May 24, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For the sixth time in 11 years, the University of Maryland softball team finished with more than 30 wins in a season. With a new coaching staff at the helm, the Terrapins concluded 2006 with a 32-27 (7-13 ACC) record.
Under the direction of head coach Laura Watten, the 2006 Terrapins included 11 returning letter winners and six new freshman faces.
"I feel that the team developed well as the year went along," Watten said. "We grew together and accomplished a lot of our team and individual goals. We had opportunities throughout the season to be in a position to impact the top part of the conference, and we need to take advantage of those situations."
Noting the Terrapins
After boasting a .970 fielding percentage for the season, the Terps held a collective .257 batting average and a .396 slugging percentage. Maryland posted its second-longest winning streak in College Park with a 12-game run in the Terrapin Softball Complex, halted by a loss to the Virginia Cavaliers (Apr. 15). Another notable 12-game mark was Jenny Belak's hitting streak (Mar. 4 - Mar. 22), which extended into hits in 22-of-25 games.
Belak, the lefty leadoff hitter, amassed a total of 70 hits on the year (a single-season record), scored 37 runs and stole 13 bases. She paced the team with a .359 batting average, also a Terp single-season record, and surpassed Kelly Shipman's record of a .355 BA (1998).
Freshman third baseman Lindsey Ubrun was one of Maryland's key power hitters for the 2006 season recording an astounding eleven home runs, a Maryland single-season high. Ubrun (.319) also recorded the team-high of 37 RBI, one shy of another Maryland single-season record.
Veteran players Nikki Smith (.310), Lindsay Klein (.282) and Keri Lounge (.271) also recorded strong offense as Klein notched 15 doubles on the year, while Lounge registered six triples for the squad.
The Terps made full use of their pitching rotation throughout the year. Crystal Crews, carried much of the pitching load during the season, winning 18 games for the Terps against 13 losses, while freshman Meredith Nelles compiled a 9-9 record over 105.1 innings pitched.
Maryland's schedule was one of its most challenging in recent years, as it faced six top 25 opponents in the USA Today/NFCA poll. After opening the season with four tournaments in Georgia, Florida, California and Virginia Beach, the Terps had a solid 11-10 record before conference play started.
The Terrapins continued their season on the road, starting ACC Conference play in Atlanta, Ga., where they dropped their first three-game conference series to the Yellow Jackets (Mar. 18-19). Maryland then headed to College Park for its home opener against Morgan State (Mar. 22), as the Terps won the opening matchup 9-0, and improved their home opening record to 11-1. In the second game of the doubleheader, junior pitcher Abbey Welch pitched a perfect game. The feat marked the single perfect game in the ACC in 2006 season - the seventh in Maryland's history - and the first since Jessica Aditays pitched a perfect game on May 1, 2003.
The Terrapins had three wins over teams in the top 25 including a 4-3 victory over then-No. 25 North Carolina (Mar. 26) and a two-game sweep over then-No. 24 Virginia Tech (Apr. 9). Maryland also posted victories over George Washington, Boston College, Delaware and Florida State.
Defensive play again was one of the hallmarks of the Maryland team, as the Terps finished with a .970 fielding percentage, tying NC State for the highest fielding percentage in the league.
Maryland opened the ACC Tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C. (May 11 - May 14) against the No. 2 seed, North Carolina. As the seventh seed, Maryland dropped the opening matchup, 5-3, then fell to third-seeded Virginia Tech, 1-0. The Terps (32-27, 7-13 ACC) concluded the season in seventh position in the ACC.
Maryland had two softball players earn All-ACC honors. Both Lindsay Klein and Lindsey Ubrun were named to the 2006 All-ACC Second Team. The award is the second for Klein, who received first-team honors in 2005, and the first for Ubrun.
Ubrun also received ACC Player of the Week honors on April 11. The Riverside, Calif. native, in games against Delaware State and Virginia Tech, posted a .600 batting average, with two home runs, four runs scored and a 1.300 slugging percentage for the week.
The talented 2006 team broke a number of all-time Maryland records including slugging percentage (.397%) and total bases (600) on the year. The team recorded 43 stolen bases, the second best in Terrapin history. Lindsey Ubrun's two home runs against Florida State (May 6), catapulted her to the No. 1 spot on Maryland's all-time record list for home runs in a single season (11). Ubrun surpassed Kiesha Pickeral ('01), Beth Radford ('01) and Kelly Shipman ('99) in the feat. Closing out the season with 37 RBI, the third base starter was just one RBI shy of tying Beth Radford's ('99) record for RBI in a single-season (38).
Junior Keri Lounge collected her sixth triple of the season and eighth of her career against Towson (Apr. 26), now ranking her as No. 1 for triples recorded in a single-season and career triples (12) at Maryland. With 11 sacrifice flies in her career, Lounge is just one short of tying the career record for sacrifice flies.
Fellow junior Lindsay Klein moved to the fifth spot on Maryland's all-time list for career home runs after belting her 16th career home run in the April 23 matchup against Boston College. With 15 doubles in 2006, Klein is tied for second with Keri Lounge (2004) and Keisha Pickeral (1999) for doubles in a single-season and is fifth for career doubles. With 206 strikeouts this season, senior Crystal Crews lands at No. 5 on Maryland's list for most strikeouts in a single-season. She also had seven shutouts in 2006, which tied her for the seventh spot for shutouts in a single-season. Further, Crews pitched 192.2 innings, which moved her to the No. 6 spot on the Terrapins list for most innings pitched in a single season.
On the strategy for next season, Watten remarked "We are going to continue to build a program that will take the next step in being a real competitor in the ACC as well as on a national level. Our strategy will remain, as it has been, to continue to compete against the best and expect nothing but the best in the end."