By Sununu Bah
In the first of a three game home stretch against the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Maryland Terrapins were burned by a sizzling start and unable to ice the game.
The Terrapins (9-34-1, 2-14) surrendered six of the Nittany Lions’ (21-28, 7-11) 10 runs within the first two innings on their way to a 10-3 defeat.
Maryland Coach Julie Wright said the deficit put the team in a major hole that they were unable to bounce back from, especially a team of Penn State’s caliber.
“They all worked from behind [and] you just can’t do that,” Wright said. “You can’t do that with a power hitting team.“
At the top of the first inning, Redshirt sophomore Rebecca Ziegler hit a single to shortstop. After Madison Martin struck out Toni Polk, Tori Dubois stepped up to the plate and hit a single, moving Ziegler to second base. Moments later, after their second out, with two Nittany Lions on base, Delaney Elling singled to the right side, advancing Dubois to third and scoring Ziegler for Penn State’s first run of the game. Afterwards, Elling was able to proceed to second on the throw, Brackpool pounded one to right center for a double RBI, powering Elling and Dubois to score. Penn State led, 3-0 at the end of the first.
Maryland was unable to respond, and the Nittany Lions capitalized in the second inning.
In the second inning, Penn State got their first two runners on base with consecutive walks. Polk reached on a fielder’s choice just after Dubois struck out looking. With the bases loaded, Shelby Miller ripped a double to left center, clearing the bases. Penn State ended the top of the second up 6-0.
But Maryland was able to dust themselves off a tad bit.
In the bottom of the second, a throwing error by third baseman Miller situated Kassidy Cross at first. She wouldn’t have to wait long as a double by Hannah Dewey promoted her to third base. Bridgette Nordberg took one for the team as her ground out allowed Dewey to move third and Cross to score. Skylynne Ellazar’s single t to right gave Dewey her first run of the game. Maryland trailed 6-2.
Ellazar’s performance was fueled by her diligent effort throughout the week in practice, third baseman Juli Strange said.
“It was great to see her – great to see her stroke the ball,” Strange said. “She had a good week in practice. She’s been coming out early. Of course she always does. She’s a hardworking kid.”
Both teams were unable to put a run on the board in the third inning, but in the fourth they both scored a run apiece.
The Nittany Lions put the exclamation point to a sound win in the sixth inning.
Dubois hit a two-run homer scoring Ziegler, who was on first because of a walk, Consecutive walks positioned Miller at second base. Then Brackpool came through for the Nittany Lions and blasted a double to center field, scoring Miller.
Along with encouraging play from the bottom of the lineup, Strange said starters must improve their play if they hope to garner a win this weekend over the Nittany Lions.
“Kufta needs to get it going, Kristina needs to get it going. They’re working hard on making that happen,” Strange said. “Pitchers got to hit their spots and we got to stop working from behind – got to start working ahead – [and] hit spots better.”
Maryland will have two more chances at revenge, starting Saturday at 1 p.m.