By Daniel Bernstein
Maryland softball fell to Illinois 14-8 in a wild back and forth affair that included 28 hits and five home runs.
The Terrapins started well, scoring once in the first and three times in the second to take an early 4-1 lead. But Illinois came roaring right back with a three run home run off the bat of left fielder Nicole Evans.
The Fighting Illini scored twice to take a 6-4 lead in the fourth inning, and they could have had more if not for a sensational diving catch by Lindsey Schmeiser in center field with two runners aboard.
The Terrapins found themselves down 7-5 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth with Juli Strange at the plate. Strange, who was already 2-for-2, blasted a ball over the center field fence for a dramatic game-tying home run. Kylie Datil, Maryland’s next hitter, continued the fireworks with a solo home run of her own to give the Terrapins an 8-7 advantage heading into the sixth.
Unfortunately for the Terrapins, Illinois continued to hit the ball hard over the final two frames, pulling away to secure a six run victory capped by another three-run homer.
Maryland falls to 23-18 on the season with a 5-6 conference record. They will finish their series against Illinois tomorrow at 1 p.m.