Sydney Lewis stood just outside the dugout with her eyes glued to Diamond Williams at the plate, who battled Illinois’ pitcher with several foul balls.

Lewis shouted toward Williams to encourage her, saying that Williams just needed to get on base and she’d take care of the rest. Williams singled to center field on the next pitch and looked back at home to tell Lewis it was her turn.

Fired up, Lewis followed Williams’ lead and crushed the ball back to centerfield for an RBI double to deliver on her promise. It was the first of a three-run third inning where the Terps pulled away from the Fighting Illini.

Maryland (17-17, 4-3 Big Ten) never surrendered the lead and mercy ruled Illinois, 8-0 on Friday. The Terps needed just five innings of their series-opener to score as many runs as they did across three games a weekend ago.

[An unlikely pitcher-catcher relationship has boosted Maryland softball]

“We are playing some of the best ball that I’ve seen us play all season,” coach Lauren Karn said. “Offensively were executing our game, defensively were making really nice plays and Courtney [Wyche] is giving us great performance after great performance right now.” coach Lauren Karn said.

Maryland’s offensive outpour started early. Jaeda McFarland walked to lead off the first inning and stole second to reach scoring position before Illinois recorded an out. McFarland scored shortly after when Lewis poked a pitch passed the infield for her first of three RBI’s on the night.

The Terps’ bats provided much more run support for Wyche than they did in her last few outings.

Wyche entered the matchup with Illinois as the NCAA’s reigning National Pitcher of the Week after a stellar weekend against Penn State. She posted a career-high 19 strikeouts in the first game of the series and threw another gem two days later, striking out 17 Nittany Lions.

“I want to build off that performance every single time I get a chance, so getting ahead in counts, making sure I’m hitting my spots [and] giving my defense a chance to make good plays,” Wyche said.

[Courtney Wyche throws career-high 19 strikeouts as Maryland softball beats Penn State, 2-0]

She did that on Friday and allowed just one hit in her five innings of work.

Maryland’s offense moved steadily, bringing in a run in every inning. The most eventful came in the second frame.

Michaela Jones drove a pitch into to right field that landed in play before it nestled into the corner by the outfield fence. As Illinois scrambled to collect the ball, Jones sprinted around the bases stepping on home seconds before the ball reached the plate.

Jones laughed as she grabbed her bat at home plate, shocked at her inside-the-park homerun that gave Maryland a two-run advantage heading into the third.

The three-run third inning proved to be crucial for Maryland with Williams and Lewis’ complimentary at-bats highlighting the Terps’ success.

One run in the fourth and two in the fifth ended the contest as Maryland started the series as well as it could have.

“Tomorrow is a whole new day and we keep reminding them to take it pitch by pitch. We did our job today but it’s not over for tomorrow,” Karn said. “We’re not even thinking about Sunday until we accomplish our mission tomorrow.”