It was a weekend of redemption for the Maryland Terrapins, who began Big Ten play two weeks ago and went eight straight games without a win.
After falling 11-4 to the Northwestern Wildcats in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Terps lost again later in the day in a 6-5 nailbiter. Sunday, however, was a recovery of sorts for the 7-28-1 Terrapins when they took down the Wildcats 5-4.
Sunday’s win was Maryland’s first conference victory after two consecutive weekends of losses to Ohio State and then Michigan State. Saturday’s doubleheader losses were more of the same from Northwestern.
The Terrapins were originally scheduled to fly to Chicago on Thursday night, but due to storms causing widespread flight cancellations, the team had to change travel plans, forcing a Saturday doubleheader.
In the first game Saturday, Maryland put up three runs — two of which were from Northwestern errors — in the top of the first to gain an early edge. The Wildcats easily countered, however, gaining a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the first.
Headed into the bottom of the second, the Terrapins switched out pitcher Madison Martin for Lauren Graves. After the Wildcats swiftly added two more runs, Graves and the Maryland defense worked out of a jam to strand two Northwestern runners on base.
In the top of the fourth, Juli Strange hit her sixth double of the season and later scored on a Northwestern error, tightening the score to 9-4.
Graves held off the Wildcats through the fourth with a double play and a strikeout to end the inning. Then, In the bottom of the fifth, they capitalized on a Maryland error to add two more runs, to seal the victory. Despite solid attempts from the Terps, like Martin’s double in the top of the seventh, they were unable to cut the deficit.
After just a 30 minute break, the Wildcats and Terrapins were back on the field. The bottom of the first was another three-run start for the Wildcats, as a three-run homer by Anna Petersen put them up 3-0.
Both teams went scoreless through the second and third innings until Anna Kufta hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth to make it 3-1. An RBI double from Hannah Dewey and an RBI single from Jordan Aughinbaugh tied the game at three.
Northwestern wasn’t going down without a fight, however, and added three more runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth to reclaim a three-run advantage.
Maryland kept up the scoring momentum, adding one more run when Amanda Brashear scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth. The Terrapins came within one run of Northwestern in the top of the sixth after Brashear hit a RBI single, but despite a bases loaded opportunity, the Terps were unable to capitalize and steal a win.
Although the Terrapins prevented Northwestern from scoring further after the fourth, the Wildcats walked away with a 6-5 win.
On Sunday, after a night’s rest, the Terrapins came out ready to return the favor.
Northwestern was first on the board with a single run in the bottom of the first. It didn’t take long for Maryland to get there too.
Five runs in the top of the second established a dominant lead for the Terrapins that they held onto for the rest of the game.
Consistent power hitter Kristina Dillard hit a two-run RBI double to get things going and Maryland didn’t stop stringing hits together there.
Three Northwestern errors scored Dillard, Sarah Calta and Aughinbaugh to give the Terrapins a 5-1 edge.
Toward the beginning of the season Maryland often struggled with errors, occasionally having as many as five errors in a game. As of late, however, those numbers have decreased and the Terrapins have taken advantage of errors from opponents.
In the bottom of the third, Northwestern went tit-for-tat against the Terps, putting up three more runs on a two-run homer and RBI single to make it 5-4.
With the score within one in the fourth inning, Maryland needed to keep its defense as tight as possible to win.
After resting the first half of the game, Martin took the circle in the fourth to pitch the final three frames. She held of the Wildcats with a strikeouts to end each of the next three innings, leading the Terrapins to their first conference win of the season.
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