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Maryland softball drops midweek doubleheader at Rutgers

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The Terps led in both games, but blew a pair of late leads.

Julie Wright Maryland softball Photo by Maryland Athletics

Maryland softball dropped both games of its midweek doubleheader against Rutgers on Tuesday afternoon. The Terps led in both games, but ultimately weren’t able to hold off the Scarlet Knights’ offense. Maryland falls to 20-25 overall and 4-13 in the Big Ten with the pair of losses.

Game 1: Maryland 1, Rutgers 4

It was a pitchers’ duel until the sixth inning, where Rutgers poured on three runs to take its first lead of the game.

Senior Sydney Golden started in the circle for the Terps and was cruising. The Maryland ace threw four hitless innings before allowing the first hit and run of the game in the fifth. Golden finished the day with five innings pitched and surrendered just one run on two hits.

With two outs and a runner on second in the third inning, junior Anna Kufta laced an RBI single into center field to give the Terps an early 1-0 lead. But the Scarlet Knights tied the game in the fifth frame. With runners on first and second and two outs, freshman Penelope Russ hit an RBI single into center field. The Terps got bailed out of the inning after freshman Gracie Voulgaris made an impressive throw from her knees to catch senior Nicolette Anico stealing second.

In the bottom of the sixth, senior Sami Main came in to relieve Golden. Rutgers got a runner in scoring position in a hurry, after senior Jess Hughes hit a single and stole second with one out. The following batter, freshman Aleah Marra, plated Hughes on a double to left center field. With one out in the inning, Main issued two consecutive walks to load the bases. Junior Nicole Bowman poked a single down the left field line, allowing two runners to score and giving the Scarlet Knights a 4-1 lead. Main was able to bounce back and record two straight outs to limit the damage.

Trailing 4-1 in the top of the seventh, the Terrapins couldn’t get anything going against freshman Corah Price. The rookie was dominant, tossing a complete game while picking up six strikeouts and allowing just one unearned run on five hits.

Game 2: Maryland 6, Rutgers 7 (8 innings)

The second game of the doubleheader was very similar to the first. The Terps had an early lead and received another solid outing from their starter, but in the end, the Scarlet Knights came out on top once again. In the bottom of the eighth, freshman Katie Wingert was swarmed by her teammates at the plate after drilling a walk-off home run off the left field foul pole to cap off the two-game sweep.

In the first inning, The Terps jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by sophomore Taylor Wilson. In the following inning, redshirt sophomore Micaela Abbatine recorded a two-out single to put herself on base. Freshman Regan Kerr knocked a triple down the first base line, allowing for Abbatine to come all the way around to score.

Leading 2-0 in the top of the fifth, the Terps broke things open on a Sammie Stefan grand slam. The sophomore’s laser over the left field wall gave Maryland a 6-0 lead.

On the defensive side of things, redshirt freshman Victoria Galvan got the start in the circle. Similar to Golden in the first game, Galvan tossed four hitless innings before allowing three runs in the fifth. The righty finished her outing with a season-high 5 ⅓ innings pitched and allowed three earned runs on five hits.

“[Golden and Galvan] were doing a good job of hitting spots,” head coach Julie Wright said. “Letting their ball move, working off-speed, and tying up Rutgers’ hands. I thought they did a really good job of keeping those hitters off-balance.”

After Rutgers cut it to 6-3, the Scarlet Knights came back in the sixth to score three more runs. With one out and runners on second and third, sophomore Erin Collins dropped a two-run single into right field. After this at-bat, Galvan was taken out for junior Kiana Carr, who was placed into a tough situation. The first batter the junior faced hit a ground ball to senior Bailey Boyd, which bounced off the shortstop and went into the outfield to allow the tying run to come into score. With one out and a runner on second, the Terps caught a break when the runner on second left early, resulting in the second out of the inning. The next batter popped out to Wilson and got the Terps out of a rough inning with the game tied, 6-6.

The teams went into extras, but Maryland’s offense went quiet. Carr was able to hold off Rutgers until the eighth, when the Scarlet Knights ultimately walked it off.

“It’s very frustrating. The team is super frustrated about that, it’s not the way you want a game to go,” Wright said. “Working so hard throughout a game and then giving it up at the end. This team’s trying really hard, we just have to really figure out ways to close it at the end.”

On deck

The Terps will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, this weekend to take on the Cornhuskers. Nebraska is currently 15-27 (4-11 Big Ten) and it will be a crucial series that will affect the chances of getting in the Big Ten tournament. The weekend series starts Friday at 6:30 p.m ET.