Trinity Schlotterbeck stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the second inning with two runners on base. After a first-pitch strike, she blasted the ball into center field where it ricocheted off the netting for a homerun.
Her teammates swarmed her as she reached home plate to celebrate her fifth homer of the season and the Terps’ 9-0 lead in just the second inning.
Maryland softball (30-13, 6-8 Big Ten) took a break from its conference schedule after a series win against Iowa and didn’t need to add another run as it breezed past UMBC (17-13), 9-0, in just four-and-a-half innings on Wednesday evening.
The Terps reached the 30-win threshold for the first time since 2013 and earned their best record since joining the Big Ten with 11 games remaining in the regular season.
Coach Mark Montgomery’s squad found their groove behind the plate almost immediately.
“Offensively you like to see that quick explosion, then that makes the rest of the game very relaxed and smooth,” he said.
With runners on second and third and one out, Mackense Greico hit a sacrifice fly deep to center field, allowing Kiley Goff to score the Terps’ first run of the game in the bottom of the first frame. Back-to-back hits brought home two more runs and Maryland finished the first inning with a three-run advantage.
Jaeda McFarland blasted the ball into left center for a triple to keep the momentum alive and bring in two more runs in the bottom of the second frame. The runs kept coming as Sydney Lewis hit a single to bring McFarland home before Schlotterbeck’s homer helped Maryland finish the second inning up 9-0.
The Retrievers were able to hold off Maryland’s offense in the third inning with three quick outs, but their lack of offense prevented them from cutting into the Terps’ lead.
Pitcher Courtney Wyche and the Maryland defense stymied UMBC from scoring early on despite the Retrievers creating multiple early scoring opportunities.
UMBC’s best scoring opportunity came in the top of the fourth inning as the Retrievers loaded the bases with no outs. But the Terps kept their cool and quickly nabbed three straight outs with a forceout at home, a strikeout and a flyout to right field to keep their opponents scoreless. The visiting team stranded five runners on base in the game.
“It’s big because that’s some of the stuff we’ve been working on, is trying to stay composed in that situation,” Montgomery said. “It was great seeing Courtney pitch out of that and really just proud of everybody on making the plays.”
Wyche pitched four innings and finished with four strikeouts, two walks and no earned runs.
After her heroics behind the plate in the second inning, Schlotterbeck took to the mound in the fifth inning to close the game out. She delivered once again with two strikeouts and a groundout to finish the game with a mercy rule victory after four and a half innings.
The Terps will return to conference play in a three-game series against Penn State this weekend.
“We’re growing right, we’re getting better every year and I like to believe we’re getting better every game,” Montgomery said.