After dropping both games during the first day of the Texas Invitational, the now 0-3 Maryland Terrapins are slated to face the Texas Longhorns at the end of the day on Saturday.
The fast-paced dynamic of the Texas Invitational with two straight days of double-headers will challenge both the Terrapins and the hosting Longhorns in Saturday’s matchup.
Texas has won its last eight games played in its annual invitational on its own field. This year, however, the team is set to play against teams it has little experience playing.
The Terrapins and the Longhorns have only met once before. That meeting came in 2007, a game that ended in a close 3-2 Maryland win.
While both teams have different rosters than they did 10 years ago, Texas has maintained its veteran head coach Connie Clark. Maryland’s coaching staff has undergone several shake-ups in the same timespan, but has stabilized for now with head coach Julie Wright beginning her second season.
This weekend is certainly somewhat of a test for Wright and her team, and the game against Texas, who went 38-16 last season and 24-5 at home, will be just one part of that.
On Friday, the Longhorns and the Terrapins both faced Minnesota and Colorado State. Both teams fell to the Golden Gophers, but there were discrepancies in the team’s play against Colorado State.
The Longhorns crushed the Rams 8-0 in their season opener. On the other hand, the Terrapins suffered a 14-5 loss to leave them with a pair of opening day losses.
In the Terrapins season opener against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Maryland rallied to tie up the game at 2-2, only to lose in the bottom of the seventh on a walk-out single.
The Longhorns, who played the Gophers in their second games of the day, were also topped by the No. 16 ranked team in a 5-2 loss.
Despite holding onto its program-long winning streak for season openers in Friday’s first game against Colorado State, Texas couldn’t keep up the momentum for the second part of the doubleheader.
Texas suffered similar problems to Maryland during the game against Minnesota, struggling to capitalize on loaded bases.
However, the Longhorn’s signature is winning from behind. Texas won 25 games combined in the 2015 and 2016 seasons after it fell behind at any point.
The pressure to effectively produce runs will be on during the Longhorn-Terrapin matchup, with both teams eager to put runs on the board.
The Longhorns, who have a strong pinch-hitting squad led by sophomore Bekah Alcozer and seniors Taylor McAllister and Mickenzi Krpec, will look to utilize their talents in the lineup.
Alcozer in particular may pose a serious threat to the Terrapins. She finished 2016 with a .462 batting average, leading the team by a large margin.
Up to bat for Maryland will likely be Anna Kufta, a star freshman whose performance in Friday’s games predicts a successful season. Kufta hit her first career home run in the Colorado State game. She is likely to be joined by regular pinch hitters junior Skylynne Ellazar and senior Kristina Dillard.
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