Feb. 26, 2004
MIAMI, Fla. - The University of Maryland softball team (3-2) will be playing in its second straight weekend tournament from Feb. 27-29 at the Golden Panthers adidas Tournament in Miami, Fla. The Terps will be part of a four-team tournament field. Maryland will open against Michigan State (3-3), whom it lost to last season in the Speedline Invitational, 9-0. The Spartans return five players from its team that went to the NCAA Regionals in 2003. Maryland is 2- 1 against Michigan State in program history. The Spartans went 1-1 at the UNLV Tournament last weekend, taking a 3-2 extra-inning loss from UNLV and earning a 6-0 win over Butler.
- Maryland will play tournament host Florida International (2- 10) later Friday evening. The Golden Panthers have faced tough competition early on, including No. 6/7 Georgia and No. 16/17 Oregon. FIU's offense is led by junior second baseman Lindsay Tippings and freshman left fielder Deomni Murray. The team's pitching staff of Nicole Barrett, Amanda Nealer and Kendra Laminack have a combined ERA of 1.75.
- Maryland will take on the Seawolves of Stony Brook in the team's third game of the tournament. Stony Brook is opening its season this weekend. The team returns seven starters to a 25-33 team that finished fourth in the America East conference last season. After the initial round of games, the teams will enter bracket play Saturday afternoon. The winners of each bracket play game will head to the championship game.
- The Terrapin offense showed more power in this year's opening tournament than it has in previous years. The team currently leads the ACC in batting average at .381 and is sporting a .518 slugging percentage. Six of Maryland's batters are leading the ACC in hitting. Freshman first baseman Lindsay Klein (Orange, Calif.) and senior Casey Leiter (Lake Stevens, Wash.) are tied for the conference lead with a .500 average. Shortstop Nneka Cardoza (Brockton, Mass.) is currently in fourth with a .467 average and catcher Rachel Greyson (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) is in fifth at .455. Left fielder Crystal Tweedy (Dumfries, Va.) and freshman second baseman Keri Lounge (Pasadena, Md.) are batting .429 and are tied for seventh with Georgia Tech's Tara Knudsen in seventh.
- Before the start of the season, no one knew what to expect from an infield that included two freshmen on the right side of the diamond. Luckily for the Terrapins, first baseman Lindsay Klein and second baseman Keri Lounge have made an instant impact both offensively and defensively. The two rank among the top ten in the ACC in batting average (Klein, .500; Lounge, .429) and are contributing to the power game with one home run each.
- Both players have demonstrated their abilities to hit under pressure and in the clutch. Klein leads Maryland starters with a .500 average when runners are on base. Lounge is batting .400 in such scenarios.
- The freshmen showed their power abilities during the USF Best Western-All Suites Hotels Tournament. Klein knocked her first career homer in the game against Temple on Feb. 21. The following day, Lounge smashed her first home run against Temple.
- The Terrapin pitching staff hurled its first no-hitter of the season against Rhode Island on Feb. 21. Liz Gall (Bothell, Wash.) started the game for the Terps. She pitched four innings in the shortened game, striking out seven.
- Head coach Gina LaMandre took Gall out after she watched her team score six runs in the top of the fifth inning. LaMandre brought in freshman Elyse Lucas (Newbury, Ohio) to preserve the no-no. Lucas fanned two batters and didn't allow one Rhode Island hitter to reach base.
- The Terrapin offense also had a major role to play in this game, tagging Rhode Island for 15 runs off 14 hits. Five Terps had multi-hit games.
TOUGH AT THE TOP
- Maryland is packing a 1-2 punch that few teams know how to deal with so far this season. The tandem of juniors Crystal Tweedy and Nneka Cardoza are giving opposing pitchers something to worry about. Both are ranked in the top ten of the ACC in hitting.
- Tweedy, the leadoff hitter, went 3-for-7 during Maryland's opening day of the season. Known as a threat on the basepaths, she currently leads the team with two stolen bases.
- Cardoza, who follows Tweedy in the lineup, had one of the best weekends for the Terps. She had two multi-hit games and drove in a team-high seven runs. Always in the thick of things, Cardoza managed to move runners 73.3% of the time.
LEITIN' IT UP
- Designated player Casey Leiter didn't start in Maryland's season opener and didn't play in the second game. Since then, she's kept a solid spot in the lineup, thanks to her ACC-leading .500 batting average. She's tied for fourth in the league with three doubles-- an impressive feat considering the rest of the ACC teams have anywhere from nine to 13 games under their belts.
- Leiter is 2-for-2 in pinch hitting appearances. Her clutch performances don't end there--the senior is also batting .429 with runners in scoring position.
GREYSON THE DIAMOND
- Sophomore Rachel Greyson started three games for the Terps in her freshman season. This year, she's already started all five of Maryland's games and hasn't let her inexperience daunt her game at all. Greyson has the third-best batting average out of Maryland starters (.455) and also ranks fifth in the ACC in the same category.
- The catcher's breakout game came against Rhode Island. She went 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in three runs. She also scored a run in the 15-0 win.
- Greyson is assuming responsibilities behind the plate while an injury to senior Casey Leiter prevents her from playing the position. So far, Greyson has gunned down one baserunner out of three who've attempted steals.