In its first games at home all season, Maryland softball went a perfect 4-0 at the Maryland Invitational. The Terps (16-11) got great pitching performances from their staff, and the offense picked up timely hits en route to an undefeated weekend.
(Road teams listed first)
Thursday afternoon: UMBC 2, Maryland 9
Junior Kiana Carr tossed a complete game for Maryland, allowing just three hits and two runs to secure her first win of the season.
Maryland struck first after freshman Taylor Okada drew a leadoff walk and put herself into scoring position after stealing second. With two outs in the first frame, freshman Gracie Voulgaris poked a single into right field plating Okada for the first run of the game. The Terps added one more run in the third after Voulgaris worked a walk with the bases juiced, but Maryland stranded three baserunners to end the inning, as Courtney Coppersmith sent senior Bailey Boyd down on strikes.
Coppersmith came into the game as one of the nation’s most dangerous strikeout pitchers, totaling 101 strikeouts through 60 ⅔ innings. However, the Terps made the freshman work, forcing seven walks through six innings, allowing seven hits and seven runs, while striking out six.
The Retrievers tied it up in the top of fourth after scoring on a wild pitch from Carr an RBI single into left field a few batters later.
But in the bottom of the fifth, the Terrapins broke the tie after Boyd sent one over the left field wall for a three-run shot. With a 5-2 lead, the Terps poured on some insurance runs after loading up the bases with no outs in the sixth inning. Okada ripped a double into right field, scoring two to extend the score to 7-2. Maryland added two more in the frame, including another run batted in by Boyd.
Thursday evening: Rhode Island 4, Maryland 6
Rhode Island started things off with a bang, scoring three runs in the first inning all coming from home runs. The leadoff batter, freshman Sami Villareal, hit a solo homer, and a few batters later, freshman Susan Harrison knocked a two-run shot of her own.
Sami Main settled in after the three-run first inning, allowing just one more run in the rest of her outing. The senior finished with 5 ⅓ innings and four earned runs on six hits. Senior Sydney Golden came in to relieve Main in the sixth inning and forced a double play to get out of the inning. Golden went on to toss the final 1 ⅔ innings without allowing a hit and recording one strikeout.
Maryland earned one run back in the bottom of the third after junior Anna Kufta dropped an RBI single into right field but was thrown out trying to extend it into a double, stranding one runner. In the following frame, the Terrapins took the lead, tacking on three runs. Maryland started a two-out rally with a single from freshman Regan Kerr. The freshman was brought into score after sophomore Taylor Wilson hit a rocket off the right field wall. The following batter, redshirt sophomore Micaela Abbatine smacked a two-run shot to put the Terps out in front, 4-3.
The Rams tied it back up in the fifth with another solo shot from Harrison. In the bottom of the inning, though, the Terps answered once again. Okada stole home on a wild pitch to take a 5-4 lead. A few batters later, Boyd ripped a single down the left field line, plating junior Amanda Brashear extending the lead to two runs.
With a 6-4 lead, Golden was able to shut down the Rams offense and secure another victory for Maryland.
Friday afternoon: Bryant 2, Maryland 9
Maryland got off to a quick start once again, plating three runs in the first frame. It all started with a bunt single by Brashear, who later put herself into scoring position by swiping second base. With the junior in scoring position, the Terps tacked on three straight RBI hits coming from the bats of Voulgaris, Boyd and sophomore Sammie Stefan.
The Terps loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning, but were only able to plate one run after a Kufta RBI groundout. In the following inning, Maryland added another run to extend their lead to 5-0 after a solo shot from Boyd.
In the fourth inning, the Terps tacked on four more insurance runs, increasing their lead to 9-0. Two of the runs came on one wild pitch where both Kerr and Brashear came in to steal home.
On the defensive side of things, Carr had another great start. The junior pitched four shutout innings, allowing just one hit. Redshirt freshman Victoria Galvan came in to relieve Carr in the fifth and allowed two runs through two innings to rule out a mercy-rule finish. Freshman Amelia Jarecke came in to close out the game in the seventh, recording three outs to secure the win.
Saturday afternoon: Villanova 5 , Maryland 6
Golden started in the circle for Maryland and tossed 6 ⅓ innings, allowing three earned runs on nine hits. It was smooth sailing until the seventh, when Golden ran into some trouble, resulting in a relief appearance by Main. The Wildcats rallied in the seventh and plated four runs until Main came in. The senior was faced with runners on the corners with one out and a 6-5 lead. Main struck out one and got another to pop out to secure a nail-biting win.
The Terps scored one in the second inning with some small-ball, taking a 1-0 lead. Boyd led things off with single and was able to make it to third on a bunt by Stefan. A few batters later, Abbatine plated Boyd on an RBI groundout to the second baseman.In the third, Maryland added three runs off the bat of Stefan. After a couple of singles from Voulgaris and Boyd, the sophomore brought them in after a blast over the outfield wall.
Villanova scored one run in the fifth from a solo shot off the bat of sophomore Anissa Amarillas. The Wildcats were threatening in the same inning as they had bases loaded, but Golden was able to get out of the jam unscathed.
Maryland added some insurance runs in the sixth. Brashear hit a triple that hit off the top of the right field wall, plating Abbatine. The following batter, Kufta ripped a double down the left field line to score Abbatine, extending the lead to 6-1. As it turned out, those six runs were just enough.
After a bit of a down weekend for the offense in the Stetson Invitational, the Terps were back in the groove this weekend. Maryland had plenty of contributors and it totaled in 28 runs through the four games. Boyd went 7-for-13 with two home runs, seven RBIs and six runs scored, while Abbatine finished 7-for-11 with a homer, three RBIs and five runs scored. Brashear also had a great weekend at the plate, tallying six hits in 14 at-bats while picking up three RBIs and scoring five runs.
“I think that everyone was just feeling comfortable being at home,” Boyd said. “Our first home weekend, we were ready to get after it and we just had some good vibes so I think that really took us through our offense this weekend.”
“We’re doing a better job of working at-bats longer,” Wright said. “Early in the season, we were striking out a bit more than we wanted, and that’s been a focus and how to stay in an at-bat longer, like how to defend and get rid of pitches that you know you can’t handle, and I think we’re just getting better at that, so I think you’re just seeing the results of that.”
In the circle
The Terps received some impressive pitching performances from a number of players this weekend. Maryland allowed just 13 runs, which is the fewest it’s given up on a weekend this season. The standout pitcher was Carr, who picked up her first two wins of the season. The junior tossed 11 total innings and gave up just two earned runs on four hits. She credited her rise balls with keeping hitters off-balance.
“They attacked the zone and they got themselves out of big situations,” Wright said. “I thought they made big pitches in big situations.”
The Terps host one game against the Virginia Cavaliers on Tuesday and then start Big Ten conference play on the weekend, hosting the Minnesota Golden Gophers for three contests.