After Maryland softball lost its grip in a close first game, Michaela Jones was ready to make an impact. She hit a sacrifice fly in her first at bat, and she did better on the next.
With Jaeda McFarland and JoJo McRae on base, Jones smoked a homer over the left field fence of the Rutgers Softball Complex. The three runners took a lap to put the Terps ahead, 4-0.
But they weren’t done. Immediately after Jones’ bomb, Megan Mikami crushed a solo homer over the opposite fence.
Rutgers took Friday afternoon’s first contest, 3-1. But what started as a pitchers’ duel in game two changed in one inning for the Scarlet Knights. Maryland took the second game on a huge offensive rebound, 5-0. The Terps earned their second shutout of the season.
Right-hander Ashley Hitchcock found her way into a jam in the third inning of the first game. She walked Gracie Voulgaris, and McRae dropped a single to left field to advance Voulgaris to third.
McFarland followed at the plate. She chipped foul after foul until she finally tapped one straight to Taylor Lane at second base. Lane fired to catcher Kiersten Withstandley at the plate to catch Voulgaris running home for the first out of the inning.
Hitchcock walked Taylor Okada to load the bases and set up a force at every bag. And Rutgers used that to its advantage. Lane threw McRae out at the plate on an infield knock by Haley Ellefson, and the bases were still loaded.
Hitchcock then struck out Taylor Liguori, and the Scarlet Knights kept the game scoreless.
Campbell Kline made up for Maryland’s lost offense in the next frame. She smoked a home run just in fair territory over the right field fence. The sophomore broke through a pitchers duel on her first career homer.
Jennifer Brann was burning through Rutgers’ batting order from the circle. The Scarlet Knights had only one baserunner through the first four innings.
But a homer in the sixth by Kiana Workman changed the tides.
Leilani Chavez singled, and Payton Lincavage and Gabrielle Callaway walked to load the bases.
Brann was in a jam. And it got the best of her. She hit Withstandley, and Rutgers took a 2-1 lead. Anyssa Iliopoulos hit a sacrifice fly to score Lincavage for an insurance run to take the first game, 3-1.
The Terps’ offense came out early in their second game against the Scarlet Knights. McRae, the new leadoff hitter, opened the game with a double, and McFarland followed with a single and a steal of second. Okada singled to put runners on the corners.
Jones flew out to Hailey Hoklotubbe in center field. Hoklotubbe saw McFarland take off to the plate, and she fired a throw to Withstandley. But McFarland outran the ball and scored in the first inning.
Two innings later, Jones struck again with a three-run homer, and Mikami followed suit with a solo blast to extend the Maryland’s lead.
Rutgers didn’t crack the scoreboard in the second game. Courtney Wyche pitched a complete game shutout while only allowing three hits to secure the Terps’ 5-0 win.