Fresh off a thrilling two-game doubleheader sweep of Rutgers on Tuesday, the Maryland softball team (18-27, 7-7 Big Ten) is back on the road to take on Michigan (35-7, 10-1) in a three-game weekend set in Ann Arbor.
The Terps played their last seven games in College Park, splitting a doubleheader with Saint Francis University and being swept in three games by Indiana. Maryland then finished its homestand on a high note with the wins over Rutgers, which brought them back to an even record in conference play.
Maryland head coach Julie Wright said she apologized to the players after the rough series against Indiana over the weekend.
“What I apologized for was just not finding the right buttons to push,” she said. “So I just told them, ‘I’m going to take ownership of all those [losses]. You just give those [losses] to me and I want you to go out, play free and have fun and be aggressive’, and that’s exactly what they did [against Rutgers].”
The Terps will look to keep that momentum going against a particularly tough opponent, No. 14 Michigan. The Wolverines sit in first place in the Big Ten by overall record as well as conference record. They enter the weekend carrying an 11-game win streak and are a perfect 9-0 at home.
Maryland will have to find a way to figure out Michigan’s strong pitching. Wolverines occupy the top three slots in the conference in ERA — Meghan Beaubien with .081, Tera Blanco with 1.33 and Sarah Schaefer with 1.48.
Michigan also has a staggering seven regular players batting at or above .297. Leading the pack is junior infielder Faith Canfield, who has a .403 average (third in the conference), 60 hits (second), 11 doubles and 33 RBI.
Despite having their work cut out for them, the Terps believe they can play spoiler this weekend.
“I feel like we just need to keep our bats alive and keep working together,” said senior first baseman Jacqui Pascual.
The showdown begins on Friday at 6 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. game on Saturday and a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.