Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Softball takes on Penn State in first conference series of 2018

The Maryland softball team (10-19) begins Big Ten play this weekend after opening the season with six non-conference tournaments. First up are the Penn State Nittany Lions, which the Terps will take on at State College on Saturday and Sunday.

Maryland took three out of five games at the Rainbow Wahine Tournament in Hawaii last weekend, good for its first winning weekend of the season. The Terps hit a season-high 12 hits in Sunday’s 7-6 win over Hawaii, and 29 total on the weekend.

Still, Maryland came out of its non-conference season sporting a disappointing record even with bright spots both in the lineup and on the mound. Senior captain Skylynne Ellazar and sophomore Brigette Nordberg have anchored Maryland’s offense. They have started all 29 games and sport .313 and .295 averages, leading the team with 26 hits apiece.

Freshman Ryan Denhart and junior Sydney Golden have started all but three of Maryland’s games and pitched 180 out of the team’s 191 ⅓ innings. Their efforts have resulted in ERAs of 2.29 and 4.15, respectively.

The Terps have been excellent holding leads so far, but have struggled to come from behind. . The team is 6-0 when leading after four innings, but 2-12 when trailing after four. When leading after six, they are 9-0, but a staggering 0-15 when trailing after six.

Maryland will have the chance to collect some wins against its first conference opponent. The Nittany Lions have played to a 3-18 record, though they took two out of three from the Terps in last year’s series.

Junior infielder Tori Dubois is a major threat in Penn State’s lineup, hitting .309 through 21 games after batting a team-best .346 last season and earning First Team All-Big Ten honors. Penn State’s starting tandem of Jessica Cummings and Madison Shaffer have pitched to 4.60 and 5.93 ERAs, respectively.

The Terps and Nittany Lions play a doubleheader on Saturday with starting times at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., before  the teams close out the series with a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday.The games will be broadcast on LionVision.