Maryland softball was tied with Michigan State in the seventh inning. The threat of extra innings loomed in the distance.
Jaeda McFarland stepped into the batter’s box. She smoked a triple that fell to the ground behind Laney Joyner in left field. After two intentional walks to load the bases, Ruby Butler took the plate.
Butler sent a fly ball to Joyner, who tracked it down. McFarland saw her chance. She tagged up on third and took off for the plate.
Joyner fired the ball to catcher Kendall Kates, looking to catch McFarland at home. McFarland dove for the plate reached around Kates as she swept to tag her, scoring the winning run.
McFarland’s slide secured the Terps not only a 5-4 win over the Spartans, but their first doubleheader sweep and home series victory of the season.
Maryland continued its dominance at the plate from Friday into the first contest of the day against Michigan State.
In the second frame, the Terps got ahead of pitcher Ashley Miller early. Miller walked Gracie Voulgaris and Michaela Jones stepped into the batter’s box to finish the job.
Jones crushed a triple to center field and Voulgaris made it home with time to spare.
JoJo McRae knocked a line drive into the left gap. Shortstop Jenae Wash reached down to cover but the ball bounced off of her glove and into the shallow outfield.
Jones took off and crossed before the ball left the outfield to put the Terps ahead by two in the second.
Jones struck again in the third frame, with Campbell Kline on second and Voulgaris on first.
Jones tapped a bunt in front of pitcher Sarah Ladd. Ladd fielded the ball and hurled it to Mackenzie Meech at first base. But the throw flew into the outfield.
Kline advanced to third on the hit and sprinted home on the overthrow to score a third run for Maryland.
Jones took a heavy lead from first. She wasn’t halfway to second when catcher Kendall Kates caught her stealing. Kates fired a throw to Caitie Ladd at second base.
But Ladd dropped the ball, and Voulgaris saw her chance. She bolted from third to score and Jones earned a spot in scoring position.
And Taylor Liguori hit her home, bouncing a ball over the head of Sarah Ladd in the circle and reaching Courtney Callahan in center field. She fired into the infield to try and catch Jones at home, but her throw veered left, allowing Jones to score.
Maryland knocked in its final run of the contest in the fourth.
With Regan Kerr on second, Kline blasted a triple to the center-field fence. Kerr crossed the plate — offering the Terps enough separation for a 6-1 win.
Michigan State had its moments, though. Meech crushed one of the Spartans’ two hits against Jennifer Brann. She homered and scored Michigan State’s only run of the game.
The start of the second contest looked much like the first. The Terps scored two runs early in the game. With Kerr and McFarland on, Kline singled to third base and knocked in the runners.
But this time, the Spartans would answer back.
In the second, Zaquai Dumas took the plate with Camryn Wincher and Kendall Kates on base. She singled to the infield and Wincher scored to put Michigan State on the board.
Another single, followed by a sac fly to center in the third, and the Spartans led, 4-2 after three.
However, Maryland clawed its way back into the game. In the fourth frame, Jones pushed the Terps closer to a tie. She scorched a home run over the left-field fence and onto the street to put the Terps within one run of the Spartans.
McRae followed shortly after with a double to left field and Taylor Liguori tied the game with a single down the left field line.
And Ellefson played hero, sending the ball far enough into left field for McFarland to rush home — clinching the Terps’ that elusive doubleheader sweep.