Maryland softball knew scoring would be difficult against No. 14 Michigan and its dominant pitching staff, which entered the weekend series with the 10th-best ERA in the nation.
On Friday, Wolverines ace Meghan Beaubien backed up those stats and showed why she was the No. 6 recruit in the 2017 class and one of the Big Ten’s most-feared pitchers, holding the Terps to one hit and striking out seven in Michigan’s 6-0 win in the series-opener.
Beaubien allowed just two Terps to reach base, one via a fifth-inning error and one on a sixth-inning bunt single by second baseman Skylynne Ellazar. The left-hander did not issue a walk in the complete game. The win moved her to 26-2 on the season and lowered her ERA to 0.77.
The six-run loss continued Maryland’s struggles against top pitching. The Terps (18-28, 7-8 Big Ten) have scored five runs in their eight games against ranked teams this season, being shut out three times. Maryland lost all eight of those games by an average of almost eight runs.
With two more games against the Wolverines (36-7, 11-1) this weekend, the Terps are likely see Beaubien start at least once more.
She worked extremely efficiently and accurately Friday, needing just 84 pitches to complete the shutout and throwing 62 of those pitches for strikes. Beaubien threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 23 batters she faced and allowed only two balls to be hit out of the infield, both outs to right field.
Maryland starter Ryan Denhart was unable to match her fellow freshman in the circle. She allowed five hits, walked four and hit a batter. The right-hander was also hurt by poor defense behind her, as three Maryland errors allowed the Wolverines two unearned runs.
Michigan jumped in front in the first inning, loading the bases with one out and scoring two runs on right fielder Aidan Falk’s double. Catcher Katie Alexander followed with a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-0.
The same combination did more damage in the third inning. Falk scored a run with a sacrifice fly before Alexander tripled in another run to push the lead to 5-0. The Wolverines added an unearned run in the next frame.