After the first two games of the Texas Classic, Maryland softball made a comeback, scoring its first runs and winning their first game of the season.
The Terps took on Colorado State Friday, followed by Lamar and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Saturday. The team ended the first weekend of the season with a record of 1-4, falling to every team in the Classic except Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Maryland vs. Colorado State
It took until their third game of the season, but the Terps finally scored their first run of the season against Colorado State. However, they were still outmatched by the Rams, falling 5-1.
Maryland struck first in this one, taking its first lead of the season in the second inning on an RBI single from freshman second baseman Taylor Liguori. Regan Kerr came around to score after stealing second base — the team’s first of the season.
Freshman Courtney Wyche pitched well early on, using an upper-60s fastball to silence the Rams. She surrendered just one hit through the first three frames despite every hitter putting the ball in play, getting help from her defense often — especially from junior left fielder JoJo McRae.
But while the Terps were able to break through early against Colorado State pitcher Jessica Jarecki, the bats fell dead the rest of the night. Over the final five innings, the senior allowed just two hits, striking out six while keeping the Terps off the board.
Jarecki’s dominance gave the Rams offense time to wake up, which it finally did in the fourth inning. After senior third baseman Corina Gamboa led off the frame with a single, she advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from fellow senior Ashley Ruiz.
With a runner in scoring position and just one out, it was only a matter of time before Colorado State got on the scoreboard for the first time on the night. And freshman Danielle Serna came through in the big spot, tying the game with an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
And in the fifth, the wheels officially came off for Maryland. Wyche went relatively unscathed through four innings, but pitching to contact finally caught up with her.
With a runner on second base and one out, center fielder Ashley Michelena picked a perfect time for her first — and only — hit of the night, knocking an RBI triple to right-center to take the lead for the Rams.
Senior pitcher Kiana Carr came in to stop the bleeding, but she was lit up immediately. Gamboa, the first batter she faced, blasted a two-RBI double, extending the Rams’ lead to three.
Freshman Trinity Schlotterback came in for Carr and struggled to find the zone, walking the first two batters she saw. The second free pass came with the bases loaded, giving Colorado State a 5-1 lead which would hold for the remainder of the night despite a seventh-inning rally from the Terps.
Maryland vs. Lamar
The Terps — who had been held to just one run through their first 18 innings of the year — exploded at the plate in their first game of the day against Lamar, pushing six runs across the plate. But it wasn’t enough to down the Cardinals, as Mark Montgomery’s team fell 7-6 for its fourth-straight loss to start the season.
Outside of the start to the Colorado State game, Maryland’s pitching staff has been unable to limit opposing offenses whatsoever in the young season. And Schlotterback — pitching for the third time in as many days — continued to fall apart on the mound.
The freshman was knocked around instantly, giving up two runs in the first inning, though she didn’t have much help from her defense. And after a clean second frame, she was hit hard in the third as the Cardinals went through their batting order a second time.
With runners on second and third and one out, sophomore infielder Kristen Meyer brought in her team’s second run of the game on a sacrifice fly. While it seemed like Schlotterback could get out of the inning without too much damage, Lamar had other plans.
Junior catcher Hannah Carpenter launched a two-run homer to left field, extending the Cardinals’ lead to 5-0 after three and continuing the disastrous start to Schlotterback’s Maryland career.
But the freshman pitcher’s team tried to pick her up as best it could, as the Terps responded with a four-run fourth to cut the deficit to one.
After some sloppy defense from Lamar, junior infielders Sammie Stefan and Taylor Wilson each came through with RBI singles, giving Maryland its first runs of the game. And with two outs and two on, sophomore catcher Gracie Voulgaris cleared the bases with a two-run double. All four runs against Lamar pitcher Aaliyah Ruiz were credited as unearned.
The Terps continued their push at the plate, actually taking the lead after a Liguori RBI single and a Voulgaris RBI double in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively. After falling behind five runs, Maryland scored six unanswered to take its first lead of the game.
But as quickly as they came back, the Terps collapsed in the sixth. Schlotterback had thrown back-to-back scoreless frames, but in crunch time, the Cardinals made her pay on the mound.
After a leadoff single by Meyer, Schlotterback picked up two outs in a row on a fielder’s choice and a flyout. But senior left fielder Mackenzie Futrell put the finishing touch on the freshman’s day to forget, blasting a two-run shot to left that would serve as the eventual game-winner after Maryland was silenced in the seventh inning.
Maryland vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
After starting out the season with four consecutive losses, Maryland was finally able to find the win column against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The Terps struggled to keep opposing offenses at bay throughout the Texas Classic, but they were able to limit the Islanders in a 3-1 victory. Though it looked like it might be more of the same for Maryland after allowing Texas A&M-CC to score early in this one.
Sophomore pitcher Amelia Jarecke started out in the circle and walked leadoff hitter Alexandria Torres, which would back to hurt the Terps early on. The Islanders then loaded the bases with a bunt and another walk, putting themselves in prime position to score.
Haley Morse ripped a hit up the middle past the reach of several Maryland players, allowing Torres to run home to put the Islanders up 1-0.
And after leaving runners stranded on second base in the third and fourth innings, the Terps finally managed to put some runs on the board in the sixth.
Senior infielder Anna Kufta starting things off with a single, and a few batters later, pinch hitter Shelby Younkin rocketed a ball along the third base line, allowing both her teammates to score and put Maryland ahead, 2-1.
The Terps continued to keep the Islanders off the board before further adding to their lead in the final inning.
Sophomore Jenika Lombrana came in and let two batters reach after consecutive singles, and a wild pitch moved them into scoring position for Amanda Brashear with one out.
The senior outfielder hit a bouncer to third base with the infield playing in, giving the Islanders a chance to make a play at the plate. But Campbell Kline beat the throw, sliding into home ahead of the throw to give Maryland a much-needed insurance run.
Jarecke was able to shut the door on the Islanders to close it out, wrapping up a seven-inning, five-strikeout performance with the team’s first win of the Montgomery era.
Three things to know
1. Maryland had a rough start to the season. The Terps saw a mere total of five hits across the first three games of the season. It took until the fifth game against Texas A&M-CC for the team to hit effectively and score enough runs to keep up with their competition. The Terps scored one run in 21 innings before scoring four times in one inning against Lamar. And overall, Maryland was outscored 38-8 in the Texas Classic.
2. Montgomery is testing out different arms. Against Colorado State, Montgomery switched out freshman Courtney Wyche, senior Kiana Carr and Schlotterbeck, trying to find a rhythm for the team. But for the last two games of the weekend, head coach Mark Montgomery didn’t switch pitchers, sticking with freshman Trinity Schlotterbeck against Lamar and sophomore Amelia Jarecke against Texas A&M-CC.
3. Gracie Voulgaris was a bright spot for the Terps. Hitting three RBIs and scoring one run over the first five games of the season, the sophomore catcher was a key player. Defensively, Voulgaris was strong, catching a bunt from Texas A&M-CC that helped ensure Maryland’s first win of the season.