Maryland softball was in extra innings again. It was tied at three in the bottom of the eighth. The Hawkeyes were at-bat with the chance to walk it off.
Lindy Milkowski took the batter’s box with one out and Grace Banes on second base.
Milkowski made contact, the ball sent flying to left field. Outfielder Campbell Kline dove to make the catch.
But she missed. The ball hit the ground and Banes took off to the plate. She crossed before the Terps can make a play, sealing a 4-3 win for Iowa in dramatic walk-off fashion in the eighth inning.
But it had been a tight game in Leesburg, Florida.
Iowa got on the board early in the first inning. Nia Carter hit a bouncing single to the infield. Ruby Butler fielded the ball at shortstop, but sent the ball over Regan Kerr’s head at first. Carter earned second and the Hawkeyes were in scoring position.
Grace Banes stepped into the batter’s box with a chance to give her team an early lead. And she delivered, rocketing a single on the ground through the right-field gap. Carter crossed the plate for the Hawkeyes’ first run of the day.
Iowa had the bases loaded later in the first. With Aralee Bogar at the plate, pitcher Courtney Wyche was under pressure. Wyche fired a pitch that grazed the edge of catcher Gracue Voulgaris’ glove and Banes stole home on the passed ball.
But Iowa couldn’t keep hold of its lead in the second frame.
Hawkeyes pitcher Sarah Lehman walked Trinity Schlotterbeck and Michaela Jones to put the Terps in scoring position. JoJo McRae took the plate and crushed a triple to the fences in center field. Schlotterbeck and Jones both scored to tie the game at two.
However, the Terps lost their footing in the third frame.
Denali Loecker popped a fly ball to right field and Taylor Okada ran to cover from second base. She couldn’t get under the ball fast enough and it dropped out of her glove. Loecker sprinted to second on the error.
Next, Lindy Milkowski flied to shallow right and the ball dropped just in front of McRae. She shot the ball to Voulgaris, but couldn’t beat Loecker to the plate. The Hawkeyes took the lead again, 3-2.
And then Ligouri made it interesting, setting up the game for a dramatic finish.
Maryland was down by one in the top of the sixth. Trinity Schlotterbeck hit a bouncing single to Sammy Diaz at third base.
Diaz rocketed the ball to Denali Loecker at first base. It flew by her as she nearly dropped into splits to reach it — and Schlotterbeck earned second on the error.
Michaela Jones followed by bouncing a single through the left-field gap to advance Megan Mikami, pinch-running for Schlotterbeck, to third base.
On the next batter, Iowa catcher Lindy Milkowski fired the ball to third to snag Mikami stealing and Jones advanced to put herself into scoring position.
Taylor Liguori stepped into the box with two outs. She rocketed a single through the left-field gap and Mikami and Jones took off.
Mikami made it to the plate before the ball and tied the game at three in the sixth inning.
And after a quiet seventh inning, the two teams headed into extras.
But the Terps had the chance to reclaim the lead in the eighth. Katie Dustin stepped to the plate with Okada on second. She shot a single into right, but Carter threw a rocket to throw Okada out at home. And the Terps couldn’t rally from there.
Milkowski played hero for the Hawkeyes, shooting a single into left field to win it.
So, in a back and forth contest, Maryland was unable to capitalize on some crucial situations, leaving runners on base and made to rue occasional errors.
And they left Leesburg with a series loss, falling 2-1 against another strong Big Ten opponent.