Maryland softball’s offense had been anemic all day against Fairfield pitcher Allie Bridgman. Up until the seventh inning, the Terps had only managed to scratch out one run on four hits, the lone score being a solo home run by sophomore Amelia Lech.
It was a late inning explosion by the bottom-half of the lineup that saved the Terps. Maryland avoided the upset bid due to a junior Kiley Goff walk off double, prevailing 4-3 against Fairfield and improving to 16-4 overall.
Senior pitcher Courtney Wyche kept Maryland in the game from the pitching circle, holding Fairfield to just three runs on three hits. Wyche didn’t surrender a run after the third inning, giving the Terps ample time to provide run support.
That run support would not come until the last frame, when the bottom of the lineup provided the spark. Senior Taylor Liguori started the inning with a lead-off walk and was replaced by freshman Gracelyn Solarz to pinch-run. Then, freshman Sammi Woods followed her infield partner with a single to right field, giving Maryland runners on first and third with nobody out.
That forced Fairfield to pull Bridgman, who had been dominant up to that point, for freshman Alyssa Weinberg. Entering the game, Weinberg had a 4.50 ERA, surrendering 25 hits to opponents in just 14 innings.
Yet, she struck out the first batter she faced, junior Megan Mikami, on a 3-2 pitch. Woods stole second base on that at bat, though, eliminating the potential threat of a double play.
Goff stepped up to the plate after Mikami was retired. The junior had been starting to gain some momentum after a rough start to the season, going 5-14 over the past four games.
After two pitches out of the zone, Goff had the advantage of a hitter’s count, and she delivered. A pitch that caught too much of the plate was smashed out to right field, but it looked as if Fairfield right fielder Haley Updegraff was tracking the ball well.
Both Maryland runner’s tagged at their respective bases, presumably thinking the ball would be caught. But the ball skipped off Updegraff’s glove near the wall and coach Mark Montgomery began to wave his arm rapidly. Solarz scored easily from third for the tying run, and when Updegraff bobbled the ball in right, Woods scampered home with the game-winning run standing up.
Goff was mobbed by her teammates at third base, as the Purdue transfer delivered her biggest hit of the season. In a game where the offense struggled mightily, timely hitting and base-running proved to be the difference.
Earlier in the game though, Amelia Lech was the sole reason the Terps avoided a shutout. The sophomore continued her torrid power streak, hitting her seventh home run of the season in the fourth inning.
Wyche was also critical to the Terps win, as she threw six innings and did not allow the Stags offense to stretch the lead out any further. The senior finished with a line of 6.0 innings pitched, three hits and ten strikeouts. Fairfield was able to generate three runs because of the six walks that Wyche allowed, which has been an issue for the senior in the past.
Ultimately, freshman Keira Butcher would earn the win, as she delivered a clean seventh inning after Wyche walked the lead off batter.