Maryland softball unable to exploit opportunities, swept by Michigan State

By Sununu Bah

After nearly a two-week home stretch in College Park, the Maryland Terrapins headed to East Lansing in hopes of its first Big Ten win but disappointment had other ideas.

Maryland (7-26-1, 0-6) lost its second consecutive Big Ten series, falling to the Michigan State Spartans, who also had yet to win a Big Ten game in three games, 11-3, 2-0 and 6-2.

Although the Spartans were swept by Purdue coming into the weekend, they were five games above .500 and boasted the fourth best slugging percentage (.549) in the nation.

As a result, the Terps were unable to handle the scoring power of Michigan State.

In the first game, Maryland managed to come back from an early 3-0 deficit to tie the game up at the top of the fourth. However, Michigan State managed to pull away with four home runs scored on only four hits.

A fielder’s choice and singles by junior outfielder Lea Foerster and sophomore utility Ebonee Echols loaded the bases for the Spartans. Terps redshirt senior pitcher Madison Martin walked sophomore utility Kaitlyn Eveland, allowing freshman Melanie Baccay to score. Freshman Kelcey Carrasco followed up with RBI double unloading the basses and pushing Michigan’s lead to 7-3.

Allowing free base walks was a staple for Maryland. The Terps dished out nine walks, a crucial infield error allowed two more Michigan State runs and a wild pitch by Martin scored Echols one more run, inevitably putting an end to Maryland’s hopes of a comeback.

In the second game, the Terps were unable to capitalize on potential game-swinging opportunities. Maryland was able to put a runner on base in six of seven innings but could not land a hit that would allow these runners to score, as the Terps only produced two hits on the afternoon.

Maryland’s defense kept the game close, as it took until the bottom of the third for the Spartans their first base hit of the day. Moments later, Foerster thumped a double to the left-center scoring sophomore outfielder Lexie White. In the bottom of the fourth, a wild pitch brought Eveland home for Michigan State’s final run of the game.

In the final game, the Terps were unable to overcome the Spartans hot start, allowing Michigan State to sweep the series.

Foerster got the action started with her third run of the series, a double to the centerfield wall. Soon after, Eveland lined up a single to right and senior Sarah Gutknecht cleared center field for her seventh homer of the season, pushing the Spartans lead 3-0 at the end of the first. White hit her first homerun of the season in the bottom of the second with a solo shot over the left field fence.

A base-hit by freshman Anna Kufta, a bunt single by junior Skylynne Ellazar and a walk by senior Kristina Dillard loaded the bases in the fourth for the Terps. Maryland, however, was unable to take advantage of its first ripe opening of the game, scoring only one run.

An RBI walk and a single by junior McKenzie Long pushed Michigan State’s lead to 6-1 in the fifth. In the next inning, the Terps had another chance to make something more with bases load. Dillard was able to score on a fielder’s choice.

Maryland will be headed to Evanston, Illinois to take on the Northwestern Wildcats next weekend looking for its first Big Ten win.

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