The Terps split their first two games in the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, their final non-conference tournament of the season. After dropping the opener to Tennessee, 7-1, Maryland earned a 5-4 victory against Cleveland State.
The Terps got out to an early lead against the No. 4 Lady Vols, the only seeded opponent they will face this weekend. In the fourth inning, senior Jacqui Pasqual doubled home hometown hero Skylynne Ellazar, who had earlier reached base on a single.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as Tennessee quickly tied things up in their half of the fourth on a pair of singles and a wild pitch.
The Lady Vols added five more runs in the fifth and another in the sixth to take the first meeting between the two teams this weekend.
Freshman Ryan Denhart allowed two runs on six hits in 4.1 innings. Junior Sydney Golden relieved her in the fifth and allowed five runs on six hits in the final 1.2 innings. Denhart was tagged with the loss but still sports an outstanding 2.04 ERA.
Denhart said head coach Julie Wright gives the team words of encouragement when they pick up a loss despite good pitching.
“[Wright talks about] making adjustments sooner in the game to get those timely hits and making those timely plays [that] will push us ahead in those games,” she said.
The Terps came out on top in their second game of the day, beating Cleveland State, 5-4 in an exciting extra-inning victory.
Maryland drew first blood, scoring a pair of runs on the top of the first on an RBI single by Sky Ellazar and an Anna Kufta sacrifice fly. The Terps added another run in the second on an Amanda Brashear single.
The Vikings would knot the game up by scoring a run in the second and two in the fifth. Maryland then took the lead once again in the top of the seventh, scoring a run on a Jacqui Pasqual single, her second RBI of the day. The Terps couldn’t close it out, though, and Cleveland State scored a run of their own in the bottom of the frame to send the game to extras.
Per tournament rules, each team would get a runner placed on second base at the beginning of every extra inning. Maryland immediately took advantage when sophomore Brigette Nordberg started at second in the top of the eighth and Kufta moved her to third on a sacrifice bunt. Junior Bailey Boyd would then push her across home on a sacrifice fly.
Cleveland State threatened again in the bottom of the frame. With two outs and their runner placed on second, Bailee Gray singled to right field. Freshman Shelby Younkin threw a missile to Kufta to cut the runner down at home plate and seal the 5-4 victory.
The pitching tandem of Sydney Golden and Ryan Denhart again combined for all the game’s innings. Golden started and threw 3.1 innings, allowing one run. Denhart pitched the remaining 4.2 innings and allowed three runs. This time, Denhart earned the win to go 5-8 on the season.
“Relying on my defense,” Denhart said when asked about some of the keys to her success this season. “Trying to not put all the pressure on me and relying on [my teammates] throughout the game knowing they have my back.”
The Terps play another double header on Saturday. They face off against North Dakota at 6 p.m. and their rematch against Tennessee follows at 8 p.m.