Pitcher Izzy Berouty walked JoJo McRae to start Rutgers’ game against Maryland softball on Saturday.
Jaeda McFarland and Taylor Okada followed with singles. The bases were loaded with no outs for the Terps in the first frame.
Sammie Stefan took the plate and watched a pitch pass by. On the next pitch, she swung, and the ball rocketed off her bat. It soared beyond the Rutgers “R” in center field and over the fence.
The cheers from Maryland’s dugout reverberated through the stadium. The runners high-fived coach Mark Montgomery as they jogged down the third base line and McRae jumped in celebration at the plate.
That grand slam would be all the Terps needed to spark their triumph over the Scarlet Knights, 6-2. Montgomery’s squad finished the game with six runs on 12 hits, and all but one of its runs scored was the product of a homer.
Maryland put runners in scoring position in five of the seven innings. McRae, McFarland and Okada jammed the bases for Stefan again in the second frame, but Stefan fouled out to Anyssa Iliopoulos to end the inning.
Rutgers didn’t strike until the third frame. Hailey Hoklotubbe, who watched Stefan’s grand slam fly over her head from center field, answered first.
Hoklotubbe crushed a home run over the right field fence and took a solo lap to put the Scarlet Knights on the board.
Two batters later, Payton Lincavage delivered. With Taylor Lane on first, Lincavage dropped a double over McRae’s head in right field. Lane initially paused at second, but McRae bobbled the ball, and she charged to the plate.
Lane slid into home before McRae’s throw entered the infield to slash the Terps’ lead in half.
Maryland struggled to generate any offense after Stefan’s grand slam. But in the fifth, Michaela Jones broke through again.
Jones laced the Terps’ second homer of the day — and her second of the series — over the left field fence.
In the seventh inning, Maryland loaded the bases for the third time. Montgomery sent Caitlyn Koenig to the plate to finish the job. She hacked foul after foul and racked up a full count.
Ashley Hitchcock’s pitch was low, and Koenig got a free pass to first. The walk sent Ruby Butler home from third to tack another run on to the Terps’ lead.
Courtney Wyche finished the game retiring the final three Rutgers batters in order. She has pitched a combined 9.2 scoreless innings so far in the series. Maryland earned its second straight win after a step up in production from its offense.