Ohio State shelled Maryland softball’s pitching staff en route to a 22-0 win on Sunday to sweep the opening series of Big Ten play. The Buckeyes scored 13 runs in the second inning to take control, winning in five frames.
The 22-run deficit tied the program’s largest margin of defeat, set in Maryland’s 26-4 loss to Nebraska in April.
“It’s not the way the game is meant to be played,” coach Julie Wright said. “Hitting is very contagious, and you get hot like that, then weird stuff happens in the game. … They rolled, and when hitters get to rolling like that, sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do up there — they’re going to hit.”
Maryland’s five pitchers allowed 19 hits, but 12 walks and four errors in the field added to the Terps’ demise. Those mistakes, Wright said, were “brutal.”
Pitcher Hannah Dewey struggled to find the strike zone in the first inning, walking four batters and hitting another. With the bases loaded and two outs, Buckeyes outfielder Taylor White came to the plate. The junior had hit a grand slam in Ohio State’s 10-6 win on Saturday and a three-run homer on Friday in the 6-2 victory.
This time, Dewey walked White on four straight pitches to bring home the first run of the inning. Then, a pop fly that would’ve ended the inning landed between infielders Anna Kufta and Juli Strange, scoring another. Dewey walked another batter to land in a 3-0 hole.
The missed popup was a lack of communication, Wright admitted.
“We just talked about that in pregame,” Wright said, citing it as a reason she was visibly upset in her first-inning visit to the circle.
“That’s a lack of focus on their part, and that was discussed,” she continued. “They need to understand that’s a really important thing — the communication and helping each other see things that you don’t see when you’re going after a ball.”
The bases on balls continued to pile up in the second frame. Ohio State infielder Anna Kirk led the inning with one and scored after two singles. Pitcher Madison Martin came on in relief, and while the redshirt senior didn’t allow a walk, Ohio State tagged her for seven additional runs, including a grand slam from infielder Lilli Piper.
After the game, Wright maintained fatigue wasn’t a factor for Dewey and Martin, who pitched in each contest of the series.
“They’re healthy, and they’re feeling good,” Wright said. “It’s just great hitters, when you get several looks … it’s tough to hold them down.”
Ari Jarvis replaced Martin with two outs in the second, but she didn’t escape the inning until after the Buckeyes put up 13 runs to grab a 16-0 lead. A leadoff homer off Jarvis in the third was Ohio State’s seventh long ball in the series.
Before the fifth-inning mercy rule took effect, Jarvis and pitchers Sami Main and Lauren Graves took the circle for an inning apiece. It was Main’s first full inning of the season, and Graves’ 10th inning of work.
“They’ve got some work to do, and I wanted them to see what the work was,” Wright said. “We kind of know where they’re at, but it’s really important they know where they’re at.”