Maryland Softball Heads To Mason-Dixon Classic

March 9, 2006

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Terrapins are set to hit the road for their final early season tournament as they head to Virginia Beach, Va. to take on the 0-12 George Mason Patriots (9 a.m.) and James Madison Dukes (11 a.m.) in the Mason-Dixon Classic on Friday. The Terrapins are scheduled to face Norfolk State for a 9 a.m. contest and the Big Red of Cornell at 11 a.m. in the second day of tournament action.

The Terrapins are batting .231on the year and are led by senior catcher Nikki Smith with a .359 batting average, 14 hits and nine RBI. Smith is tied for first place in the ACC in triples (2) and is second in slugging percentage at .744. Both Smith and junior Lindsay Klein have three home runs for the team, with Klein registering the team-high of 11 RBI. Right fielder Jenny Belak has notched the most runs for the team (9) and stolen bases (3) while also batting .315 for the squad.

Senior Crystal Crews leads the Terrapin hurlers posting a 1.62 ERA with 62 strikeouts over 60.1 innings. Crews stands fifth in the league in strikeouts per game with a 7.19 average.

The Terps added an exciting win last weekend as they overtook Western Michigan in the first game of the Sunshine State Classic with Klein's ninth-inning, two-run homer for a 6-5 victory. While at the tournament in Tallahassee, Fla., the Terps suffered three straight losses, two of which were by one run, to Florida State, No. 8 Michigan and Western Michigan.

Following the Western Michigan win, Maryland fell to No. 8 Michigan, 6-0, in the afternoon game. In their second day of action, the Terps could not hold on to a six inning lead, falling to Florida State 6-5, when the Seminoles staged a seventh inning rally. The Terrapins then dropped another late inning come back, this time to Western Michigan, for a 4-3 loss. Maryland's Crystal Crews, Nikki Smith and Keri Lunge made the Sunshine State All Tournament Team.

The Terrapins' first matchup of the Mason-Dixon Classic in Virginia Beach is against George Mason at 9 a.m. on Friday. The Patriots are coming off two losses in the Patriot Classic in Fairfax, Va. last weekend, falling to Cornell and Mount St. Mary's on the final day. The Terrapins post a 22-7 overall record with the Patriots.

Maryland's contest against James Madison on Friday at 11 a.m. will be the fifth meeting between the two teams. The Dukes split a doubleheader on Wednesday against Mount St. Mary's to go 3-4 on the season. JMU has a .278 batting average with Megan Smith recording the team-high of seven hits and four RBI for the Dukes. The Terps hold a 4-0 overall record with James Madison, sweeping them twice in 2003 and 2004.

The Terps face 3-6 Norfolk State on Saturday in game two of the tournament. The final game for the Terrapins will be an 11 a.m. contest against Cornell. The Terps last contest with the Big Red was in 1997 when the Terps overtook the squad, 1-2. Cornell leads the overall series 2-1 over Maryland.