COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Sophomore Brigette Nordberg delivered the first walk off hit of her collegiate career Friday night to push Maryland to a 2-1 series opening victory over Iowa in 11 innings. The Exton, Pa. native finally broke through for Maryland (13-20, 3-1 B1G) with runner on second and third with one out in the bottom of the 11th, arcing a single to center field to score a charging Amanda Brashear.
The walk off was a fitting ending given the pitching effort of junior Sydney Golden, who went 6.0 innings in relief to earn the win. The Riverside, Calif. native fanned six batters, including a three-strikeout inning in the seventh, to keep Maryland alive in a tight contest at Maryland Softball Stadium.
Iowa (15-15, 1-2 B1G) was the first to score in the contest, managing back-to-back hits in the top of the sixth to get ahead 1-0. From there Golden entered the game and pitched six innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits to keep the Hawkeye offense at bay.
Maryland would answer in the bottom of the sixth, after Skylynne Ellazar reached on an error with two outs. Anna Kufta came through clutch in her ensuing at bat, driving a double to right center to bring in Ellazar and tie the game.
The pitcher’s duel resumed from that moment on, as Golden and Iowa’s Allison Doocy found ways out of jams to prolong the game into extra innings.
An error and bunt single would allow Brashear and Ellazar to reach in the bottom of the 11th with no outs, before a sacrifice bunt from Anna Kufta pushed the runners to second and third for the eventual winning play.
Ryan Denhart fared well as the starter for the Terps, going 5.0 innings while allowing just one run to score.
The teams will resume the series tomorrow at 1:00 pm at Maryland Stadium.