Maryland softball was swept by No. 22 Michigan over the weekend to finish off the season. The Wolverines offense was too much for the Terps to handle, and on the other side of things, Maryland couldn’t pick up the big hits when it needed to.
Michigan clinched the Big Ten regular-season title with the sweep. The Terrapins, meanwhile, finished the season with a 20-31 record, going 4-19 in Big Ten play, which wasn’t good enough to reach the 12-team Big Ten tournament. The 20 wins on the season were the most under coach Julie Wright and the most for Maryland since 2015, but the Terps closed the year on an eight-game losing streak.
Friday: Michigan 6, Maryland 1
The Wolverines struck first in the opening frame, as senior Alex Sobczak grounded a ball up the middle to plate the first two runs of the ballgame. In the second inning, senior Natalie Peters and Sobczak plated runs on sacrifice flies to give Michigan a 4-0 lead.
Terps starter Sydney Golden worked a clean 1-2-3 inning in the third, and it seemed like the momentum was going to swing in favor of the Terps after a leadoff double by freshman Regan Kerr. But the second baseman got caught being too aggressive on the basepaths and was thrown out to clear the bases. Without the threat of anyone on base, the Wolverines got out of the inning easily.
After pitching three consecutive hitless innings, Golden allowed two more runs in the sixth. With two outs and runners on first and second, Peters lined a triple to the left center field wall to extend the lead to 6-0. Golden tossed six innings allowing seven hits for four earned runs, while picking up two strikeouts.
In the bottom of the frame, the Terps’ offense got going. Junior Amanda Brashear led off with a single and was followed up by another single from junior Anna Kufta. A few batter later, sophomore Taylor Wilson worked a walk to load the bases with one out. After a hard-fought at-bat, freshman Gracie Voulgaris fired a 3-2 pitch back at the pitcher, which hit off the hand of sophomore Meghan Beaubien to plate the first run for Maryland. Beaubien exited and was replaced by freshman Alex Storako. The rookie picked up back-to-back outs to get out of the bases loaded jam, limiting the damage to just one run.
In the top of the seventh, junior Kiana Carr came in to pitch for the Terps and worked a scoreless frame. In the bottom of the inning, Kerr led off with a base hit, but Storako recorded three straight outs to secure the Michigan victory.
Saturday: Michigan 8, Maryland 0 (6 innings)
After keeping Michigan scoreless for the first two frames, the Terps had an opportunity to get on the board first in the bottom of the second. Wilson led things off with an infield single and Voulgaris followed up with a walk. Senior Bailey Boyd laid down a bunt to advance the runners to second and third with one out, but Storako sent down the next two batters to get out of the inning unscathed.
In the top of the third, the Wolverines had runners on the corners with two outs. Freshman Lexie Blair took off from first and forced a thrown from Voulgaris that went into the outfield, allowing the runner from third to score with ease, taking a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the frame, sophomore JoJo McRae led off with a single and later stole second to put herself in scoring position. Sophomore Sammie Stefan recorded an infield single to move McRae over to third and gave the Terps runners on the corners with two outs. Storako picked up a huge strikeout on Wilson to get out of another inning to keep the score at 1-0.
Junior Madison Uden led off the fourth and drove a solo shot over the right center field wall to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead. After the homer, senior Sami Main walked back-to-back batters. The runners later advanced on a passed ball, setting up runners on second and third with no outs. Junior Abby Skvarce hit a sacrifice fly into right field to plate one run. The following batter, senior Faith Canfield, sent a ground ball passed a diving Kufta to give the Wolverines a 4-0 lead.
Main started and had a solid outing, tossing 4 ⅓ innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. The senior was taken out in the fifth inning and received a big applause from the fans for what was most likely her last start in a Maryland uniform. Redshirt Victoria Galvan came on in relief and allowed one run to come across, but got out of the jam without further damage..
After a leadoff walk in the sixth inning, Galvan was relieved by Carr. The junior allowed a quick walk and a couple of RBI singles, extending the Wolverines’ lead. With runners on the corners and no outs, senior Mackenzie Nemitz drove in another run on a sacrifice fly to give Michigan an 8-0 lead.
In the bottom of the frame, the Terps were sent down in order, resulting in a shortened victory for Michigan. The loss officially eliminated Maryland from Big Ten tournament contention.
Sunday: Michigan 12, Maryland 3
Golden started in the circle for senior day and tossed three innings. She surrendered three runs, but none were earned, as the Terps committed two total errors. The senior allowed six hits and picked up two strikeouts. Main came on in relief for her final time in a Terps uniform, tossing two innings of three-run ball in the rain. Carr and Galvan finished the game, but not before Michigan had 12 runs on the board.
A Canfield double and Peters single drove in a total of three runs in the top of the second inning, giving Michigan a 3-0 lead. The Wolverines threatened in the fourth, as Main walked the bases loaded, but she escaped trouble to keep the score the same.
In the bottom of the frame, the Terps picked up their first hit of the game on a well-placed bunt by Brashear. Kufta got hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out. Stefan sent a long fly ball to the warning track, but it was caught for the second out of the inning. With two outs, Wilson belted a hard line drive, but it was snagged by Wolverines shortstop Natalia Rodriguez.
In the top of the fifth, Michigan tacked on three more runs. The Wolverines opened up the inning with back-to-back singles, and the runners were moved over on a sacrifice bunt. One run came in on a wild pitch and the other was brought in on a single by sophomore Lou Allan. The inning was capped off by a Peters RBI groundout, giving Michigan a 6-0 lead.
The Terps answered back in the bottom of the inning after Voulgaris, Boyd and Kerr recorded three consecutive singles to load the bases. With no outs, redshirt sophomore Micaela Abbatine drilled a single up the middle, plating Voulgaris and Boyd. McRae and Brashear drew back-to-back walks to bring in another run and cut it to 6-3. With the bases still loaded and no outs, though, Storako collected three straight strikeouts to get Michigan out of the inning.
Carr came in to pitch the sixth for Maryland and recorded a quick out, but then allowed two walks and a single to load the bases. Rodriguez hit a two-run single to knock Carr out of the game and bring in Galvan. The righty walked the first batter she saw to load the bases. Peters dropped an infield single to score one, and Blair added another run on a sacrifice fly to give Michigan a 10-3 lead.
In the seventh, Boyd was taken out and received a big ovation from the fans as she came off the field for the final time. The Wolverines tacked on two more runs on four hits in the top of the inning to extend their lead to 12-3. In the bottom of the frame, the Terps put one on base, but couldn’t do anything with it.
At the plate
The Terrapins were able to get hits on the board, but they were never able to pick up the clutch ones. Maryland had a tough time with runners on, hitting a combined 7-for-40 and leaving 21 on base. In the final game of the series, the Terps turned it around a bit, scoring more runs than they did in the first two games of the series. Brashear went 4-for-8 during the weekend with one RBI and one run scored.
In the circle
The Terps struggled to contain one of the best offenses in the Big Ten. Maryland allowed 26 runs on 35 hits, and, 20 of the 26 runs were earned. Golden tossed nine total innings and allowed four earned runs, while totaling four strikeouts.
Golden was Maryland’s ace for the entirety of the season and pitched the most innings on the team by far. The righty finished the season with a 12-12 record and a 3.78 ERA through 140 ⅔ innings. She also tallied a team-high 63 strikeouts.
Main finished the year with 10 starts and had the most relief appearances on the team with 19. The senior posted a 5.61 ERA in 87 ⅓ innings, while totaling 34 strikeouts.
Boyd went from a .188 batting average last season to the second best on the team this year with a .308 mark, leading the team with 48 hits. Boyd also finished with three home runs, 20 RBIs, 25 runs scored and 10 stolen bases.