Thurs. 1:00 pm CT/2:00 pm ET
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The 11th-seeded Maryland softball team (18-36, 7-16 B1G) will take on sixth-seeded Illinois (36-17, 13-8 B1G) in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday, May 10. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 pm CT at Goodman Diamond in Madison, Wis.
Illinois won all three games when the team met in the regular season in Champaign, Ill. April 6-8. The winner will advance to face third-seeded Indiana on Friday, May 11 at 1:30 pm. This is Maryland’s second all-time appearance at the Big Ten Tournament and first since 2015. The Terps are seeking their first-ever win at the event.
Every game of the 2018 Big Ten Softball will be televised live on the Big Ten Network and will also be available on the BTN2Go platform, either online at btn2go.com or through the BTN2Go app.
• Despite dropping its series to Michigan State last weekend, Maryland’s offense had one of its better outings this year, scoring 21 runs in three games. Maryland’s 12 runs against Michigan State on May 5 were the most in a game for the Terps this season, while four Terps finished over .400 at the plate in the series. Kassidy Cross went 5-for-12 in the series, hitting her second home run of the season while bringing in five runners. Cross finished with a team-best .326 batting average in conference games this season with eight RBIs and five runs.
• Maryland staged its biggest comeback of the season on April 17 in game two of its doubleheader vs. Rutgers, rallying from six runs down in the bottom of the seventh to eventually pull out an 8-7 win. Down 7-1, Maryland used three home runs from Skylynne Ellazar, Anna Kufta and Amanda Brashear along with a RBI double from Mikayla Werahiko to tie the game in the sixth. Senior Jacqui Pascual then delivered her first career walk off hit with a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win.
• The win was Maryland’s largest comeback victory since rallying from six down against Missouri last season on March 5, 2017 to win 9-8 in nine innings. It was also the first time Maryland delivered three home runs in the same inning since a 12-0 win over George Mason on April 12, 2006.
• Freshman Hannah Eslick has been impressive in tight spots throughout the season for the Terps, most recently hitting a game-tying three-RBI triple in the bottom of the fifth against Indiana on April 14. Eslick came through in a big moment against St. Francis (PA) on April 11, driving a two-RBI single to the outfield to give the Terps the lead in the bottom of the fifth.
• Maryland’s 5-1 start in Big Ten play was its best since joining the conference in 2014-15, and was one game shy of the best start ever in conference competition in program history. Maryland’s last 5-1 start in conference action came during the 1999 season, when the Terps started ACC competition 6-1 before winning the conference regular season and advancing to the NCAA Regional Finals.
• Junior Sydney Golden was outstanding during the first two weeks on conference play, holding a 0.84 ERA in 25.0 innings. Golden went 4-0 in four appearances to start Big Ten play and struck out 11 while throwing 24 shutout innings during the stretch.
• Senior Skylynne Ellazar came through in a crucial moments for the Terps in their first two Big Ten series of the season, launching a go-ahead solo shot in the top of the seventh to help the Terps clinch the series over Penn State on March 25. She went 6-for-9 from the plate while slugging 1.111 on the weekend.
• Ellazar was the hero again against Iowa on April 1, scoring the only run of the game with a solo homer in the fourth inning. It was the fourth home run of the season for the Kahului, Hawaii native, who has hit .480 in conference play with seven RBIs and five runs. Ellazar currently holds a 13-game reached base streak entering this weekend’s games.