Courtney Wyche stared down Kami Kortokrax at the plate, the game knotted at zero in the bottom of the fourth. Wyche needed one pitch to end the at-bat with a full count on the board. 

Kortokrax broke Wyches’ perfect game with one swing. Her blast soared over Jaeda McFarland’s head in center field, landing outside the park for a solo home run. The homer put Ohio State on the board first, giving it a lead it carried the rest of the way. 

Maryland lost 4-0 to Ohio State on Friday, where the Terps’ promising offensive attempts fell short. The Terps haven’t won a conference game over their past eight tries — their last Big Ten victory was on April 5 against Illinois.  

The Terps (18-25, 4-11 Big Ten) broke their seven-game losing streak on Wednesday, exploding offensively to defeat UMBC 14-1 in five innings. The performance was needed from Maryland’s offense, which struggled over its past few games to Rutgers and Northwestern. 

The Terps worsened their conference record to 4-10 over the skid, and dropped another game in their series opener with the Buckeyes (25-17, 6-9 Big Ten).

[Maryland softball wants to be less reliant on Courtney Wyche]

Wyche started in the circle on Friday. After struggling to be consistent the past few games — allowing 19 runs over her last 22 innings — Wyche retired the Buckeyes’ lineup in order in the first inning. 

Maryland’s offense performed quality at-bats over the first two innings, wearing down Ohio State starter Allison Smith. Smith needed to throw 50 pitches but escaped jams with at least one runner in scoring position in both innings to keep the game scoreless. 

Diamond Williams stepped up to the plate with Megan Mikami on second in the top of the third. Williams slammed a single to right field, and aggressive baserunning from Mikami seemed to pay off as she appeared to slide home safely.

But Ohio State challenged the play, and a replay review overturned the call — Maryland went from a 1-0 lead back to a deadlocked game. It never successfully scored on Friday.

While the aggression didn’t pay off, the Terps were close to scoring multiple times over the first few frames. They notched three hits in just the first two innings and successfully stole two bases. The offensive production consistently put at least one batter on base for six of the seven innings. 

Wyche dominated early while her offense reached base often. She struck out four Buckeyes and didn’t allow a single base runner over the first three innings. The game remained at a standstill with neither offense able to break until the fourth inning.

[Maryland softball falls to Northwestern, 2-1, extends losing streak to 7]

Kortokrax’ homer put Ohio State on the board first, 1-0, giving it a lead heading into the fifth inning.

Wyche faced trouble in the next frame. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, she threw a pitch with a runner on third over catcher Delaney Reefe’s head. As Reefe scrambled to collect the ball, Wyche beelined for home plate. The throw back to Wyche didn’t make it in time, allowing the runner to score to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 2-0. 

The damage in the inning was limited to just that run despite two more batters reaching base. A single from Sydney Lewis in the top of the sixth gave Maryland hope for offensive momentum, but the next two batters were retired to end the frame with no change in score. 

After her home run in the fourth, Kortokrax started another Ohio State offensive spurt in the sixth. She doubled to right field, and a Sam Hackenbracht single one batter later scored the pinch-runner put in for Kortokrax to give the Buckeyes their third run of the matchup. An RBI walk from Hannah Church put Ohio State up by four. 

The Terps fought to put a run on the board in the top of the seventh but couldn’t, ending the first game of the weekend series. The teams will play again on Saturday at 2 p.m.