On Sunday, Maryland softball’s best season in years fell to a disappointing note when it was left out of the NCAA tournament. But the Terps still secured their first postseason appearance since 2012, as they were selected as the No. 1 overall seed in the National Invitational Softball Championship.

Maryland took out its disappointment on Cal State Northridge, scoring three runs in the first frame en route to a dominant 8-0 mercy-rule victory over the Matadors on Thursday in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Coach Mark Montgomery’s squad will take on the winner of San José State and BYU in the second round of the winner’s bracket on Friday.

The Terps started their run parade with a lead off walk. Junior outfielder Megan Mikami led off the inning with a base-on-balls, then stole her team-leading 26th base. She was then brought home by an RBI single from junior outfielder Jaeda McFarland.

Maryland has struggled to score runs in the opening innings all season, which has limited the run support their pitchers have gotten. Montgomery has lamented his team’s early offensive struggles, saying the quality of at-bats has regressed.

[Maryland softball bows out of Big Ten tournament with 7-1 loss to Iowa]

That was not an issue against Cal State Northridge, as the Terps jumped all over the Matadors. Solid at-bats early drew out innings, forcing CSUN pitcher Lauryn Carranco to throw 49 pitches through two frames.

The scoring continued when senior Trinity Schlotterbeck got a pitch right down the middle and cashed it in. The senior smashed a ball to right field for a double, bringing home two more runs to make it 3-0 to the Terps.

Maryland held a three-run lead after the opening inning, and with the way Courtney Wyche was pitching, that was all she would need. Still, the Terps would add on some more runs in the second.

Sammi Woods hit her first home run of the year to give Maryland a 4-0 lead. The freshman’s fielding has been consistent throughout her first season with the Terps, but Montgomery thinks that Woods has untapped power that can be drawn out.

[Maryland softball needs a strong Big Ten tournament to keep NCAA tourney hopes alive]

Tacking on runs early helped Maryland coast the rest of the way, as the Terps seemed more relaxed both at the plate and in the field. Wyche threw a majority of strikes to blow through Matadors batters, notching just 57 pitches through four innings.

Striking out seven, the ace’s stuff seemed to overwhelm Matador hitters. Wyche has one of the Big Ten’s best fastballs and it blew away Cal State Northridge batters time and time again.

The Terps tacked on additional runs by way of a Michaela Jones RBI and homers from Amelia Lech and Mikami to put the finishing touches on a 8-0 victory in the opening round of the NISC.

In a game that Maryland needed to win, both to avoid dropping into the loser’s bracket and to wash away the Big Ten tournament disappointment, it led from start to finish. While the Terps certainly aren’t pleased with missing out on a NCAA tourney bid, a win in a postseason tournament for the first time since 2011 serves as a reminder for how far the program has come.