March 6, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland softball team looks to continue its longest winning streak since 2001 on Friday as they play host to Stony Brook and Seton Hall in the Maryland Invitational at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively. The Terps are ranked for the first time since the final poll of 1999.
Pitching has been a big reason the Terps have gotten off to a hot start. The team's earned run average is an outstanding 0.96, best in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Sarah Dooley pitched a one-hit shutout to defeat James Madison, 3-0, in the first game on Wednesday. The Terps rode on the tails of a six-run first inning in the second game to defeat the Dukes, 7-4.
It has been an exciting week for the Terps, not only being ranked for the first time in nine years, but Meredith Nelles and Kerry Hickey swept the ACC weekly awards, winning pitcher and player of the week, respectively.
In four games last week, Nelles gave up just eight hits and zero earned runs to earn her third, fourth and fifth wins of the year. In a Wednesday start against UMBC, she pitched her second complete game of the season, shutting out the Retrievers in an 8-0 win.
At the weekend tournament in Orlando, Nelles threw 4.2 innings against Villanova, 3.2 innings against Florida A&M, and then a perfect seventh inning against Central Florida, helping the Terps pull out wins in each game. In the four appearances, she pitched 14.1 innings, posted three wins and one save, while striking out 16 batters. Nelles is now 5-0 this year.
Hickey, a native of Huntingtown, Md., batted .500 in 18 at-bats in games against UMBC, Villanova, Vermont, Florida A&M and Central Florida last week. The freshman posted at least one hit in every game last week, driving in 10 runs and scoring five times, as Maryland outscored its opponents 31-6 in six games.
Hickey blasted two home runs, one triple, one double, and drew four walks in the six contests, boosting her season batting average to .442. She currently leads the Terps in nearly every offensive category, and owns a .721 slugging percentage. Hickey also owns a 3-0 record in the pitching circle with a 1.24 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 22.2 innings pitched.
After the Terps take on Stony Brook and Seton Hall on Friday, they will face Columbia at 1 p.m. and Fordham at 5 p.m. Maryland's final game of the weekend is scheduled to be at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The game against the Mount will be broadcast live on ACC Select, the conference's live video broadcast network. For more information, visit www.accselect.com