Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
A late Maryland comeback tightened the final score to 8-4 against Iona Friday afternoon, but wasn’t enough to overcome the Gaels’ early lead.
Iona was 5-4 coming into this game, still relatively young in its season compared to the 3-16-1 Terrapins.
However, the difference in experience with this season didn’t seem to show as Iona steadily racked up runs through the third.
The Gaels’ two-run homer in the bottom of the first put them on the board early, and for the next six innings, they maintained the lead to win the game. Maryland pitcher Hannah Dewey held her ground after the runs, ending the frame on a strikeout.
A single from the Terrapins didn’t yield any results in the top of the second but an RBI single gave the Gaels one more run.
That single run was little compared to the five runs the Gaels recorded in the third. After one run from an RBI single, Iona was bases loaded and poised to score big.
A two-run hit added more, but the Gaels weren’t finished, adding two additional runs in the inning to a large seven-run advantage with Maryland yet to score.
Although the Terrapins scored one run in the third, it did little to cut the deficit, but, the Terps weren’t going down without a fight.
The Gaels only added one more run after the third, a testimony to the Maryland pitching and defense.
While the Terrapins ultimately lost the game, they added four runs in the last four innings to diminish the Gaels lead.
A sac fly from Amanda Brashear contributed a second run for Maryland. In the next frame, pitcher Madison Martin, with the lowest ERA on the team, was subbed in for Lauren Graves.
With two Gaels on base, Martin forced a groundout to stop them in their tracks and prevent any more runs for Iona.
Maryland’s turn at bat in the fifth ended quickly as the Gaels did their part to hold onto the lead. But, they were unable to expand it in the fifth as Martin kept up her savvy pitching.
A sacrifice fly in the sixth gave Iona a little more room for error, but that run became the Gaels’ last of the game when Martin pitched a swinging strikeout ending Iona’s second-to-last turn at bat.
In the top of the seventh, Anna Kufta hit a grounder to make it to first with one out. Kristina Dillard hit a line drive to right field to send Kufta home.
Skylynne Ellazar repeated Dillard’s performance to add another run, reaching the halfway mark to Iona’s eight runs.
A flyout added the second out and it wasn’t long before the seventh — and the game — was over for the Terrapins.
Next, Maryland faces its host team, UC Riverside (7-8).
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