After four strong innings, Courtney Wyche stood in the circle looking at the bases loaded in a scoreless matchup. With one out and a full count, a strike or ground ball could help Maryland avoid disaster.

The pitch was a ball, sending a run home. But it was just the start of a catastrophic frame.

The Wolverines posted double-digit runs in the inning before the Terps could record three outs. Michigan beat Maryland by mercy rule, 10-0, booting the Terps out of the postseason. After Wyche let up the first three runs, Julia Shearer stepped in and eventually gave up a grand slam that ended the contest in the fifth inning.

Thursday’s loss ended Maryland’s 2024 season. It was head coach Lauren Karns’s first year with the Terps (24-30, 8-15 Big Ten), who ended their year in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals. The disastrous fifth inning on Thursday ended the careers of six graduating members, including Wyche, Maryland’s star pitcher.

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Michigan pitcher Lauren Derkowski showcased her talents early on against the top of Maryland’s lineup. Derkowski’s 2.19 ERA entering the day was the third-best in the Big Ten. She kept her pitches low and mixed speeds to retire the Terps in order in the first.

After throwing 136 pitches across nine innings in Wednesday’s victory, Wyche returned to the circle on Thursday. She punched out Michigan cleanup hitter Keke Tholl for her first strikeout of the game, ending the first.

Michaela Jones reached base with a bunt in the second inning. A single by Sammi Woods put Jones in scoring position for the first time in the game. A Delaney Reefe strikeout in the next at bat erased the chances of a Terps score in the second, though.

Wyche kept the strikeouts coming in the second. After walking the first batter, the graduate student struck out the next three Wolverines lineup in order to end the second. She earned four strikeouts in just two innings.

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Jaeda McFarland notched the Terps’ second hit, smacking a first pitch offering from Derkowski. Maryland couldn’t string anything together, though, and the game remained scoreless.

Wyche faced early trouble in the bottom of the third. After putting a runner on first and third she struck out consecutive batters. It was Wyche’s tenth straight outing with five or more strikeouts, as her consistency in the circle kept Maryland in the game despite the lack of offensive production.

The game remained scoreless heading into the fifth. Maryland couldn’t capitalize on Megan Mikami’s aggressive baserunning as she was caught stealing by Wolverine’s shortstop to end the inning.

Karn put Shearer in the circle with the bases loaded after Wyche gave up three runs and three straight walks. Shearer gave up three more runs before making way for the Wolverine’s grand slam. Maryland will now return home after its season came to a close in Iowa.