Softball Wins on Opening Day at Georgia Southern

Feb. 17, 2006

Statesboro, Ga. - Senior Nikki Smith belted a home run in the first inning to help guide Maryland to its first win of the 2006 season on opening day with a 3-0 victory over Charleston Southern in the Georgia Southern Invitational. The Terps fell to Louisville 2-1 earlier in the day on Eagle Field in the first game of the tournament.

Maryland stands at 1-1 before Saturday's matchups as Louisville improves to 4-0 while Charleston Southern drops to 2-4-1.

"I thought we played well defensively and we have a great hitting team," head coach Laura Watten remarked after her first day directing the team in season play. "Crystal Crews did a great job keeping the hitters off-balance. We were a little tight on offense, but overall I think we had a really good day."

Game One

The Terps had a 1-0 lead through six innings in the first game against Louisville. Maryland senior pitcher Crystal Crews started the game and had two strikeouts as the Terrapins' defense looked sharp. Keri Lounge's tag at second to catch Cardinal Candi Hicks from stealing was followed up by sophomore Jenny Belak's great grab in right field to end the first soundly.

The Terps scored in the second inning after a walk by Nikki Smith turned into an earned run by pinch runner Natalie Grossman. Grossman stole second base as Keri Lounge was on deck and advanced after Amanda D'Attilio reached on a fielder's choice. It was Grossman's 11th stolen base of her career.

Freshman pitcher Meredith Nelles came in for Crews in the fifth inning for her first game as a Terrapin. The Cardinals were hitless until a Michelle Vasquez had a single to left field in the fifth. The momentum shifted more in Louisville's favor after Maryland left three men on base, including third base starter Lindsey Ubrun who had her first hit, a double, in the inning.

In the seventh, Louisville short stop Courtney Moore and second base starter Michelle Vasquez singled in the inning, ultimately scoring Vasquez and pinch runner Kristi Cunningham to take the lead 2-1. The Terps closed out the inning with two batters striking out and a fly ball to center. Meredith Nelles takes the loss for the Terps.

Game Two

Jenny Belak got on base quickly at the top of the first inning after an error by Charleston Southern. With Ubrun on deck, Belak stole second on a wild pitch. First base starter Lindsey Klein popped up for the sacrifice. With a 2-0 count at the plate, Nikki Smith hit a homer to left field bringing home Belak for the early 2-0 lead. It was Smith's fourth career home run as a Terrapin.

Junior Abbey Welch opened the game at pitcher for the Terrapins. Crews followed up and struck out nine batters in six innings while Charleston Southern Amanda Noble struck out six while pitching a complete game.

Charleston Southern had one hit in the game, a single to left field by Jill Shondel in the third inning, but was not able to convert the run. Maryland freshman Amanda D'Attilio scored in the second inning. Maryland had runners on base in the fourth and fifth innings, yet could not capitalize.

The Terps held on to the lead with strong defensive play for a final 3-0 score. Crews is credited with the win while Amanda Noble takes the loss.

Maryland returns to Eagle Field for a 10:00 a.m. contest on Saturday against the Troy Trojans. The Terps play host Georgia Southern at 12:00 on Saturday. First bracket games begin at 4:00 p.m.