Maryland loses rubber match to Penn State, fall 7-5

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

By Eddie Hobbs

Maryland took on Penn State to finish out their series on Sunday. With the series tied at 1-1, Maryland was looking to win the rubber match against the Nittany Lions. Everything didn’t go as planned as the Terps lost the game 7-5 and fell apart in the fourth inning. Hannah Dewey entered the circle after pitching 11 innings on Saturday, Coach Julie Wright talked about her decision to go with Dewey in back to back games.

“We checked in last night, before she went to bed and this morning and she felt good enough to start.” Coach Wright said. “They still didn’t figure her out for a bit, so I thought she did pretty well.”

Maryland was off to a hot start in the game as they scored four runs in the first three innings. It also helped that Penn States’ defense wasn’t up to par as they committed one error in each of those three innings. Juli Strange singled in the first inning and advanced to second on an error. A few batters later with Strange on third, Anna Kufta hit a ground ball to Penn States’ second baseman and drove in Strange to give Maryland the early 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, Jordan Aughinbaugh hit a pop up to shallow right field and Penn State second baseman Gianna Arrizurieta couldn’t corral the ball which led to Aughinbaugh reaching second on an error. Sarah Calta hit a ground ball back to the pitcher and Aughinbaugh advanced to third base. Kassidy Cross then hit a single past Penn States’ second baseman Arrizuerieta to bring Aughinbaugh home and give the Terps a 2-0 lead.

The Terps were hitting on all cylinders, and it wouldn’t stop in the third inning. Amanda Brashear started off with a single and a few batters later Anna Kufta would come into the batter’s box and delivered a shot to right field that brought Brashear home and Kufta hustled to third, 3-0 Terps. Kristina Dillard came to bat after a Hannah Dewey pop out and hit a strike past the third baseman to drive in Kufta, and Maryland would lead 4-0 after three innings.

Penn State wasn’t going away that easily and battled back in the fourth inning and the Nittany Lions were able to get three runners on base. Penn States’ first baseman Kristina Brackpool hit a rocket down the third base line and drove in three runners to get within one run, 4-3 Maryland. After a ground out and a walk, Coach Wright decided to bring Sami Main into the game to replace Hannah Dewey with the line of 3.1 innings pitched, three hits allowed, four earned runs allowed. Penn States’ Destiney Weber brought in another run to tie it at 4-4. Coach Wright talked about Hannah Dewey’s performance after the game.

“It’s difficult, pitch count in softball isn’t as much of a factor as it is in baseball.” Coach Wright said. “So at this point it was just about can she keep her legs really.”

In the sixth inning the game was broken open by Penn State as they scored three runs in the inning. Early in the inning with Penn States’ Jessica Haug on first base,  Weber hit a ball to Anna Kufta. Kufta flipped the ball to Skylynne Ellazar who juggled the ball, and Ellazar hung her head obviously frustrated by not making the play. While this was happening Haug advanced to third base and later scored to take the lead. Coach Wright talked about how Ellazar must continue to pay attention and not let the errors get to her head during the game.

“I told her we finish the play, we finish the play.” Coach Wright said. “The ball is all that matters in that moment you can be frustrated, [but] we have to finish the play there.”

Maryland only scored one run after the third inning and lost the contest by the score of 7-5. Maryland will take on Rutgers on Wednesday and looks to bounce back after this tough loss.

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