Maryland women’s softball hosted its annual Maryland Invitational this weekend — the first time that the Terps have been in College Park for any action this season. Maryland struggled to get its bats going, as the team combined for just seven runs throughout the whole tournament. However, it salvaged the weekend with a win on Sunday against Yale.
Here’s how the tournament played out:
Maryland vs. Utah
The Terps sent out their star freshman pitcher Ryan Denhart for the first game against Utah. Denhart’s outing got off to a rocky start after she gave up a single to Utah’s right fielder Hailey Hilburn followed by a two-run homer to Breonna Castaneda, which gave Utah an early 2-0 lead in the second inning.
After the shaky start, Dernhart started to settle down, and only allowed three hits up until the sixth inning. Maryland was able to get on the board in the fourth inning, thanks to Anna Kufta, who hit a solo homer to cut the Utah lead to just one.
The Utes put together a five-run inning in the seventh against Denhart to practically seal the victory over the Terps in the first game of the Maryland Invitational.
Maryland vs. Miami
Maryland faced Miami in its second game of the Maryland Invitational, and it was a terrific outing for both pitchers. Maryland’s Sydney Golden was tremendous for the Terps throughout the game as she gave up just two runs, one earned, through seven innings pitched.
In the sixth inning, Golden was able to get the first two batters out, but then Miami’s Ashton Sloan reached base due to a catcher’s interference. Sloan reached second base due to a wild pitch by Golden. Johniann Wahl walked to put two on base with two outs, and Kat Lee pumped a ball into right field to bring home two base runners to give Miami a 2-0 lead.
Miami’s pitching put on a clinic and only allowed Maryland to string three hits throughout the game in the 2-0 win.
Maryland vs. Jacksonville
In a 2-0 loss to Jacksonville, the Terps were able to get nine hits, but there were no runs to show for it. In a close game against a tough team with a great pitcher, runners in scoring position become even more important for a team trying to pull off a win.
Maryland was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Head coach Julie Wright acknowledged that she is dealing with a young team, but she also knows that the players need to focus and not think about the big moment.
“I think we are a little bit inexperienced and in that moment, we’re maybe making it a little bigger than it actually is,” Wright said. “I think the more reps that we have in those moments the better we’re going to be.”
Maryland vs. Utah
In the second meeting against Utah, the Utes got on the board early in the second inning with a moonshot to straight away center by Hailey Hilburn to give Utah an early 1-0 lead.
Unlike the first three games, Maryland was able to string together hits and drive in runs. In the bottom of the second inning Shelby Younkin hit a double to left center and Mikayla Werahiko singled up the middle to bring Younkin home.
In the third inning, Skylynne Ellazar doubled and Bridgette Nordberg was able to drive in Ellazar from third base giving Maryland a 2-1 lead.
As quickly as Maryland took the lead, the Terps gave it up even faster as Utah was able to score in four straight innings while Maryland couldn’t find an answer for the Utes hitting. The Terps would fall to 0-2 against Utah in the Maryland Invitational after a 6-2 loss.
Maryland vs. Yale
After struggling to gather any wins against Utah, Jacksonville and Miami, the Terps last shot at a victory would have to be against a struggling 1-9 Yale team.
It looked like much of the same for Maryland after Lauren Graves was unable to put together a full inning after walking the first and second batter. Graves would not finish the first inning and Ryan Denhart would finish the rest of the game. A run would come around to score, but Denhart did a great job to not allow any more runs to come across the plate in the first inning.
Maryland would quickly regain its ground after Skylynne Ellazar singled up the middle and advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt by Amanda Brashear and a grounder by Bridgette Nordberg. Anna Kufta singled to center field and tied up the game at one a piece in the bottom of the frame.
Yale would only score once more thanks to a Miranda Papes home run in the second inning. Maryland controlled the rest of the game after scoring three runs in the third and fourth innings. It was the first win for Maryland in its last game of the Maryland Invitational.
Even with the win at the end of the tournament, Wright noticed the errors by her team, and it is something that needs to be addressed before the team packs for the Hawaii Tournament.
“It’s a frustrating thing, without question, for all of us,” Wright said. “We train that like crazy and it’s not a mechanical thing, but a lot of that is just losing focus in the moment. We’ve got to clean that up.”