By Dominic Gugliotta
The Terps came into their doubleheader on Tuesday at 16-27 overall and (5-7) in the Big Ten conference. Maryland looked to end its three-game losing streak and gain some momentum toward the second half of the season facing off against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Terps were able to defeat the Scarlet Knights by a score of 5-2. The Terps received another great pitching performance from freshman phenom Ryan Denhart.
Denhart delivered a solid outing of 6.2 innings pitched and only allowed three earned runs to the dangerous Rutgers lineup. Denhart received her ninth win of the season in her 21st start for Maryland. Junior Sydney Golden brought home a save as she entered in the top of the 7th inning with the bases loaded and two outs. Golden did give up one walk, which surrendered a run, but she remained composed and delivered a huge strikeout against Rutgers’ Hailey Hoklotubbe.
Rutgers started off the afternoon getting on the board right in the first inning with an Myah Moy single that scored Hoklotubbe. Denhart was able to end the inning with one of her five strikeouts total in the game to Nicole Bowman.
The Terps responded right away in the bottom-half of the inning with an RBI single by catcher Anna Kufta. Kufta got ahead of a fastball from Rutgers pitcher Whitney Jones and evened up the score by bringing home Amanda Brashear.
The Terps continued this momentum into the bottom of the second inning where Jacqui Pascual singled to lead-off the inning. The very next pitch, Bailey Boyd hammered a double putting Pascual on third with no outs. The Terps stranded both baserunners however, as three straight pop outs ended the inning for Maryland with nothing to show for their efforts.
Denhart started to get into a groove up until the top of the fourth where Myah Moy continued her offensive output with a solo home run to left-center field. Once again, the Terps used the bottom half of the inning to tack on the tying run. Power hitter Brigette Nordberg added her 11th double of the season to lead-off the inning. She was immediately driven in by Jacqui Pascual and the Terps evened the score at two.
The deciding inning of the contest was the fifth inning for the victorious Terrapins. In this frame, the Terps were able to take the lead with another RBI single from sophomore Anna Kufta The Terps also racked on two additional runs with key baserunning by both Kufta and Nordberg. Their ability to score off a Sky Ellazar fielder’s choice put the Terps up by three.
In receiving her first save of the year, Golden was able to get out of the bases loaded jam and limit the damage to only one run, preserving the 5-3 win for the Terps.
Coming off a win in the first game of the doubleheader against Rutgers, Maryland tried to take both games of the doubleheader and get back to a .500 record in the Big Ten.
The game started out rough for the Terrapins as Rutgers’ leadoff batter Jess Hughes singled to right field and advanced to third on an error by right fielder Destiney Henderson. Hughes was later brought in for the first run of the game on a fielder’s choice by Rebecca Hall.
Maryland took advantage of a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the second inning to tie the game at one. Infielder Mikayla Werahiko drove in Anna Kufta with a single that evened up the score and shifted the momentum of the contest.
Both teams experienced extremely quick innings until Rutgers finally took back the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Golden gave up three walks in the inning but was able to only sacrifice one run as a one out double by Meaghan Wells drove in the go-ahead run for the Scarlet Knights.
With Maryland hitters still trying to figure out their plan of attack for Rutgers’ sophomore pitcher Cambria Keefer, Rutgers erupted in the top of the sixth inning. Six combined hits off starter Sydney Golden and relief pitcher Sami Main rewarded Rutgers with a commanding 7-1 lead with the Terps only six outs away from splitting the doubleheader.
The Terps however, had different plans to their evening. Sky Ellazar led off the bottom of the sixth with a powerful solo shot to left-center field to get her teammates going. Anna Kufta followed this home run by Ellazar as the very next batter closing the gap to only four. After an RBI double from Mikayla Werahiko, Amanda Brashear obliterated a fastball off relief pitcher Bianca Vozenelik for a three-run home run to tie the game at seven runs apiece. The Terps had countered Rutgers’ outstanding five-run inning, with a six-run inning of their own.
Ryan Denhart came in for relief for the Terps in the top of sixth and was able to pitch 1.1 innings without giving up a hit in a tie ballgame. The tremendous pitching by Denhart gave the Terps a chance in the bottom of the seventh to finish off the Scarlet Knights and complete the comeback.
Sky Ellazar led off the final frame with a double to right field putting game-winning run in scoring position. After Kufta grounded out, Brigette Nordberg singled to left field and Ellazar was able to advance only to third as she was held up there by Head Coach Julie Wright. Nordberg advanced to second on heads-up baserunning by the sophomore from Exton, Pa. Then Jacqui Pascual came up to the plate and lined a single over the right fielder’s head producing the 8-7 walk-off victory for the Terps.
The victory for the Terps puts them now at 18-27 on the season and (7-7) in the Big Ten conference. Maryland will now turn their attention to getting above .500 in the Big Ten as the Terps have a three-game set against the Michigan Wolverines starting Friday in Ann Arbor.