The University of Maryland softball team heads south to Chapel, Hill, N.C. for its second three-game ACC series of the season. The Terps (13-13, 0-3 ACC) will face off against the Tar Heels (26-9, 2-1 ACC) first on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., then on Sunday at 2 p.m. The game can be followed on Gametracker.
The Terps are coming off two wins in Wednesday's home opening doubleheader against Morgan State where they won by scores of 9-0 and 13-0. Both games ended in five innings due to the mercy rule. Junior pitcher Abbey Welch (1-2) recorded a perfect game in the second game of the day, the first for the squad and in the ACC this year, while Meredith Nelles (4-6) allowed just one hit in the 9-0 win. The team notched 23 hits, 22 runs and no errors in the doubleheader.
Jenny Belak and Nikki Smith continue to pace the Terps offensively, as Belak holds a 12-game hitting streak and is batting a team-high .407 with 37 hits, while Smith is batting .345 through 26 games and is tied with Lindsay Klein in home runs this year (3).
The Terrapins are batting .267 while keeping their opponents to a .223 batting average. Five Terrapins are batting better than their 2005 season averages. In the pitcher's circle, the Terps are averaging 2.71 ERA on the season. Senior pitcher Crystal Crews holds an 8-5 record on the year and a 2.15 ERA with 97 strikeouts. She has the most starts for the Terrapins with 14 for the season.
Welch's perfect game on Wednesday is the first for the Terrapins in at least five years.
Scouting North Carolina
North Carolina is 26-9 overall and posts a 2-1 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tar Heels are riding a four game win streak and are coming off wins in Wednesday's doubleheader against Campbell, 2-0 and 9-1.
On offense, the Tar Heels are led by Jennifer Jacobs and Cassie Palmer. Jacobs is batting .309 with 34 hits and the team-high of 29 RBI, while Palmer has a .304 batting average with the team-high of 35 hits and 21 RBI. Palmer also holds the most doubles for the team with 12.
Pitchers Crystal Cox and Lisa Norris lead in the pitcher's circle for North Carolina. Cox is 11-5 on the season and holds a 0.67 ERA. She has 146 K's in 114.2 innings pitched. Norris holds a 1.52 ERA and 66 strikeouts over 73.2 IP.
As a team, the Tar Heels are batting .256 while keeping their opponents to a .183 batting average. On the mound, UNC is averaging a 1.10 ERA for the season.
The Terrapins need to make up some ground in the overall series, as the Tar Heels lead 10-23.
Last season, the Terps dropped three game to UNC. The Terrapins dropped two games by one run, including the 2-3 loss which was due to a single home run in the twelfth inning, the most innings played in a game last season. Terrapin Keri Lounge also had a home run in the game marking the 10th home run of her career.