(Eugene Nash/The Left Bench)

Terps host Michigan State in final regular season series

The Maryland softball team (18-33, 7-13 Big Ten) will look to end its six-game losing streak when it closes out its regular season by hosting Michigan State (21-25, 7-11) for three games this weekend.

The 2018 season was the most successful in three years for the Terps. At 18 wins, they have already surpassed the win totals for 2017 (11) and 2016 (12). They will also finish in the top 12 in the Big Ten standings, qualifying for the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in three years.

There is, however, still room for improvement. The team has committed 24 errors, which have led to 58 unearned runs.

“We’re working on cleaning up the little things defensively and producing offensively,” said outfielder Kassidy Cross.

Maryland will get a final chance to put those fundamentals into action this weekend against Michigan State. The Spartans have also qualified for the Big Ten Tournament and are currently sitting at ninth, one slot above the Terps.

Michigan State’s offense will be a test for Terps pitching, as seven regulars sport batting averages of .280 or above. Maryland’s pitching tandem of freshman Ryan Denhart and junior Sydney Golden have amassed 3.82 and 5.06 ERAs, respectively.

The Spartans have a power pitcher in Kristina Zalewski, who owns a 2.08 ERA across 134.1 innings. Maryland’s bats will look to get in a groove again, having scored just 13 runs during their six-game skid.

“[Zalewski] throws hard and she does a good job of mixing it in and out in trying to get you to swing and miss,” head coach Julie Wright said. “I think we’re preparing well for her. I think we’ll be ready.”

Because of impending inclement weather, the Terps and Spartans will play a doubleheader on Friday at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Maryland will honor its three graduating seniors – Skylynne Ellazar, Destinee Henderson and Jacqui Pascual — as well as Mikayla Werahiko, who is in her final year of NCAA eligibility, in between games.

The date and time of Game 3 will be decided on Friday. All games will be broadcast on BTN2Go.