Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.
Maryland’s Friday loss to Butler in the Terrapins’ first game of the Mizzou Tournament hinged on one three-run inning for the Bulldogs.
The 3-2 defeat came late in the game, as the Terrapins defense kept the Bulldogs scoreless until the sixth inning.
After losing four of their first eight games on run rule, the Terrapins have not lost a single game by a margin of more than three points since their upset of then No. 1 Florida.
Prior to this weekend’s tournament, head coach Julie Wright said that pitchers Hannah Dewey and Madison Martin “have really stepped up in their roles.”
“I think the pitchers are doing a better job keeping the ball in the middle of the plate,” Wright said about the defensive progress.
They maintained that reliability against the Bulldogs in a tight defensive matchup that challenged both teams’ offense to make productive plays.
Dewey took the circle today, starting things off for the Terps in the bottom of the first after a fruitless turn at bat.
Although Butler loaded the bases in their first attempt to score, two groundouts and a strikeout kept the Bulldogs at bay.
Quick Maryland outs in the top of the second gave the Bulldogs another chance to put some early runs on the board.
Up to bat, the Bulldogs got Katelyn Cahill to first base on the only Maryland error of the game, but the opportunity to score was rapidly shut down with a double play from freshman Anna Kufta. The third baseman caught a lineout, sending it over to Jordan Aughinbaugh at first to end the inning for the Bulldogs.
Despite nail-biting plays that brought both teams close to earning runs, the Terrapins and Bulldogs continued scoreless throughout the third and fourth innings.
In the top of the fifth, with just three at-bats left, the Terrapins scored the first run of the game with a triple from Skylynne Ellazar that brought Destiney Henderson home from second base.
With just one out and Ellazar on third, adding a second run to the board was easy play for the Terrapins. Kufta flied out to center field, but Ellazar was able to capitalize on the opportunity and make it the short distance from third base to home plate.
A two-run advantage this late in the game seemed like a reasonable pathway to victory for the Terrapins. However, the Bulldogs arrived to the sixth inning prepared to gain control.
Although they allowed Maryland to steal second base in the top of the sixth, a groundout, flyout and efficient work by the Bulldogs’ infield put Kassidy Cross out at third to keep the Terrapins from scoring.
With a two-run deficit and two turns at bat left, the Bulldogs stepped up to the plate.
A double from Brandyce Sallee, who is batting .440 for the season, sent two players home to tie the game. Soon after, an RBI single earned one more run for the Bulldogs to give them an edge over the Terrapins.
When the Terrapins were unable to even make it to first base in the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs took the win.
Edited by Megan Smedley.
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