Down 6-0 on a rainy Senior Day, Maryland softball’s offense had just one hit through four innings against Michigan pitcher Meghan Beaubien, who entered Sunday with the fifth-best ERA in the Big Ten.
Two days earlier, she racked up six strikeouts in 5 ⅓ innings to easily dispatch the Terps, 6-1. She stayed the course in her start Sunday, not allowing a hit through three innings and ensuring the Maryland lineup didn’t break out of its slump.
But in the fifth frame, the Terps suddenly had life.
Catcher Gracie Voulgaris drove a single to right-center field, and two more singles loaded the bases. Left fielder Micaela Abbatine came through with a two-RBI single up the middle, cutting Michigan’s lead to 6-2. Pitcher Alex Storako took over, issuing two walks — one that drove in a run — to reload the bases. But Maryland’s rally was short-lived. The right-hander tightened up with three consecutive strikeouts, abruptly ending the Terps’ comeback.
Despite Maryland’s brief offensive surge, Michigan’s firepower proved too much for the Maryland pitching staff, and the Wolverines swept the Terps on Senior Day with a 12-3 win. Maryland ended its season on an eight-game losing streak after being eliminated from Big Ten tournament contention with Saturday’s loss.
“I thought there was good fight there,” coach Julie Wright said. “I would have like to see a little more clutch hitting there with the bases loaded, but [Storako] did a good job pitching.”
Both senior pitchers — Sydney Golden and Sami Main — manned the circle for the first five innings, before the younger players on the pitching staff took over.
The first inning was scoreless for both teams, but as the rain picked up later on in the game, so did Michigan’s runs.
The Wolverines stranded two runners in the first, but Maryland answered by retiring in order, a familiar sequence for the Terps’ offense this weekend.
Michigan plated three runs on three hits in the second frame. After right fielder Haley Hoogenraad reached second on a fielding error from third baseman Anna Kufta, the Wolverines sent her home on an RBI double from second baseman Faith Canfield.
Then, just three pitches later, center fielder Natalie Peters brought home two more runs on a single to center field to give her team a 3-0 lead.
The Terps could not string together any offense for the next two innings, with no hits until the bottom of the fourth. Beaubien struck out center fielder JoJo McRae to lead off the inning — McRae’s second of the day — but right fielder Amanda Brashear finally broke through for the team’s first hit with a bunt single.
Kufta was then hit by a pitch, putting her on first, but both she and Brashear were left on base after shortstop Natalia Rodriguez snagged a line drive off first baseman Taylor Wilson’s bat.
Riding the defensive momentum, the Wolverines hit back-to-back singles to open the fifth inning. And Michigan took advantage of its opportunities to go up 6-0 on the Terps.
And though Maryland’s offense came to life in the bottom half, it left three runners on base after Storako carefully worked her way out of the jam.
“[Storako] kind of kept us off balance with her change-up and her rise,” Boyd said, “and it was just about being a little more disciplined, so that is what I think that’s what we could have done better.”
Kiana Carr — the Terps’ third pitcher of the day — entered in the circle in the top of the sixth, but the pitching change did nothing to stop Michigan’s powerful lineup. The Wolverines scored two more runs off Carr before redshirt freshman Victoria Galvan claimed the circle, but Michigan added two more to go up 10-3.
In the top of the seventh, the Terps’ deficit grew to nine runs, enough to easily down a Maryland squad that stumbled to the finish line this season with its eighth straight loss, playing itself out of the postseason.
“[The younger pitchers] are very malleable,” Main said. “There’s definitely some up-and-coming leadership that’s going to prove dividends for the team in the future.”