The Maryland softball team (16-27, 5-7 Big Ten) dropped both games in their doubleheader against Indiana (18-24, 10-2 Big Ten) Saturday, leading the Hoosiers to take the series.
Friday’s game was riddled with fielding errors and hitting upsets, so the team’s mission was to clean up defense and to hold off on Hoosier pitcher Tara Trainer’s tricky changeups in the next game.
Freshman pitcher Ryan Denhart studied the hitting strategy of the Hoosiers off of junior pitcher Sydney Golden in Friday’s game and entered with a game plan in mind.
It was crucial to stop the first few starting hitters from getting on base, whom head coach Julie Wright said served as the catalysts for more runs.
In the first inning of game one, winning didn’t seem far off for the Terps. Maryland defense applied pressure and they ended the frame with no major bruises.
But Indiana’s offensive power revealed itself when the top of the third rolled around. Hoosier Katie Lacefield smacked a three RBI homerun, putting the Terps down 0-3.
There was a spark of hope in the bottom of the fifth inning when freshman Hannah Eslick pinch hit for senior Destiney Henderson with two runners on base. When the Terps needed her most, she smacked a 3 RBI triple over to the left field fence, bringing the game to a 3-3 tie.
“I knew that we needed a run. I knew my job was to score someone, so I kinda just went up there taking my hacks because I knew my plan,” Eslick said.
Yet Indiana wasn’t done, as they went on to dominate in later innings, tacking on six more runs during the top of the sixth with home runs from Hoosiers Taylor Lambert and Maddie Westmoreland.
Denhart pitched a complete game allowing nine earned runs off of all nine hits. The Hoosiers won the first game 9-3.
The Terps fell back into old habits in the second game as they struggled with Trainer’s changeups and made fielding errors at crucial moments, including a poor decision by junior Mikayla Werahiko.
The score was 3-1 at the top of the seventh when Werahiko allowed Westmoreland to get on first by trying to get the runner out at second.
“She did that earlier, and we talked about it, and she made the same mistake,” Wright said. “I’m not saying that it’s anyone’s single fault because obviously we play and lose and win as a team, but that’s the situation that’s happened…We allow base runners to get on.”
The base advantage meant almost every hit following led to an RBI. Indiana won 9-1 to take the victory in all three games of the weekend series.
Maryland will put the weekend behind them and focus on playing Rutgers at the Maryland Softball Stadium Tuesday at 5 p.m. Keep up with the game through live stats on BTN-Plus.