GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Maryland (3-8) split its opening games at the Aquafina Invitational Friday at Katie Seashore Pressly Stadium, beating Iowa State (7-5) before dropping its evening cap to No. 1 Florida (11-1). Maryland will return to competition tomorrow with games against Florida (9:00 am) and Georgia Southern (2:00 pm).
Game 1 – Box Score
Maryland’s bats came alive in its tournament opener, as the Terps used 11 hits to scatter a season-high nine runs to knock off Iowa State, 9-3. Brigette Nordberg led UMD at the plate with a career-high three hits to score two runs and drive in one, while Jacqui Pascual notched a team-high two RBIs to help Maryland to its third victory on the year.
After a scoreless first inning, Maryland busted the game wide open with a five-run second to go up early in the contest. Two walks and a single from JoJo McRae set the table for a two-out rally, which started with a RBI walk from Skylynne Ellazar to go ahead 1-0.
Nordberg and Anna Kufta were then hit by pitches in succession to bring the lead to 3-0, before a single to right field from Pascual made it a 5-0 advantage.
The Cyclones got one run back in the third, but the Terps would respond in the bottom of the fourth with two more runs. A leadoff double to left field from Nordberg made way for Kufta to reach on an error, scoring her sophomore teammate. A wild pitch would then eventually score Kufta from third to make it 7-1 after four.
Iowa State remained within striking distance, plating four runs between the fifth, sixth and seventh to stay with striking distance. But Maryland took care of business down the stretch, scoring two insurance runs off of RBI doubles from Shelby Younkin and Mikayla Werahiko to seal the four-run victory.
Game 2 – Box Score
No. 1 Florida scattered five hits to score seven runs and clinch a 7-2 victory over the Terrapins in the team’s second game of the day. Maryland managed five hits and two runs off of reigning USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year Kelly Barnhill. Barnhill had only allowed two runs in nine appearances for the Gators prior to the game.
The Gators showed why they rank inside the top-2 in both national polls, getting off to a quick 3-0 start after the first inning.
Maryland was able to climb back within one, after a leadoff bunt single from Mikayla Werahiko in the third. She would make it over to second on a failed pickoff attempt, before Sky Ellazar brought her in with a two-out single to right field.
The hosts would regain control with four runs between the third and fourth innings, before Maryland tacked on another in the fifth. Freshman Hannah Eslick made a two-out pinch hit appearance count, blasting her first career home run over the left field fence to make it 7-2.
Florida allowed just one hit in the final two innings to seal the win.