After six weekends of nonconference games, the Maryland Terrapins are set to face the 11-5 Ohio Buckeyes at home in their first Big Ten series.
Maryland will play its second consecutive weekend series at home after it won three out of five games last weekend, including two at its own Maryland Invitational.
During the Invitational, the Terrapins went 2-2, both victories coming on Saturday. The Terps won a stand-alone game against St. John’s 3-0 to wrap up their first home weekend..
Currently, Maryland sits at 7-20-1. Despite only accumulating seven wins this season, it has played better as of late, winning five of its last 10 games. This upward trend has been assisted by stronger offense and consistent pitching from go-to pitchers Madison Martin and Hannah Dewey.
Skylynne Ellazar recently reclaimed her spot as top hitter for the Terps, a title she held at the end of the 2016 season. She leads the team in batting average and triples and has formed a solid group of offensive talent with Juli Strange and reliable freshmen Amanda Brashear and Anna Kufta.
Ellazar struggled at the plate at the beginning of the 2017 season, but lately has seemed to regain her confidence at the plate. In the Terps two games on Sunday, the junior recorded a hit in six of her seven at bats.
“I [had] been hitting the ball, it just hasn’t been getting through,” she said following Sunday’s games against Binghamton and James Madison. “It’s finally going through.”
Ohio State is ranked fifth in the conference headed into this weekend. The series will be the Buckeyes first foray into Big Ten play as well.
The Buckeyes, who joined the Big Ten in 2015, are 5-1 all-time against the Terps and swept them last season in Columbus, Ohio.
Now, it’s the Terrapins turn to host and they haven’t won a game against Ohio State since the Buckeyes’ first Big Ten game ever. In dramatic Maryland fashion, the Terrapins came back from a 10-0 Ohio State lead to win 11-10 in March 2015.
Still familiar with comebacks, the Terrapins beat No. 24 Missouri 9-7 earlier this season after scoring six runs in the seventh inning to force extra innings and eventually win the game.
Ohio State boasts the fourth-best pitching staff of the league with a combined 2.12 earned run average. Shelby Hursh leads the team with an impressive 1.92 ERA.
Despite her impressive statistics, Hursh isn’t an outlier. The other members of the five-member pitching staff all have ERAs below 2.70, making them a consistent force in the circle.
However, Maryland’s batters faced off against James Madison’s star pitcher Megan Good last weekend, who entered the game with an extraordinary 0.22 ERA. The matchup presented a challenge for the Terps and, despite an 8-0 loss, the practice likely prepared them well for Ohio State’s rotation.
The Terrapins play the Buckeyes at home Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Latest posts by Katrina Schmidt (see all)
- Terps drop final series opener to Wisconsin - May 5, 2017
- Maryland softball’s seniors look to guide team during final home series - May 4, 2017
- How Maryland softball can clinch a Big Ten Tournament spot - May 2, 2017