The Maryland softball team (6-13) picked up their stride this weekend at the Black & Red Classic in Louisville, winning three out of their five games.
Despite facing a series of disappointments over its past four non-conference tournaments, the Terps came in with their heads held high. They needed the confidence, which is why head coach Julie Wright approached the games with a new strategy.
“The game plan is to only worry about us, to stop looking what the other name is on the jersey, stop looking across the lines and communicate better,” Wright said. “And play one pitch at a time.”
On Friday, Maryland shut out IUPUI 2-0 with two runs at the top of the fourth after Brigette Nordberg reached on a hitting error by the first baseman, bringing home Bailey Boyd and Amanda Brashear.
Freshman pitcher Ryan Denhart had her first career shutout with just four hits.
“Ryan is actually learning how to pitch at this level with some of these stronger teams,“ Wright said. “And how to make each pitch a little more crisp so that it’s a swing and a miss rather than just a foul ball.”
The Terps fell to Louisville 4-1 in the second game after a busy bottom of the third inning when Cardinal Caitlin Ferguson doubled to right field, setting the stage to bring three runners in.
Taylor Wilson launched her first career home run over the right field fence in the top of the fifth. But with no runners in scoring position, Maryland was unable to bridge the gap.
A Saturday sweep put Maryland back in action as they beat Eastern Illinois 3-2 and clutched an additional win against IUPUI 5-1.
In the bottom of the fifth inning against Eastern Illinois, Nordberg hit a double to left field to bring in JoJo McRae. Brashear hit a single that sent Nordberg home.
The top of the seventh inning had people at the front of their seats when Panther Jordan Davis launched a home run to left field. The score was 2-2.
But with Shelby Younkin in scoring position in the eighth inning, Brashear’s single to first base allowed the Terps to overcome.
The wins continued into the second game with IUPUI with major hits from Younkin and Nordberg. But an upset came the following morning.
Maryland lost to Miami (OH) in the final game of the tournament when the RedHawks got two runs in the fourth inning, ending the game at 2-1.
The Terps leave this tournament with a new winning record. They return to their own field next Thursday to host the Maryland Invitational at the Maryland Softball Stadium.
All games will be live-streamed on BTN Plus and live-tweeted from the Maryland softball account @TerpsSoftball.