By: Eden Binder
After three shutout innings to start the series finale from starter Courtney Wyche, Maryland softball had the perfect shot to strike first. But the Terps mustered just a walk and went scoreless in the bottom of the inning.
Then, in the top of the fourth, Wyche faltered. She allowed three singles, the last of which scored a Nebraska run, before being replaced by Keira Bucher. Bucher then gave up a two-out triple to the Cornhuskers’ Ava Bredwell that scored two more.
Those runs, paired with a Maryland offense that never got into a groove, allowed Nebraska to coast to a 4-0 victory at College Park Sunday.
“Unfortunately [Bucher] gave up a big hit, and they scored three more runs,” coach Mark Montgomery said. “… Anytime you spot a team three runs in an inning, that’s just tough to come back from.”
Nebraska’s Sarah Harness had a seemingly effortless five-inning outing. She allowed just one hit on the day, limiting any Terps’ surge.
Wyche initially matched her counterpart, but the Maryland (27-12, 4-7 Big Ten) pitcher faltered and ended the day after pitching 5.2 innings. She allowed seven hits and gave up four runs while striking out four.
Bucher would re-enter for Wyche in the seventh inning and let an inherited runner score via a Cornhusker’s single.
But those runs only increased Nebraska’s margin of victory — the Terps couldn’t score a single run despite a few promising moments.
Maryland got a prime opportunity to score in the bottom of the fifth inning when Sammi Woods crushed a two-out double into the right field gap. But the Terps couldn’t bring her in as Megan Mikami grounded out to end the frame.
An inning later, Maryland once again threatened. Kiley Goff got on base with an infield single — part of a 1-1 day with two walks. The Terps would get runners on first and second with two outs, but Michaela Jones grounded out to the shortstop for an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
In the final inning, Taylor Ligouri slapped a ball into right field but it was to no avail as she was stranded at first base. Maryland ended its quiet day — the second scoreless outing of the series. Nebraska (27-13, 7-4 Big Ten) shut out the Terps in the series opener, 3-0.
“We never really threatened offensively,” Montgomery said.
After a strong sweep of Michigan State, Maryland has now lost four of its past five conference games.
“I feel one bad series, one bad game, that doesn’t define who we are,” catcher Amelia Lech said.