By Tariq Jernigan
Maryland softball couldn’t turn runners in scoring position into runs at home in College Park Friday. The Terps notched just five hits and suffered their third consecutive Big Ten loss after being shutout by Nebraska, 3-0.
“There is no excuse for us to not score at least four every time we take the field,” coach Mark Montgomery said after the loss.
Courtney Wyche started in the pitching circle for the Terps but ceded a Huskers run in the opening frame. Nebraska’s Katelyn Caneda lined a shot into the outfield that drove in one run to open the game in the first inning.
The Terps had an opportunity to strike back in the second inning after Sydney Lewis reached base on a single and Trinity Schlotterbeck connected on a double to put runners in scoring position.
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But Campbell Kline popped out during the next-at bat, ending the inning.
Nebraska continued its roll in the fourth inning, stretching the lead further in the top of the frame. Brooke Andrews smashed a deep two-run homer to center field to push her team’s lead to 3-0.
Wyche remained in the game despite the tough early start.
The fourth inning brought more chances at offense for Montgomery’s squad. Amelia Lech reached base on a Nebraska error and advanced to second, once again putting runners at second and third with no outs.
This time, Michaela Jones lined out to shortstop before Schlotterbeck struck out swinging. A Taylor Liguori groundout ended the inning, stranding two more runners to the chagrin of Montgomery.
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“We had several chances to score, one time with second and third no outs and we can’t push a run right there,” Montgomery said. “It’s not okay.”
Wyche struck out back-to-back batters in the fifth inning in the hopes of creating a spark for the scoreless Terps. But Nebraska’s Courtney Wallace again shut down the Maryland side in the bottom of the frame to quell the Terps’ momentum.
Maryland’s last gasp came in the final frame of the evening. Wallace walked two Terp batters, bringing Kiley Goff to the plate with the chance to tie the game still in a 3-0 hole. Goff popped a ball up to Nebraska’s shortstop for the final out.
“I don’t care if there’s two outs in the first inning and nobody’s on first base, that at bat matters,” Montgomery said. “We had too many easy outs that we gave them, and we can’t give them those easy outs,” Montgomery said.
The Terps will retake the field against the Huskers tomorrow at 2 p.m. in College Park.