With the final crack of the bat, Allison Smith strutted off the mound confidently. Ohio State’s freshman standout had put on a pitching display against Maryland softball up to that point, whistling strikes past its bats with regularity.
And after Ruby Butler’s line drive fell harmlessly into the mitt of Buckeyes left fielder Tegan Cortelletti, Smith had something to show for it — a complete game shutout.
Smith’s dominance was too much for the Terps, who struggled to mount any offense en route to a 5-0 loss Friday afternoon.
It only took Ohio State (7-6) two innings to get ahead of Maryland. “O-H-I-O” cheers filled the air at Buckeye Field after the second frame on Friday.
In the bottom of the second, shortstop Ashley Prange stepped into the box and smashed a double to the left field fence. Right fielder Kaitlyn Coffman followed with an infield single, advancing Prange to third with no outs.
The pressure rattled sophomore right-hander Trinity Schlotterbeck. Following those two knocks, the Terps’ hurler walked Sam Hackenbracht on five pitches to load the bases for the Buckeyes with no outs.
And after a fly out, Ohio State opened the score. Taylor Pack singled to right field to bring Prange home, keeping the bases loaded. Mariah Rodriguez took to the plate and did the same, bringing Coffman home on a single to right and keeping the bases jammed.
Cortelletti stepped up. She grounded to Taylor Okada at second base and was thrown out at first, but Hackenbracht scored to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to three.
Maryland (6-7) escaped the inning on a pop out to Okada, but it never came back. The Terps barely reached base, with their best chance coming in the fourth inning.
Leading off the frame, Okada sent the ball just under the glove of Prange to earn her second hit of the day. But the middle of the order could not pick her up.
Taylor Liguori knocked a grounder to Carley Gaskill. The third baseman hurled the ball to Rodriguez at second to get Okada, and Rodriguez turned to first. She sent it to Niki Carver, and they nabbed Liguori on a double play.
And after that, Ohio State bolstered its lead. With Schlotterbeck taking a seat after 2.1 innings of five-hit, three-run ball, the Buckeyes pounced on Haley Ellefson in the fifth.
The left-hander lost control of her first pitch of the inning and plunked Carver in the helmet. Prange then walked, and with one out, she and Carver each swiped a base to put two runners in scoring position.
Then, Hackenbracht stepped into the box and smoked a single up the middle. Carver and Prange took off, both scoring on the play, to put Ohio State ahead by five.
All the while, Maryland struggled to generate any offense against Smith’s clean pitching. The right-hander recorded eight strikeouts and allowed only three hits in a complete game shutout.
And as Butler’s drive was snagged to end the contest, Smith turned to her dugout to celebrate a performance worth cheering, one that left the Terps without any answers.