After Maryland dropped its first four games of the season, coach Julie Wright's squad finished its opening weekend with a come-from-behind victory.
The Terps defeated Middle Tennessee 2-1 Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles for their first win of the campaign.
After Middle Tennessee jumped out in front in the first inning via a sacrifice fly from Ryan King, Terps pitchers Ryan Denhart and Sydney Golden blanked the Blue Raiders for the remainder of the contest. That helped Maryland stage a late-inning comeback.
"Sydney Golden is a winner," Wright said, "she's not phased by the big moment."
Wright credited Golden's calm demeanor to the fact that she "treats it like a business." Wright added that Golden "doesn't get rattled and she knows what she has to do to go out and win each pitch."
Maryland mounted its first threat in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with two outs. Pinch-hitter Hannah Eslick battled for nine pitches, but struck out looking on the tenth pitch of the at-bat to end the frame.
The Terps tied the game the next inning on a two-out solo home run by outfielder Kassidy Cross. The homer was Cross's first of the season and knocked Blue Raiders' starter Gretchen Greer out of the game.
Maryland continued the threat with back to back singles by infielders Skylynne Ellazar and Jacqui Pascual, but relief pitcher Cori Jennings struck out Brigette Nordberg to end the inning and keep the game tied.
The Terps took the lead in the sixth inning when Eslick hit an RBI double, bringing catcher Anna Kufta all the way around from first base. Infielder Mikayla Werahiko followed up Eslick's hit with a single of her own, but pinch runner Bailey Boyd was thrown out trying to score from second.
Eslick, a freshman, did not start, and did not have any plate appearances prior to the game. But Wright still felt confident putting her at the plate in the clutch moment.
"I felt like this was a good matchup for her." Wright said. "She's been learning every game in the dugout even when she's not playing and I thought she had a really good chance to succeed."
In the bottom of the seventh, Middle Tennessee got the leadoff runner on with a single. Sydney Golden then induced a groundout followed by a double play to seal her first win with the program.