Maryland softball defeats Illinois, keeps NCAA tournament hopes alive

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

By Sununu Bah

A five-run fourth inning powered Maryland softball (34-16) past Illinois (28-24), 6-2, Friday evening in a must-win game that keeps the Terps’ NCAA Tournament aspirations alive.

Maryland capitalized on a series of miscues by the Fighting Illini. Sammi Woods’ single up the middle gave the Terps their second run of the game and advanced Woods to second base. Afterward, Woods advanced to third after Megan Mikami was out on first. This set up Woods’ score on an Illinois wild pitch.  

A fielding error by Big Ten first-teamer and Illinois second baseman Avery Steiner off a Jaeda McFarland ground ball led to a Kiley Goff score. McFarland scored once Mackense Greico slammed a homer to left field. Greico ended her night with two RBIs and one run. 

Last season seven teams in the Big Ten Conference were picked to play in the Big Ten Tournament but Maryland, 9-11 in Big Ten play, currently sits in 10th place. 

Despite the motivation to come out hot, it took the Terps some time to get things going. The Terps only scored one running in the first three innings. 

That run came as a result of great base movement by the Terps. Woods and Michaela Jones and Mikami stole bases in the inning. Mikami’s single led to a Jones score. Maryland had four total stolen bases on the day. 

The Fighting Illini scored their only runs off an RBI double in the sixth inning. 

Maryland’s 34th win today, ties the most wins they have had since 2012. 

Maryland will play the Fighting Illini again tomorrow at 2 p.m. in their second of three matchups.