After starting perfect at home with a 4-0 performance over the weekend, Maryland softball came up short against Virginia on Tuesday, as the Cavaliers pulled away late for a 7-1 win in College Park.
Maryland was without freshman second baseman Taylor Okada for the second game in a row, and the absence of the Terps’ most dangerous hitter this season (she’s posting a .426/.455/.574 line) was clearly felt. The offense mustered just four hits, all coming in the first two innings against freshman Aly Rayle. Rookie southpaw Clare Zureich pitched the final five frames, holding Maryland hitless.
Junior Kiana Carr started in the circle for the Terps, tossing four innings and allowing three runs on five hits. She was impressive through four, but surrendered the lead and was pulled with no outs in the fifth. Maryland’s bullpen couldn’t keep the game close, combining to allow six runs.
Maryland’s only run came in its very first at-bat. After an 11-pitch battle, sophomore outfielder JoJo McRae slapped a soft liner down the left-field line, where it fell to the grass and scooted past the left fielder. McRae zipped all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, her first homer of the season, to give Maryland an early lead.
Virginia tied the score on a sacrifice fly in the top of the second, then threw out Taylor Wilson trying to score on a Micaela Abbatine double in the bottom of the frame. The Cavaliers threatened again in the top of the third, placing runners on second and third, but Carr got out of the jam as Anna Kufta snagged a liner at third base.
The 1-1 score held until the top of the fifth. Virginia’s Tori Gilbert led off the inning with a double off the top of the center-field wall, then Hayley Busby knocked a two-run homer to right-center. Freshman Victoria Galvan entered for Carr, and after she recorded two outs, the Cavaliers added another run with a single and double to make it 4-1.
Virginia then broke the game open in the sixth. After Galvan started the frame with a walk and hit-by-pitch, Sami Main entered and surrendered a three-run homer to Gilbert, bringing the Cavaliers’ lead to 7-1. She escaped without further damage, but the game was already out of reach for Maryland’s quiet offense.
Maryland closes nonconference play with a 16-12 record, and even with the loss, it’s still just two wins away from matching its season total from last year (which was already its most under head coach Julie Wright). The Terps’ first six Big Ten games are all at home, starting with this weekend’s series against Minnesota.