Despite scoring in the first inning in eight games this season, the Maryland softball team has lost five of those games and tied another. Against UC Riverside on Saturday, the Terps scored two runs in the first inning and went on to secure a 6-3 win, their fourth in 22 games this season.
In their second victory of the year — a 3-0 triumph versus Bowling Green on Feb. 24 — Maryland relied solely on its first-inning runs. But against the Highlanders, the Terps added enough insurance runs to counteract the Highlanders’ three-run sixth inning.
Before the Highlander Classic, coach Julie Wright admitted her team was playing “five-inning games or six-inning games.” The Terps’ performance in the other frames, though, led to defeats.
Saturday, pitcher Madison Martin cruised through the first five innings, allowing two hits albeit giving up five walks. But she ran into trouble in the sixth inning due to an error, a bunt single and a hit batter. A single and a throwing error brought in three runs.
In the seventh inning, pitcher Hannah Dewey replaced Martin to secure the Terps’ first win of the Highlander Classic. Outfielder Amanda Brashear, designated player Sarah Calta and catcher Kristina Dillard each had two hits in the victory.
Maryland capitalized on a Highlanders error in the first inning. After outfielder Destiney Henderson was hit by a pitch, infielder Anna Kufta reached base on a miscue by the right fielder. Infielder Skylynne Ellazar struck out before Dillard scored both runners with a double for a 2-0 lead.
The Terps added three runs in the third inning. Three-straight singles loaded the bases, and outfielder Kassidy Cross walked to score Ellazar. Martin then hit a sacrifice fly before Brashear’s two-out infield single plated infielder Juli Strange.
Martin again helped her own cause in the fifth with an RBI single to score Cross. But with pinch runner Sami Main on third and Calta on first, a foul out and fielder’s choice ended the frame.
UC Riverside threatened in the sixth, adding three runs on two hits. But Dewey closed the door in the seventh. Highlanders designated player Sarah Parten singled, but a fielder’s choice and a pop out ended the game.