By Eddie Hobbs
Maryland (8-26-1) took on Northwestern (15-20) this weekend for the first time since the Terps moved into the BIG 10 Conference. Maryland has been struggling as of late as they have a 1-9 record in their last 10 games. The first BIG 10 win of the year was within the Terps grasp as they took on a struggling Wildcat team who got swept by no. 20 Michigan last weekend. The three game set started out rough with Maryland’s flight being cancelled due to the weather, the game scheduled on Friday was moved to Saturday and the teams would play a double header.
In the first game on Saturday, Maryland took control of the game early as they jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Juli Strange was hit by a pitch in the first at bat and Amanda Brashear hit a single. Both runners were able to advance on an error by the Wildcats first baseman. Anna Kufta singled to center field and drove in Strange, then Skylynne Ellazar stepped up to bat and delivered a single as well. Brashear was able to score on a throwing error by Northwestern’s second baseman. Hannah Dewey then laid down a SAC bunt to drive in Kufta, and the Terps took advantage of three errors by Northwestern.
Later in the frame, Northwestern would step up and deliver a huge inning as the Wildcats were able to score six runs in the inning. Maryland’s starting pitcher Madison Martin wasn’t able to get settled in the game as she only had 2.2 innings pitched in the contest. Martin would give up five hits and six earned runs. Maryland was outworked in the rest of the game and was only able to score one run in the last six innings compared to Northwestern’s five in the 11-4 loss.
In the second game of the back to back, Northwestern was able to jump out to the early 3-0 lead. Northwestern was able to get two on base and outfielder Anna Petersen hit a three run shot to deliver the first blow of the game. Maryland would remain quiet until a huge fourth inning started by Kufta who homered over the left center wall. Dewey doubled down the left field line to bring Sarah Calta across home plate and Jordan Aughinbaugh singled to drive in Ellazar. The game was all tied up after the top of the fourth, 3-3.
The lead wouldn’t last as Northwestern answered back in the bottom of the fourth with three runs of their own. Northwestern was able to get the best of Maryland pitcher Hannah Dewey, as she gave up six hits and six runs in six innings pitched. The Terps tried to fight their way back into the game and scored two runs in the fifth and sixth innings to bring the score to 6-5. In the seventh Maryland wasn’t able to get much going and dropped the game 6-5.
On Sunday the tides changed for Maryland as they were able to capture their first BIG 10 conference win of the year. Maryland scored five runs in the second inning and didn’t need any more support as Madison Martin had a strong showing in Sunday’s game. Martin only allowed four hits throughout the game, and she shut down Northwestern every time they tried to regain the lead.
Through the sixth innings Northwestern stranded eight runners and Martin was doing a great job getting out of jams. In the fourth inning with two on base at second and third, Martin struck out Northwestern’s Marissa Panko to end the inning. In the fifth inning with the bases loaded Martin got the Wildcat’s Morgan Newport to strike out swinging. Yet again with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Martin had her third straight strikeout to end the frame. The Terps bent but did not break in this one and were able to hold off the Wildcats with the 5-4 win.
Maryland is coming back home to face off against the Michigan Wolverines next Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.