After a 3-3 opening weekend, Maryland softball returned to Florida to face off against the Purdue Boilermakers and the Iowa Hawkeyes this past weekend.
The Terps were coming off of an impressive split of three doubleheaders against Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and continued to show big improvements by also splitting the second weekend of the season, 3-3.
In the second weekend of the season, Maryland went 3-3, moving its season record to 6-6.
Here’s how each game went.
Terps’ bats explode in the fifth, defeat Purdue in game one of doubleheader, 4-1
In game one of the doubleheader Thursday, the scoring chances were very limited for both teams, thanks to stellar pitching by Purdue’s Ashley Peters and Maryland’s Trinity Schlotterbeck.
Purdue got the first major scoring chance of the game in the fifth inning when it got a two-out double from shortstop Rachel Becker, which brought in a run and put Maryland in a 1-0 hole.
In the bottom half of the inning, Maryland’s bats lit up. A one-out double down the left field line by outfielder Jojo McRae tied the game, and a two-out, two-run double by outfielder Jaeda McFarland gave the Terps a 3-1 lead. Maryland added another run in the inning to take a 4-1 lead, which held as the final score.
Schlotterbeck pitched another outstanding game, going the distance and allowing just the lone run. She now has led the Terps to all of their wins this season with an impressive 0.72 ERA.
Purdue walks off in 7th, wins game two, 2-1
Coming into game two looking for the sweep, Maryland gave the ball to transfer pitcher Jennifer Brann.
Both teams again were locked in a pitching and defensive battle early on. The first offense came in the top of the sixth inning when Maryland’s first baseman Regan Kerr tripled to deep centerfield to plate the game's first run, giving the Terps the late 1-0 lead.
Brann was great through the first six innings for Maryland, as she scattered just four hits. In the bottom of the seventh, Brann surrendered a leadoff triple, opening the door for Purdue.
Pitcher Haley Ellefson was brought on for relief and she allowed hits on back-to-back pitches, which allowed Purdue to tie the game at one and put the winning run on. Shortstop Rachel Becker came up for Purdue with the bases loaded and one out, lined a single to left and gave Purdue a 2-1 victory.
Maryland uses big fourth inning to beat Purdue, 8-1
As the Terps looked to win their first series of the year on Friday morning, Maryland turned to sophomore pitcher Courtney Wyche, and she delivered a terrific performance.
The Terps got on the board quickly. In the bottom of the first following a leadoff single by Kerr, McFarland laced a triple to give the Terps the early 1-0 lead.
After the Terps added another run in the first inning, Purdue responded in the fourth, thanks to an error by Maryland shortstop Ruby Butler, cutting the lead to 2-1.
Maryland’s bats, however, exploded in the fourth inning. The Terps strung together seven hits and five runs in the inning as they took a 7-1 lead off of Purdue starter right fielder Ashley Peters. The big inning included four extra-base hits from second baseman Taylor Okada, infielder Taylor Liguori, infielder Sammie Stefan, and right fielder Jojo McRae.
Maryland scratched another run across in the bottom of the sixth thanks to an RBI single from McFarland, making the score 8-1.
Wyche was brilliant for the Terps as she spun a complete game, allowing eight hits, and just one run.
Iowa walks off in the eighth, wins game one, 1-0
It was another game filled with pitching and defense for the Terps as they opened up their doubleheader on Saturday morning.
Schlotterbeck was superb once again for Maryland as she put forth another great outing. But Iowa starting pitcher Allison Doocy was just as good. The Terps were limited to four hits during the entire game while the Hawkeyes had eight.
The Terps had no answer for Doocy as she was dominant throughout the game. After Kerr reached second base in the first inning, the Terps couldn’t get a runner in scoring position until the eighth inning.
In the eighth inning, Maryland put a runner on third with one out, but a flyout by McRae and a strikeout by Kerr was not enough to get Butler home.
In the bottom of the eighth with two outs, Iowa second baseman Aralee Bogar was able to steal home, which was the only run of the game.
Kerr’s home-run gives Maryland a 3-2 win in game two
In game two of the doubleheader, Maryland worked to split the day’s games, turning to transfer Brann.
The game started like most have this year, with both teams struggling to create scoring chances.
The fourth inning is where Iowa broke the deadlock by plating two runs, thanks to an RBI single from Iowa catcher Lindy Milkowski and a sac-fly from designated player Kit Rocco.
Maryland responded in the bottom of the fifth. First, outfielder Micaela Abbatine came through with an RBI single to score Kerr. The next batter, third baseman Micaela Jones, laced a triple into the opposite field to score Abbatine and tie the game.
After Brann retired the Hawkeyes in order in the top of the sixth, Kerr came up to the plate and launched her first career home run over the wall in right to give the Terps a 3-2 lead.
Despite giving up a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh, Brann retired the next three Hawkeye hitters in order to give the Terps a 3-2 win, improving their record to 6-5.
Defense costs Maryland in the weekend finale; Iowa wins 4-3
Maryland softball looked to take two out of three from Iowa on Sunday morning as it sent Wyche to the mound.
One of Maryland’s many improvements for the 2021 season has been its defense. The Terps have cleaned up a lot of the errors they were making in 2020. But on Sunday, some of those issues came back to haunt them.
The errors began early for the Terps as Butler committed a throwing error on the first batter of the game. Iowa was able to cash the error in on an RBI single and then scored later in the inning off of a passed ball by Maryland catcher Gracie Voulgaris.
The Terps managed to respond, though. In the top of the second after two one-out walks, McRae laced a triple into left centerfield, which brought home both walks and tied the game at two. But Maryland couldn’t bring McRae home after a strikeout and a groundout.
In the bottom of the third, Iowa got another baserunner from a Maryland error and an RBI single by catcher Lindy Milkowski, handing the Terps a 3-2 deficit.
Taylor Liguori had a two-out RBI in the top of the sixth to tie the game and it remained tied at three until the bottom of the eighth, when Milkowski came through again for the Hawkeyes, this time with the game-winning RBI single.
Three things to know
1. Jojo McRae is heating up. After not recording a hit in the Terp’s opening weekend, McRae picked up four hits over the weekend, including a big triple in the final game of the weekend. She also picked up five RBIs.
2. Trinity Schlotterbeck continues to shine. Schlotterbeck put together a terrific first weekend, and this weekend proved that she is continuing to develop nicely. Schlotterbeck pitched twice and gave up just one earned run in fourteen and two-thirds innings. She is proving that she could be the ace for the Maryland pitching staff this season.
3. Regan Kerr succeeded in the leadoff spot. It was a big weekend for the junior from Phoenix. Kerr recorded six hits and recorded her first career home run, which proved to be the game-winner in game two of the doubleheader against Iowa.