Feb. 18, 2017 || Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In what will go down as one of the biggest upsets in college softball this season, Maryland defeated No. 1-ranked Florida 4-2 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Terps (1-8) entered the game winless on the season, knocking off the previously unbeaten Gators (8-1), who were tabbed as the No. 1 team in the country in both the ESPN/USA Softball and USA Today Coaches Poll.
“This was an incredible team win,” said head coach Julie Wright. “Florida is a very good program with a great history and talented coaching staff. To put together the game we did against them means a lot. We did the little things well and just played Maryland softball.”
Maryland had to come from behind to get the upset win, as the defending SEC Champions got a pair across in the first inning. With two outs, a single, walk and single in succession turned into two runs, but a strikeout from senior Hannah Dewey limited any further damage.
Maryland came storming back in the top of the fourth, as Skylynne Ellazar got things going with a base knock to right field. After a sacrifice bunt moved her over, Kristina Dillard came through with a huge double to right center to cut the deficit to one.
Madison Martin kept the momentum rolling with a single, then Jordan Aughinbaugh came through with a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in the tying run. Kassidy Cross then got on after converting on a bunt single, which brought Destiney Henderson to the plate. Henderson beat out the throw for an infield hit, scoring Martin from second to push the Terps ahead of the hosts, 3-2.
The Terrapins picked up right where they left off in the fifth, as Ellazar and Kufta notched back-to-back singles with one out. Martin came through again for the Terps, spraying a single to left field to extend the lead to 4-2.
Dewey was locked in at the circle between the second and fifth innings, allowing just one hit to keep the Terrapins in front.
“The start and the finish that Hannah and Madison put together was exactly what we needed,” said Wright.” They exhibited great senior leadership. They took the ball, they wanted the ball and made the difference. I’m so proud of their efforts.”
The Gators didn’t go away, getting two on then knocking a single with no outs in the bottom of the sixth. The Terps made a crucial play on that hit from Jordan Roberts, catching Aleshia Ocasio in a run down to come away with an out. Another walk would load the bases, and right as Maryland made a pitching change rain began to come down and the game was suspended.
After an hour and a half delay, senior Madison Martin came onto the circle to pitch for the second time on the day and delivered big time. Martin struck out the first batter she faced, then forced a ground out to get the Terps out the jam unscathed.
Maryland couldn’t pad the lead after a pair of hits in the top of the seventh, but didn’t need the runs as Martin returned to the pitch for the final three outs. It didn’t come easy, with the Gators putting two on after an initial ground out. But Martin didn’t flinch, forcing two more grounders to stun the home crowd and give the Terps their first win of the season.
Maryland dropped its opening game of the day at the Aquafina Invitational to Florida A&M, 5-1. The Terps will return to competition next weekend at the Mardi Gras Classic hosted by Louisiana-Lafayette.
-The win was the first for Maryland over a ranked opponent since 2012 (May 12, Florida State)
-The four earned runs forced off of senior Florida pitcher and All-American Delanie Gourley were the first she had surrendered all season, entering the game 4-0 on the year with a 0.00 ERA in 18 innings.
-The loss was the first for Florida at the Aquafina Invitational (or its home tournament) since 2007.
-Maryland’s four runs were the most allowed by Florida this season.
-Madison Martin notched her first save of the season and third of her career in the victory.