Two old-time foes were locked in a pitcher’s duel when centerfielder Jaeda McFarland stepped to the plate in the sixth inning. Maryland was trailing 1-0 and had not recorded a hit since the second inning.
McFarland singled to left field to break the drought and build momentum. Amelia Lech then smashed a home run over left field, her second of the season, to give the Terps an ultimately decisive lead.
“Amelia just keeps growing as a hitter. She’s gaining more and more confidence and really working hard to turn her deficiencies, whatever they may be, into strengths. She’s really becoming a pure hitter for us,” Coach Mark Montgomery said.
Maryland defeated Virginia, 2-1, in a rivalry renewed in Chapel Hill.
“We know there’s gonna be games like this. We’re going to win some games 11-9, and we’re going to win some games 1-0. Your job is to find a way to win whatever it takes,” Montgomery said.
Both pitchers tossed complete games and kept hits at a premium.
Trinity Schlotterbeck claimed her third victory of the season, only allowing one run on two hits and striking out four batters.
“Trin went out and got us a couple 1-2-3 innings when we needed them, and that’s just maturity. That’s a kid understanding that she’s gonna throw her stuff, and she’s not trying to do too much. She’s going to keep challenging and being the best that she can be,” Montgomery said.
Eden Bigham also pitched a very solid game, with the exception of the home run. She only allowed three hits and recorded seven strikeouts.
“We beat a really good pitcher today, and I’m proud of the kids for that,” Montgomery said.
The Cavaliers got some early offensive momentum in the bottom of the first when they managed to get runners on second and third with only one out. However, two important defensive plays by Sammi Woods got Maryland out of the jam.
The Terps got two baserunners of their own in the top of the second inning, but both runners were left stranded after Taylor Liguori lined out to left for the final out.
UVA drew first blood in the bottom of the second when Lauren VanAssche got caught in a rundown between first and second base long enough for Gabby Baylog to steal home and score on the double steal. The Hoos didn’t get any hits in the inning, but two walks put the runners in place to execute the delayed steal.
Both pitchers proceeded to shut down the offenses for the next few innings.
Maryland finally broke through in the top of the sixth through the clutch two-run homer from Lech that completely turned the tide of the game.
Schlotterbeck shut UVA down in the last two innings to secure the win.
Maryland will face Virginia again on Saturday in the second game of their series.