Before playing in the Aquafina Invitational, Maryland softball coach Julie Wright admitted No. 1 Florida would get hits against the Terps.
“We’re not worried about that,” she said. “It’s more about what they’re doing with runners in scoring position.”
The Terps’ 4-2 upset win over the top-ranked team unfolded how Wright expected it to. Pitchers Hannah Dewey and Madison Martin allowed six hits and six walks, offering Florida plenty of baserunners, but the Gators couldn’t capitalize on their best scoring opportunities.
They finished 2-for-9 with runners in scoring positions and did not have an extra-base hit, allowing Maryland to hold on for its first win of the season in nine tries. The victory is also the Terps’ first over a ranked foe since 2012.
“Lisa Norris called a great game,” Wright said of the Terps pitching coach. “Our pitchers just did what they were supposed to do, which was just hit their spots, and they really concentrated and focused pitch-to-pitch and they stayed present, and that was the biggest difference.”
[READ MORE: Maryland softball’s offense struggled at the Aquafina Invitational — until it downed No. 1 Florida]
After giving up two runs in the first inning, Dewey shut down the Gators. She did not give up a hit in the third, fourth or fifth innings.
“It was just get the sign and throw the pitch,” Dewey said. “I didn’t really notice who I was facing anymore. They weren’t Florida, or the No. 1 team in the nation. It was just another team.”
Dewey’s afternoon ended in the sixth frame after three walks, a base running error and a single. Martin replaced her, faced with a bases-loaded, one-out scenario.
And after allowing one run over six innings in the loss to Florida A&M in the morning, Martin came through again. She struck out her first batter and induced a groundout to end the threat. She gave up two singles in the final frame, but closed out the game with two more groundouts.
With her teammates celebrating around her, Martin appeared unphased after one of the biggest wins in program history.
Final moment, Maryland gets its first win of the season over #1 Florida! @NCAAsoftball @umterps #Believe #FearTheTurtle pic.twitter.com/WlO93mxR9i
— Maryland Softball (@TerpsSoftball) February 18, 2017
“We’ve done it before, and winning is something we need to get used to,” Martin said of her composure walking out of the circle, though she admitted she was excited on the inside. “I kind of expected it to happen, and very proud that we did it.”
Maryland’s last win over a ranked opponent before Saturday came a year before the redshirt senior started her college career. The Terps beat No. 11 Michigan, No. 22 Kentucky and No. 19 Florida State that year en route to finishing 34-22.
“That is what Madison Martin does. She is stone cold,” Wright said. “When she competes, she expects herself to do really well and expects great things from herself.”
Florida has hit 27 extra base hits this season, including 12 homers, but the Terps were the second team this season to hold the Gators without one. To combat that power, Maryland’s pitchers worked the outside of the plate.
“Any hitter will tell you, for the most part, that it’s a lot harder to hit the pitch that’s further outside than it is to hit the one inside,” Dewey said.
Like Wright, Dewey credited Norris, the pitching coach, with the game plan.
“She’s a mastermind when it comes to that kind of stuff,” Dewey said. “She knows how to pick apart hitters, and I think she does a really good job at calling a game and she knows what pitches should be called in certain situations. So, it’s nice not having to think about. I just get the pitch and throw it.”