On a hot and humid 84 degree Friday afternoon in College Park, it was Penn State who came out sizzling hot at bat against the Terps, who were unable to overcome an early deficit losing 10-3.
The loss marked the first game of the three game series between Maryland (9-34-1, 2-13) and Penn State (21-26, 5-3).
Penn State’s offense started hot, as it scored three quick runs in the first two innings each.
Delaney Elling got things rolling as her single sent Rebecca Ziegler home followed by a Kristina Brackpool single that sent Tori DuBois and Elling home for the early 3-0 lead.
Maryland responded with a solitary hit from Amanda Brashear after Penn State’s shortstop Toni Polk failed to corral the ground ball. However, the Terps were unable to muster up anymore offense as the first inning ended with the same three-run deficit.
One of the most crucial moments of the game came in the top of the second inning. Penn State had the bases loaded with only one out in the top of the second inning. After a strikeout, Shelby Miller came up and cracked a double to left-center field sending all three base runners home, extending the lead to six.
Hannah Dewey’s hard-hit double to left field sent Kassidy Cross to third, while Nordberg’s RBI got Cross home for the first Terrapin score of the day.
Skylynne Ellazar followed it up quickly with an RBI of her own to send Dewey home to make the score 6-2, giving the Terps some hope going back on defense for the top of the third.
— Maryland Softball (@TerpsSoftball) April 28, 2017
“It was great to see [Ellazar] stroke the ball,” head coach Julie Wright said after the game. “She had a great week at practice, she’s been coming out early as she always does.”
Ellazar prides herself coming to practice early and getting those extra reps in so that it translates to the games.
“Honestly all week I have been working on timing,” Ellazar said. “The last couple of weeks I was just missing so it was kind of frustrating to not have a hit, so this weekend it was really fun to breakout. Hard work pays off.”
Ellazar, a Honolulu, Hawaii native, was able to get a rare had her family in attendance to see her play.
“They’re from Hawaii and that never happens,” Wright said. “Her whole family was here including her little brother so I know that means a lot to her.”
Ellazar had two hits and two RBIs in three at bats.
“[It meant] a lot,” Ellazar said. “It was really fun to play in front of them. My little brother got to walk out with me and just having them all around feels like home.”
Miller then scored to push the lead to five in the fourth on a seemingly controversial call by the umpire at home, saying the Penn State runner had slid home before Kristina Dillard tagged her out. The inning was not done with the controversy however, as the umpire at home called Nordberg out in a very close call.
Wright denied the calls giving a two-run swing in favor of the Nittany Lions were a turning point of the game, saying that “it could have gone either way.”
Freshman Laura Graves came in to relieve Martin in the fifth inning and started out very strong, keeping the score at 7-3 for an inning and a half. DuBois came up big again for the Nittany Lions, crushing a home run over the left field fence, scoring Ziegler in the process to increase the lead to six. Miller added to Maryland’s woes with a run off a Brackpool RBI.
The last chance for Maryland in the bottom of the seventh inning came in the form of freshman Kassidy Cross who saw the bases loaded and an opportunity to spark an audacious comeback. The comeback was not meant to be as Cross’s grounder was gobbled up and Penn State recorded the final out of the game at third.
The next game will be Saturday at 1 p.m. where the Terps will look to even the series at one.
“[We can improve] our hitting,” Ellazar said. “We’ve been struggling with that all year, especially in Big Ten play. [The problem] hasn’t been our defense it has been our hitting.”
Wright cited that if the team can flip the offensive lineup and the pitchers can hit their spots more consistently, the Terps will have a much better shot at winning the next two games.
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