For the first time this season, the Maryland Terrapins softball players slept in their own beds before the first game of the weekend.
The Terps hosted Binghamton, Buffalo and James Madison at the Maryland Invitational this weekend at their very own stadium in front of large crowds.
After a cancelled Friday game against Buffalo, the Terrapins added an extra day of rest to what was already a relaxed week at home. Maryland finished the weekend at 2-2, the first weekend the Terps went at least .500.
On Saturday, Maryland went 2-0 in its first home day of the season, making it appear as if home-field advantage could be a deciding factor for the team. A 5-4 win over Binghamton and a 6-3 win over Buffalo set a triumphant tone for the Terps.
“Getting to sleep in our own bed, having our own locker room, playing in front of the fans, a lot of it contributes,” infielder Skylynne Ellazar said.
Sunday, however, went a little differently.
As it allowed six runs in the fifth inning against Binghamton, Maryland went down 9-7 in its first game of the day. Things didn’t go much better against No. 12 James Madison, a blowout 8-0 loss.
Power hitting from Maryland in Saturday’s game against the Binghamton Bearcats gave the Terps a critical edge to win the game 5-4. Despite six errors, the Terrapins maintained a consistent offense, showing a new side of the often erratic team.
In the circle, Madison Martin allowed no earned runs while pitching the entirety of the game, a strong showing to match her team-low ERA.
This consistency continued through Saturday evening against the Buffalo Bulls. The Terrapins clinched a 6-3 win thanks to a pair of RBIs and two runs from Anna Kufta. It was one of the freshman’s best games of the season so far.
Against Buffalo, Maryland kept the errors to a minimum with only one, a stark contrast to the Binghamton game.
The Terrapins were able to control the game early, as they scored three early runs to give them a cushion.
Maryland maintained the steadiness that led it earlier in the day to add another run and keep a two-run advantage. Despite a home run from Buffalo in the top of the seventh and a Maryland error that put the Bulls in position to score, the Terps maintained the lead.
On Sunday, the Terrapins appeared poised to tack on another home win.
Things started off strong for the Terps as they added run after run through the first four innings. While Binghamton did its best to play catch-up, Maryland held a decisive 7-3 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Showing few signs of stopping, the confident Terps started off the fifth with Lauren Graves in to pitch for Hannah Dewey. However, after she allowed three runs in 0.1 innings, Martin replaced the freshman.
The switch did little to slow down the Bearcats momentum. With the bases loaded, two Maryland errors netted the Bearcats three runs.
Six runs in the fifth inning handed a 9-7 lead to Binghamton. While the Terps still had opportunities to score, the last two innings went scoreless for both teams, giving the win to the Bearcats.
A total of six errors against Binghamton amounted to the same as the previous day’s win, yet created very different results.
“Really, we just imploded in that inning where we gave up those six runs,” head coach Julie Wright said.
After a disappointing first game Sunday, the Terps faced No. 12 James Madison. The Dukes are home to one of the league’s first class pitchers, Megan Good.
Good entered Sunday’s game with a phenomenal 0.22 ERA, only allowing three runs for her entire 2017 season to date.
She didn’t allow that number to rise against Maryland, as she gave up just six hits the entire game.
“We haven’t really faced someone who threw that hard,” Ellazar said.
The Dukes’ defense, coupled with its strong hitting, gave James Madison to an 8-0 victory. Morgan Tolle scored three of those runs in four hits, an impressive statistic attesting to James Madison’s ability to convert opportunity on base into runs.
The Terrapins added a home game against the St. John’s Red Storm (12-9) Monday. Maryland is 4-1 over St. John’s in the past.
“We’re making strides as a team and we just want to come out tomorrow and get a 3-2 win for our weekend,” Ellazar said.
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