearances, while recording two RBIs. Fellow rookie Taylor Okada was put into the leadoff spot in four out of the five games but struggled a bit, hitting .235. Another impressive performance came from freshman Regan Kerr, who only had eight at-bats but collected four hits. And Amelia Jarecke didn’t allow a hit in her first two college innings. Even though this is a very small sample size, the freshman looked pretty good on the field.

Pitching platoon

The Terps used five different pitchers this weekend, recording a team total 5.13 ERA. The staff struggled with control, issuing 22 walks (to put that into perspective, the Maryland offense only drew seven walks). The Terrapins used two different starters this weekend, seniors Sydney Golden and Sami Main. Those two combined to pitch 18.2 of the team’s 30 innings, and they surrendered 16 of the 22 earned runs given up this weekend. It will be interesting to see if there are any changes made to the starting pitchers going forward.

On deck

The Terps will be competing in the Houston Classic next weekend, opening up against Nicholls State and Houston on Friday. Maryland will also take on UL-Monroe and Nevada during the weekend.