Maryland softball played its first games of the 2021 season in a Big Ten stadium as the team traveled to Columbus, Ohio over the weekend to take on Ohio State. The Buckeyes and Terrapins both came into the weekend with a 6-6 record and it was a chance for Maryland to take a leap in the Big Ten standings. Unfortunately, Ohio State’s bats were hot for the majority of the series as they took three games out of four.
“Overall we are pretty disappointed with how the weekend went,” said Coach Mike Montgomery. “We needed some extra innings from our pitchers and offensively, we have to get better.
Here is how the weekend went:
Ohio State blanks Maryland; wins game one 5-0
It was a rough start to the weekend as the Terps went up against the ace of Ohio State, freshman pitcher Allison Smith.
Smith was dominant throughout, throwing a complete game shutout, giving up only three hits, two of which came from infielder Taylor Okada, walking one, and striking out eight.
Maryland countered with sophomore Trinity Schlotterbeck as she looked to build off of her strong start to the season. Unfortunately, Schlotterbeck struggled as she could not make it out of the third inning.
Ohio State got the scoring started in the bottom of the second, thanks to two RBI singles from DP Taylor Pack and second baseman Mariah Rodriguez. They were able to plate another run thanks to an RBI groundout from left fielder Tegan Cortelletti.
The Buckeyes added two more in the bottom of the fifth courtesy of a two-run single which came from catcher Sam Hackenbracht, which came off of Maryland pitcher Haley Ellefson. That hit made the score 5-0 and that was the final score.
Maryland uses huge sixth inning to win game one, 8-2
Looking to avoid an 0-2 start to the series, Maryland gave the ball to sophomore pitcher Courtney Wyche.
Like Friday night, Ohio State was able to strike first thanks to a home run by junior outfielder Kaitlyn Coffman in the second inning. The Buckeyes were able to score again in the third inning after outfielder Meggie Otte to make the score 2-0.
Maryland was able to cut the lead to 2-1 when Haley Ellefson golfed a leadoff home run out to left field.
The Terps were able to break the game open in the sixth inning off of Ohio State pitcher Allison Smith, who they struggled mightily against on Friday. The barrage began when Megan Mikami laced a triple out to right-center which tied the game. Maryland then took the lead when Trinity Schlotterbeck was able to reach on an error, and then third baseman Michaela Jones hit a three-run homer giving the Terps a 6-2 lead. Maryland was able to add one more run in the sixth, and another in the 7th, to earn an 8-2 win.
“Michaela has done great as a freshman for us,” said Montgomery. “She has played a lot of innings for us and we expect amazing things from her down the line.”
Courtney Wyche went the distance in the circle for Maryland giving up six hits and only two runs.
Ohio State routs Maryland in game two; 13-3 the final score
Game two of the doubleheader was not as much fun for Maryland was game one was.
Maryland struck first thanks to a three run homer by Haley Ellefson. After that, however, it was all Ohio State. Trinity Schlotterbeck started game two as she tried to put a tough performance from Friday behind her, but was unfortunately unable to do so.
The Buckeyes struck fast and furious in the first several innings. They scored three runs in the bottom of the first thanks to several Maryland errors in the field, and they would not let up. Ohio State plated five more runs in the bottom of the second inning, which included a home run from third baseman Ashley Prange, as well as an RBI triple from second baseman Mariah Rodriguez. It was a tough outing for Schlotterbeck as she was pulled in the third inning after giving up nine earned runs.
The Buckeyes would score four more times in the bottom of the third as well as twice more in the bottom of the fourth. Four out of those five runs were given up by Ellefson. The game was called due to mercy after the top of the fifth with Ohio State winning, 13-3.
Ohio State uses strong fourth inning to win game four; 9-1
Maryland came into the game on Sunday looking to earn a split of the four game series. Courtney Wyche took the ball for Maryland and early on in the game, she settled In nicely.
Ohio State was able to score first in the bottom of the first inning as Wyche threw a wold pitch that allowed Buckeye first baseman Niki Carver to score from third.
Maryland was able to tie the game on an odd play in the second inning. However, the Buckeyes were able to take the lead back in the bottom of the third after Mariah Rodriguez came in to score after center fielder Meggie Otte grounded into a fielder's choice.
Ohio State was able to pour it on in the fourth inning scoring six times. The inning was highlighted by Carver hitting a three run home run out to left field, which made the score 7-1. Ohio State was able to add another run in the fourth inning thanks to an error at first base by Regan Kerr. They added a run in the fifth inning which ended the game by mercy rule.
Three things to know
1. It was a good weekend for Haley Ellefson. Ellefson had just one hit coming into the weekend against Ohio State, but hit two home runs on Saturday. The transfer from Florida totaled three hits in what may be a breakthrough weekend.
“Haley has been making a lot of adjustments, and I think we finally got to see those adjustments in action this weekend,” said Montgomery. “She is learning to control her bat based off of what kinds of pitches she sees.”
2. The pitching staff struggled. After a very good start to the regular season, Maryland’s pitching struggled over the weekend. Trinity Schlotterbeck and Courtney Wyche started all four games, but the Terps gave up five or more runs in three of those starts.
“Trin was rock solid for us at the start of the year,” said Montgomery. “But she struggled this weekend and she knows that. She’ll make some adjustments before next weekend.”
3. The Terps are finally coming home. On Friday, Maryland will play a home game for the first time since May 5, 2019. The total duration between home games for the Terps will be 698 days, after playing none last year. Maryland will play a very good Northwestern team, who is coming off of a four game sweep against Wisconsin.
“We talked about that as a team actually,” said Montgomery. “I think the atmosphere on Friday kind of phased us on Friday and we were kind of starstruck at the beginning of the series. Going home this weekend against the best team in the conference is a challenge we are very excited for. It’s also very exciting for me because I still haven't got to coach a game at home.”