Maryland softball split its doubleheader with Rutgers on Wednesday to remain last in the Big Ten. The Terps won game one, 4-3, before falling by the same score in the second contest.
In the first game, Rutgers outfielder Carly Todd reached first base on an error in the sixth inning with the game tied at three. After stealing second, she advanced to third on a throwing error.
But when Scarlet Knights infielder Bridget Carr laid down a suicide squeeze with one out, pitcher Hannah Dewey fielded the ball in front of the circle and passed it to catcher Kristina Dillard, who tagged the diving Todd to keep the score knotted at three.
Coach Julie Wright knew Rutgers coach Jay Nelson likes to run squeeze plays, so she checked her defense's assignments before that sequence.
"She did a nice job of challenging and going hard after the ball, and then made a great glove flip," Wright said. "Usually when you make a great defensive play, a lot of times you come up [to bat], you're locked in, and do something great on offense."
In the fifth, Dewey hit an RBI single to bring home the tying run. Then in the seventh, her two-out walk led to her scoring the go-ahead run on outfielder Sarah Calta's RBI single into shallow left field.
Dewey threw six innings and allowed three runs. Despite giving up seven hits and three walks without a strikeout, she worked out of jams, "which is the mark of a pitcher having a good day," Wright said.
Pitcher Madison Martin earned her fourth save of the year after retiring the Scarlet Knights (14-34, 5-15 Big Ten) in order in the seventh, securing the victory.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Scarlet Knights took an early lead en route to a 4-3 win. After Rutgers infielder Nicole Bowman reached on a fielder's choice in the second inning, outfielder Hailey Hoklotubbe hit an RBI single.
Rutgers then picked up a couple of runs off Maryland miscues. In the third, shortstop Anna Kufta's error allowed designated hitter Rebecca Hall to advance from first to third, and she scored off Martin's wild pitch. In the fourth, infielder Jordan Aughinbaugh bobbled the potential inning-ending grounder, allowing Todd to score after her leadoff double.
"We've got to play a bit better defense behind our pitching staff," Wright said. Maryland's .944 fielding percentage is second-worst in the Big Ten.
The Terps (11-36-1, 4-16) plated one run in the fifth after outfielder Destiney Henderson scored on a single from left fielder Amanda Brashear. But Hall smacked her 12th homer of the year to push the Scarlet Knights' lead to 4-1.
Maryland loaded the bases in the seventh and added two runs. Kufta reached on a fielder's choice to score infielder Brigette Nordberg, and Dewey drove home infielder Skylynne Ellazar with a single. But Dillard grounded out as the Terps suffered their seventh loss in the past nine games.
"We ran out of time, ran out of innings," Wright said. "That's exactly what I told them after the game. … We have to adjust sooner and make things happen earlier. Because, quite frankly, we could've won that game if we played nine [innings]."