Courtney Wyche had shut down Indiana’s offense all day heading into the seventh inning. Still, the Terps brought in Keira Bucher to do what she’s done all season — close the door on opponents in the final frame.
The freshman downed the first batter and it seemed as if she was getting another out when the Indiana hitter made weak contact on a ground ball.
But the ball rolled awkwardly and found the gap between Bucher and second baseman Taylor Liguori, giving Indiana a runner on. Quickly, the bases were loaded up and Indiana tied the game on a hit batter. The Hoosiers crawled back to tie the game at one and still had a chance to walk it off.
Sarah Stone, a power hitter for Indiana, got a pitch on the outer part of the zone and smashed a ball over Trinity Schlotterbeck’s head to bring home the game-winning run. Maryland softball let a win slip through its clutches in a 2-1 defeat to the Hoosiers.
It was the first walk-off Maryland had given up all season. The Terps had grabbed the lead on an Amelia Lech solo shot — her Big Ten-leading 10th home run — in the sixth inning after the offense had been shut down for most of the day.
Brianna Copeland cruised through five innings against the Maryland offense. The Indiana freshman worked out of jams, keeping the Terps at bay.
On the other side, Courtney Wyche was similarly locked in for Maryland. As she has all year, Wyche utilized her 70 mph fastball alongside her devastating off-speed pitches to sit Hoosier hitters down one-by-one.
When the two squads entered the sixth inning, neither offense had been able to do any damage. In a pitcher’s duel, the two teams had only combined for seven hits entering the sixth frame.
But things changed promptly in the sixth inning.
Lech, the power hitter of Maryland’s lineup, was the leadoff hitter in the frame. Lech was 0-2 heading into the at-bat.
She started the at-bat down 1-2 in the count, reminiscent of her past two plate appearances. Lech then took two tough pitches out of the zone, working the count to 3-2, before fouling off three straight pitches.
Lech got a fastball right down the middle of the plate and did not miss it. The 3-2 pitch was crushed to left field, clearing the wall by a considerable margin.
But in the seventh inning, the Hoosiers put together their best inning of the day. They utilized an infield hit and two base-on-balls before Stone’s power secured the win for Indiana.
Bucher has excelled all year for the Terps, but a few crucial mistakes left the door open enough for the Hoosiers to grab their first conference victory of the season.