Courtney Wyche had just mowed down 12 straight Maryland Eastern Shore hitters in a row, sitting them down one by one with a devastating mix of high-velocity fastballs and spinning changeups. The senior ace neared perfection heading into the fifth inning on Wednesday’s chilly College Park bout.
But Ameenah Ballenger had other plans. On the second pitch of her at-bat in the fifth inning, she laid down a bunt right in front of Wyche. The ace scooped up the ball but hesitated, giving Ballenger the split second she needed to reach base.
An audible moan raised from the crowd as Wyche’s perfect game bid was spoiled. Wyche’s efforts were rebuked, but the Terps’ hopes for a victory were not. Maryland softball dominated Maryland Eastern Shore, winning 10-0 in just five innings.
Wyche showed her dominance as soon as she stepped into the pitching circle. The senior finished with a line of 4.0 IP, one hit, four strikeouts, and a 69% strike ratio. As soon as she gave up the hit, though, Wyche was pulled for Trinity Schlotterbeck.
“Today was supposed to be a bullpen day,” Montgomery said of the decision. “As long as [Wyche] was chasing history, I’m not going to make a change.”
[No. 24 Maryland softball walked off by Indiana in 2-1 loss]
Schlotterbeck closed the door on the mercy rule win — with not just her pitching but also with her hitting. Before the game, Montgomery pointed to the senior as someone who could get going offensively in order to provide a power spark to the lineup.
Schlotterbeck proved up to the challenge.
Schlotterbeck started her night off with a two run blast in the second inning to give the Terps the early advantage. Just as she started the Maryland run parade, she ended it too, hitting a three run homer in the fifth to secure the victory for the Terps.
“We just finally opened it up and it just came through,” Montgomery said.
Schlotterbeck was the main source of offensive production for the Terps, finishing the day 3-3 with six RBIs and three extra base hits.
Adding onto Schlotterbeck’s second inning home run was a Kiley Goff two-RBI double. Goff split the gap between the two outfielders and brought home Megan Mikami and Sammi Woods. Jaeda McFarland then tacked on another run by bringing Goff home with an RBI groundout.
[Maryland softball falls to Texas Tech after slow start, 6-1]
Maryland continues to excel against non-power five opponents, securing their eight shutout against those schools. Its schedule will toughen on Friday, as the Terps take on Michigan State in College Park.
The Spartans enter with a 10-14 record, but Montgomery wants to make sure that his team does not overlook Michigan State when they come to Maryland.
“Now our job is to be ready for Friday against a Michigan State that has great pitching and a new coach, who’s trying to make a name for themselves,” Montgomery said.