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Maryland softball wins series opener but drops next two vs. Michigan State

The Terps scored 21 runs in the series, but couldn’t slow down the Spartans’ offense.

Julie Wright Maryland softball Photo by Maryland Athletics

Maryland softball won the first game of its weekend series at Michigan State, but lost the next two with a heartbreaker and a run rule. After this series, the Terps fall just below .500 with a record of 18-19.

Game summaries

Friday: Maryland 11, Michigan State 9

The Terps had a 10-0 lead in the fourth inning, but the Spartans put together a comeback, getting within as few as two runs before falling just short.

Maryland’s offense came out firing, scoring four runs in the first inning. Sophomore JoJo McRae led things off with a double and later came in to score off a bunt by junior Amanda Brashear. Junior Anna Kufta plated Brashear on a line drive into right field, then came in to score on a sac fly off the bat of sophomore Sammie Stefan. With two outs in the inning, sophomore Taylor Wilson blooped one into left, scoring senior Bailey Boyd to take a 4-0 lead.

The Terps came back in the second inning and poured on five more runs, extending the lead to 9-0. The big inning came as a result of three hits, including a two-run double by Stefan, and two errors committed by the Spartans. A few innings later, Maryland added another run off a double from redshirt sophomore Micaela Abbatine, plating freshman Regan Kerr.

Senior Sydney Golden started in the circle for Maryland and put down the first nine batters she faced. In the fourth inning with bases loaded, the righty allowed a bases-clearing double to Caitie Ladd, cutting the lead to 10-3. Golden ran into more trouble in the fifth and was relieved by junior Kiana Carr after giving up two more runs. The senior ended her outing with 4 ⅓ innings pitched and allowed six runs on five hits.

The first batter Carr faced sent one over the left field wall for a two-run homer to cut the lead to 10-7. After giving up the big hit, Carr was able to get out of the inning without surrendering another run. The junior also tossed the sixth inning, finishing the game with 1 ⅔ innings pitched with one earned run on two hits.

In the top of the seventh, the Terps added on an insurance run on an RBI single from Kufta to extend the lead to 11-7. In the bottom of the inning, redshirt freshman Victoria Galvan came in to pitch. The Spartans scored two runs on a sac fly and a wild throw to home, coming within two runs. But Galvan was able to hang on and get the last out to secure the win in the first game of the series.

Saturday: Maryland 7, Michigan State 8 (8 innings)

The Spartans walked it off on a sacrifice fly in the eighth to propel them to a 8-7 win after a back-and-forth affair.

Maryland started out hot, scoring four runs on five hits in the first inning. Freshman Gracie Voulgaris roped a RBI double to plate the first run of the ballgame and was followed up by an RBI single from Boyd. The inning was capped off with a Stefan two-run single to give the Terps a 4-0 lead.

Michigan State answered back, scoring three runs in the bottom half of the inning. In the circle for the Terps, Galvan started and tossed three innings, giving up six runs on five hits.

In the third inning, the Terps scored one run off of an error committed by the Spartans, extending their lead to 5-3. But in the bottom half, Michigan State knocked back-to-back homers to jump out to a 6-5 lead.

In the following inning, Maryland tied it back up on an RBI double by Brashear. With the game tied 6-6, Stefan belted a moonshot over the left field scoreboard to give the Terps a 7-6 lead. In the sixth inning with senior Sami Main in the circle, the Spartans put together a couple of hits and an RBI double by Ladd tied it up. Both teams went scoreless in the seventh, resulting in extra innings.

In the eighth, the Terps went down in order and the Spartans made sure to take advantage. Main walked three batters in the frame, loading the bases. With runners on, senior Kelly Zackrison sent a fly ball into center field, allowing the winning run to tag up and cross the plate.

Sunday: Maryland 3, Michigan State 11 (5 innings)

The Spartans broke the game open with a seven-run fourth inning. The big frame propelled Michigan State to win the series as a result of the mercy rule.

The Terps scored one run each in the first and third inning off singles from Kufta and Stefan. In the fourth inning with the game tied 2-2, Wilson ripped a double into center field, plating Voulgaris to take a 3-2 lead.

Golden started for the Terps and pitched well early, but was taken out in the fourth after letting up four runs in the frame. The senior ended the day with 3 ⅓ innings pitched, allowing five earned runs on seven hits. Carr came on in relief and got out of the inning, but not before allowing three more runs, including a two-run homer off the bat of freshman Charla Echols.

Michigan State entered the fifth inning leading 9-3 but looked to end the game early. After two consecutive walks, Carr was taken out for Main, but the senior had the same issue with control. Main walked three straight batters to bring in two runs, giving the Spartans the necessary eight-run cushion for a shortened victory.

At the plate

The Terps’ offense combined for 21 runs, which is the most runs scored in a weekend for Big Ten conference play. Plenty of great performances in the batter’s box contributed to this. Stefan did the most damage at the plate, going 5-for-10 with five RBIs and three runs. The sophomore also belted her fifth homer of the year. McRae, who has stepped up big in the leadoff spot since Taylor Okada went down with an injury, had another great weekend, going 7-for-13 with six runs scored. She was also dangerous on the basepaths, swiping four bases. Kufta went 5-for-11, scoring three runs and racking up two RBIs.

In the circle

Golden was not as dominant as she has been in previous weekends but still managed to go 1-1 in the circle. The senior finished with 11 ⅔ innings pitched, allowing 11 earned runs. The theme of free passes in the circle remained the same this weekend for the pitching staff. Golden, Galvan, Main and Carr combined to issue 18 walks, which resulted in extra opportunities and free runs for the Spartans.

On deck

Next weekend, the Terps will travel to face the Indiana Hoosiers, who are one of the top teams in the Big Ten, sitting at 28-13.