By Justin Fitzgerald
After building a 7-1 lead in the fourth inning, Maryland looked to be on their way to their first conference win. But by the seventh, Nebraska had cut the lead to 7-4 and had runners on second and third against Brenna Nation.
Nebraska’s Maddie Fowler hit a groundball to second, and Corey Schwartz fielded it cleanly and threw to first baseman Hannah Dewey to retire Fowler. Dewey then realized that Hannah Jablonski was caught in a rundown between second and third, and fired the ball to Lindsey Schmeiser, who put the tag on Jablonski.
The play preserved a 7-4 win for the Terps, who improved 8-23 overall and 1-3 in Big 10 play, while Nebraska dropped to 20-12 and 1-3 in the Big 10.
“We played a complete game, the style of softball that we had been talking about playing all year,” head coach Julie Wright said.
Junior Madison Martin made just her fourth start of the season, and held a Nebraska lineup that usually scores over five runs a game to just 3.
She gave up a leadoff walk to Kiki Stokes to start the game, but then struck out MJ Knighten, who has already hit 15 homeruns this season. She also got help from her catcher, as Kristina Dillard threw out Stokes when she tried to steal second.
It wasn’t the last jam Martin had to pitch through. With one out in the third, Martin gave up a single to Lauren Barrows and hit Stokes, but rallied to retire the final two batters of the inning. She also ran into trouble in the fifth, giving up four straight hits, which led to two Nebraska runs that cut the lead to 7-3 with only one out in the inning. But just like the third, Martin retired the next two batters to end the rally.
“My changeup was definitely working tonight, it was really helpful to keep them off speed,” Martin said.
Nebraska got on the board in the second, as Alyvia Simmons homered to center, but Maryland answered back in the third, scoring two runs to take the lead.
Julie Henderson doubled to start the inning, and then advanced to third on a bunt single by Kylie Datil. Datil was then thrown out at second on a fielders’ choice by Sarah Calta, but Henderson scored on a throwing error by Nebraska second baseman Barrow. Skylynne Ellazar then doubled to left field to score Calta, giving Maryland a 2-1 lead. Schmeiser walked to load the bases, but Emily Lockman replaced Nebraska starter Cassie McClure and retired the next two batters.
Things would not go as smoothly for Lockman in the fourth. After giving up a single to Dillard, she got two outs on fielders choices.
But Lockman would not get another out. Calta and Ellazar hit back-to-back singles, and Datil scored on Ellazar’s single with a great silde to avoid the tag. After Schmeiser singled, Dewey hit a two run double and Sarah Lang hit a two run single, and the Terps had a 7-1 lead. Lockman was pulled for Jablonski, who walked Schwartz before finally getting Dillard to line out to end the inning.
The two teams will play tomorrow at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. If Maryland wins either of those games, it will be their first series win this season.