Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
In the final matchup of a frustrating weekend for the Terrapins, the Minnesota Golden Gophers will put Maryland to the test for the second time.
The teams faced off in their respective season openers on Friday afternoon, a close game that showed Maryland’s resilience.
In that game, the Terrapins came back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it up and managed to hold off the Gophers until the bottom of the seventh, when they scored the run needed to defeat Maryland.
For the rest of the weekend, Maryland’s defense faltered in games against Colorado State.
This included a morale-breaking 14-5 loss to Colorado State immediately following the loss to Minnesota. After a strong performance against the Gophers, the Rams took advantage of the Terrapins’ fatigue and put several runs on the board early in the game.
Maryland played better against the Rams on Saturday, but still lost 6-3 after Colorado State scored three runs in the seventh inning. The ability to come back has been a theme for the Terrapins, who put runs on the board against the Gophers and the Rams in relatively short amounts of time.
If the Terps can capitalize on their ability to make big plays and emphasize producing runs from loaded bases, the second meeting against the Gophers may end better for Maryland.
After a weekend of losses, the Terrapins’ self confidence may be a challenge against the No. 16 Gophers, who had an outstanding start against the non-ranked teams at the Texas Invitational.
Of course, the game is about more than just mentality.
Over the course of the weekend, some clarity has been gained about who on Maryland and Minnesota’s rosters will be standouts this season.
The Gophers, who have nine new roster additions this season, only kept the same position for one player — senior pitcher and utility player Sara Groenewegen.
Although Groenewegen did not pitch in the game against Maryland, she pitched against Colorado State and allowed only four hits and struck out seven batters.
New faces to the circle include freshman Amber Fiser and senior transfer Tori Finucane. Finucane was particularly fiery in the Gophers’ first game against Maryland, striking out eight batters in 5.1 innings.
Sophomore Ari Jarvis gave a good effort on the pitcher’s mound for Maryland in the game against Minnesota. Jarvis allowed only one run and struck out four in 3.2 innings.
For the Terps, offense is a strong point, led this weekend by senior Kristina Dillard, junior Skylynne Ellazar and freshman Anna Kufta.
Dillard and Ellazar were the team’s leading hitters last year and seem poised to continue the trend.
Kufta was anticipated to be a new anchor on Maryland’s lineup, and has proved herself so far in the team’s first three games.
Kufta and fellow freshman Amanda Brashear went for a combined 5-for-7 in the game against the Gophers and Kufta hit her first career home run against Colorado State.
While Minnesota has had a more successful opening weekend so far than Maryland, the Terrapins are looking to bite back after Friday’s close loss.
Both teams have had grueling weekends with four games in 24 hours, and the final game of the invitational will challenge both teams’ endurance.
Edited by Max Marcilla
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