April 26, 2002
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
Winners of six of their last seven games, the Terps resume play in the ACC portion of their schedule with a Saturday doubleheader at North Carolina. Game 1 in Chapel Hill at the new UNC Softball Complex begins at 2 p.m. on April 27, with the Terrapins striving for their first league victory.
The Terps face the Tar Heels for the third and fourth times this season on Saturday, having fallen twice to UNC at the Tar Heel Invitational in early April. North Carolina prevailed 8-3 and 7-3 in the consolation round of their tournament.
The Terrapins improved to 28-18 on the season after battling for a combined five hours and 22 minutes to take a pair of games from Saint Joseph's on Wednesday (April 24) at home. Prior to a 2-3 ACC loss at the hands of the Virginia Cavaliers (April 21), the Terrapins swept doubleheaders against local rivals George Mason (April 17) and Towson (April 10).
Working OvertimeThe Terrapins spent much of Wednesday afternoon, and evening, on the softball diamond, but their perseverance paid off as Maryland posted two hard-fought victories against the Saint Joseph's Hawks.
In the fifth inning of Game 1, senior catcher Beth Radford (Dunkirk, Md.) drove home her team-leading 27th RBI of the year with a double that scored Casey Leiter (Lake Stevens, Wash.) and knotted the contest at one. In the Terps' final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Monica Cyphert (Warren, Ohio) bounced a seeing-eye single up the middle to score Radford and help the Terrapins achieve victory. Senior hurler Amanda Bettker (St. Petersburg, Fla.) allowed only the unearned run in the second and scattered five hits while striking out seven to pick up her 12th victory of the year.
The second game of the twinbill lasted 13 innings and three hours and 15 minutes, to mark the longest home game in the history of Maryland softball. Cyphert dueled Saint Joe's Dana Travis late into the evening, finishing the contest with a career-high 13 strikeouts and allowing only one unearned run. Freshman shortstop Malissa Moczulski (Burlington, Va.) delivered fellow newcomer Nneka Cardoza (Brockton, Mass.) in the bottom of the 13th to reward the Terps' afternoon of extra efforts.
Stealing Into The Record Books Head coach Gina LaMandre was particularly excited about the Terps' increase in overall team speed headed into the 2002 season, and certainly part of that boost was the return of sophomore Samantha Sweeney (Marlton, N.J.) to the lineup. Sweeney put forth a solid freshman campaign in 2000 despite several injuries, and was sidelined during the entire 2001 season while recovering from elbow surgery.
Sweeney has come back with a vengeance this season, however, earning spots as the Terrapins' starting centerfielder and leadoff batter. Besides leading the Terps in batting average and on-base percentage, Sweeney's 22 stolen bases this season shatters the Terrapins' former single-season record of 14 (Kelly Shipman, 1997), and also ties her with current team manager Michelle Burrell's (1998-2001) career stolen bases record at 25.
With seven-plus games remaining on the Terps' 2002 schedule, this year's squad has amassed 34 stolen bases, already surpassing 2001's team total of 34. The Terrapin team record for stolen bases in a single season is 36, from 1997. The 2002 Terps need only three more stolen bases to swipe that record. Casey Leiter is second to Sweeney with six stolen bases on the season, while sophomore Jen Peel (St. Leonard, Md.) has five.
Terps At A GlanceWith a mix of seasoned veterans, key role players and talented newcomers, the Terrapins have made positive strides this season in terms of maintaining their position as a conference, regional and national contender.
Redshirt sophomore Samantha Sweeney has marked a tremendous comeback from her 2001 surgery with a team-leading .342 batting average, 34 runs scored, a .468 on-base percentage, 22 stolen bases and 20 walks. With a stolen base vs. St. Joseph's on April 24, she is currently tied with Terp all-time stolen bases leader Michelle Burrell at 25. Sweeney ranks among ACC leaders in all five of those categories, including listing third in the ACC in steals and sixth in batting.
Maryland's all-time RBI leader, senior Beth Radford's 27 runs batted in pace the Terps. She boasts nine doubles, and her .362 batting average with runners in scoring position leads the squad.
Sophomore double-threat Monica Cyphert has belted four homers, including the first Terp bomb ever hit at Maryland's new facility, to lead the team. She leads Maryland's pitching staff with a 10-3 record and a .191 opponent batting average, which ranks fourth in the league.
Fellow second-year player Casey Leiter has been hot at the plate recently, improving her average to .279 on the year. Her 23 runs scored ranks second among her teammates, while her 21 RBI lists third.
Senior fireballer Amanda Bettker has fought through some early-season injuries en route to a 12-11 record, and her 1.47 ERA leads the Terrapins and ranks sixth in the ACC. She also paces the Terp rotation with 17 complete games, six shutouts, 143.1 innings pitched and 132 strikeouts, all good enough to make the ACC top 10.
Rookie hurler Jessica Aditays (Shrewsbury, Mass.) has come on strong in her freshman campaign. She owns a 2.01 ERA in 17 appearances, a 2.1 strikeout to walk ratio and will only improve with more experience.
Fellow freshman Malissa Moczulski has become an everyday player for head coach Gina LaMandre, replacing four-year shortstop Jennifer Potzman. Moczulski is batting a respectable .269, and has proven to be a clutch player with a .300 average with runners in scoring position.
Newcomer Lauren Pollock (Severna Park, Md.) has started 41 games for the Terrapins, and has posted a solid .263 batting average. Her 14 RBI ranks sixth on the squad, and her two home runs on the season tie for fourth.
Senior Kiesha Pickeral ranked second among Terp regulars in batting with a .298 average before being sidelined by injury. Pickeral's 11 doubles pace the squad and ranked fifth among ACC power hitters, while her team-leading .474 slugging percentage set her among the conference elite as well.
Scouting North CarolinaThe Tar Heels (30-23, 2-4 ACC) host the Terrapins two days after downing UNC Wilmington, 7-0, at home. Prior to a two-game sweep at the hands of Florida State (April 20) the Tar Heels had won six straight, including two over the Terps at the Tar Heel Invitational (April 7) and two at ACC-rival Virginia (April 14).
North Carolina also dropped a pair at home to league upstart Georgia Tech (April 5), making their conference record 2-4 headed into Saturday's games.
North Carolina won its first ACC title and made its first NCAA appearance a season ago, achieving victory in 16 of its final 20 games. Head coach Donna Papa has been in the Tar Heel dugout since 1986 and owns a 590-352-3 record at UNC.
The Tar Heels are led at the plate by junior Tiffany Tolleson, who ranks ninth in the NCAA with a .438 batting average, leads the country with 54 stolen bases and has scored 51 runs. All-ACC senior catcher Natalie Anter has belted a team-leading 13 homers and has driven home 42 runs, as has junior outfielder Quinn Porter. The Tar Heel team owns a collective .297 batting average.
Shannon Walsh represents the only upperclassman in the UNC pitching rotation, and owns a 12-11 record and a 3.72 ERA. Freshman Ashley Allen is 13-6 with a 3.09 ERA, while newcomers Erica Ennis and Brandi Griffin round out the staff.
Towson Doubleheader Re-Scheduled For April 30The doubleheader that was originally scheduled for March 20 at Towson has now been re-slated for April 30 at 3:30 p.m. The games had been moved to Towson due to rain and postponed until the eventual date could be found for re-scheduling. The doubleheader meeting between the Terps and Tigers will be the second this season.