Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

‘Moving the runners 60 feet’ key for Terps in Penn State series

After Maryland’s Wednesday doubleheader with Rutgers was postponed for the second time, the Terrapins gained an extra day of practice and the opportunity to further reflect on what went right, and wrong, against Indiana last weekend.

Six of the team’s last eight games have been decided by a single run, and the Terps have dropped four of them. This includes two heartbreaking walk-off losses to the Hoosiers last weekend.

However, the opportunity to close these gaps comes in the first few innings, head coach Julie Wright said.

“I think if we can take care of some of that earlier in the game it doesn’t come down to that very last inning,” she said on Wednesday.

This weekend, the Terps will stay in College Park for a three-game series against Penn State with games on Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The Nittany Lions have similarly struggled with fast starts this season, failing to score those crucial runs in the beginning of the game.

Wright is confident that her team has the ability to improve by taking full advantage of opportunities for RBIs and moving runners.

“We’re just trying to stay within our game and each player [do] a little bit better,” she said.

However, she admitted that “RBI situations” have been one of the team’s struggles this year. But, with competition heating up for top lineup spots thanks to Sarah Calta’s recent big hits, the team might have more chances to drive in runs.

Although the Nittany Lions are 20-28 overall, and have 11 more wins than the Terps, they are only 6-11 in conference play. Wins against the Terps would be key for them to earn a higher seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.

The Terps, meanwhile, are 2-13 in the Big Ten and looking for a few more wins to clinch a spot in the tournament, even if that comes as the No. 12 seed.

Rutgers and Maryland occupy the bottom two spots of the standings and, with just eight games left apiece, are in a tight race to make it into the tournament.

However, the Terps have recently hit a groove in their playing that if properly taken advantage of could lead them to a tournament run. Pitcher Madison Martin recently made a small adjustment to her pitching that combined with her ability to throw three different speeds defined her play in the Indiana series.

“I thought Madison did a really good job [against] Indiana, she only gave up four runs,” Wright said.

The infield is also in “a really good place,” said Wright. The potent combination of Jordan Aughinbaugh or Brigette Nordberg at first, Skylynne Ellazar at second, Anna Kufta at shortstop and Juli Strange at third drives the Terps’ defensive ability.

Wright emphasized that the primary point of difficulty is with “clutching up” and getting runners into scoring position. Being yourself as a player and as a team is the key to success this late in the season, she said.

“You want to make sure you’re attacking pitches you can handle and staying within yourself as a hitter,” she said. “You have to … work on what it is you can bring to the table every day and put your piece in a little bit better.”

Katrina Schmidt

Katrina Schmidt

Recruiting Writer at The Left Bench
Katrina Schmidt is a freshman multiplatform journalism major from Baltimore, Maryland.
Katrina Schmidt
About Katrina Schmidt 41 Articles

Katrina Schmidt is a freshman multiplatform journalism major from Baltimore, Maryland.