Feb. 28, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland Softball team heads to Florida this weekend for the Knight Games Tournament hosted by the University of Central Florida. The Terps (9-1) will look to extend their best start in school history. The previous best start was back in 1998, when Maryland started 7-3.
The Terps swept UMBC on a cold and windy afternoon at Robert E. Taylor Stadium, 5-1, and 8-0 in five innings. Kerry Hickey hit her first career home run in the first game and the Terps scored five runs in the first inning of the second game to propel them to victory over the Retrievers.
On Friday, the Terps face off against Villanova and Vermont at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. respectively. On Saturday, the Terps continue the tournament against Florida A&M at 12 p.m. before taking on the U.S. National team in an exhibition under the lights at 7:30 p.m.
The Terps' pitching staff has been stellar so far, with an ERA of 1.12. Meredith Nelles has two complete game shut outs along with a team-leading 34 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings. Hickey leads the team with a microscopic ERA of 0.71.
Villanova (3-1) is lead by Jessica Curtis, who was named Big East Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 24. Maryland has won all four meetings all-time between the two schools. Three out of the four games have been one-run games.
Vermont has yet to play this season, due to inclement weather cancelling the Georgia State Tournament in Atlanta Ga. The Catamounts were picked to finish seventh in the America East preseason coaches' poll. The two schools have never met.
Florida A&M (2-8) is lead by Alacia Strafford, who has a .345 average and two home runs. The Terps leads the all-time series 6-2, with Maryland winning the past six meetings.
The U.S. National team defeated Hawaii in their last game 15-0, with Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott combining for a six-inning perfect game. They have pitched four no-hitters in a row during their Bound 4 Beijing Tour, including two perfect games.
The championship rounds of the tournament will be played on Sunday afternoon. Central Florida is also playing in the tournament.
The Terps' next home game is Wednesday at 2 p.m. when James Madison comes to town for a doubleheader.