Maryland softball dabbles in the extremes. The Terps have played six games that had extra innings, and they’ve both won and lost by mercy-rule. They racked up hits against Michigan’s Meghan Beaubien and Northwestern’s Danielle Williams, whose names cover the Big Ten’s pitching leaderboards. But they were shut out by Penn State, the last-place team in the conference.
Nebraska has a similar track record. The Cornhuskers have played multiple games of extra innings, and they’ve also both triumphed and fallen by mercy-rule. They beat No. 19 Michigan but lost to Penn State.
These teams with similar inconsistencies will play this weekend in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers are one of three teams that sit at 16-16 in the middle of the conference standings.
The Terps hope to carry the momentum from their walk-off series win against the Nittany Lions, taking on the Cornhuskers and aiming for a .500 standing as well.
“We have a lot of momentum going on our side right now, coming off of our series win, so as long as we continue to bring energy throughout every game, there’s nothing more you can ask for,” infielder Taylor Okada said.
Okada had a successful weekend against Penn State, earning the most hits for her squad with six in the series.
Okada gave credit to Ruby Butler for her performance last weekend as well. The junior shortstop has earned a spot atop the Big Ten leaderboards with four triples this season, tied for first in the conference with fellow Terp Jaeda McFarland.
“We also have Ruby who played very well,” Okada said. “It’s collectively a team win, and no matter how good one person performs, it’s really about the team effort.”
The Terps lead the conference with 19 triples on the season, which is a nod to their aggressive baserunning and confidence at the plate.
“You go up to the plate with the confidence, you don’t hope that the confidence comes when you’re up there,” coach Mark Montgomery said.
Nebraska’s ace Olivia Ferrell’s name also appears on the conference leaderboards. Ferrell is in the top ten in strikeouts, wins and strikeouts looking.
But Maryland feels ready after two months of facing some of the fiercest pitchers in the conference.
“I think we are prepared for what she’s bringing, and hopefully our practice from this week can show on the field,” Okada said.
If the Terps can arrive in Nebraska and execute their vision, Montgomery and Okada are hopeful they can be selected for the NCAA tournament. Beating the Cornhuskers would be crucial to their selection.
“We can make a real push to go to a regional,” Montgomery said. “There’s a lot of things still within our grasp with 12 games to play. So I want us to capitalize and I think [the players] do too.”