MSU softball drops three of four in road series against Maryland


MSU pitcher Ashley Miller/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Elijah Kaye, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING — Michigan State softball traveled to Maryland for a pair of doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. The Spartans rolled into the series on a three-game winning streak, prior to a postponed series with Michigan last weekend. Maryland came in struggling, losing five of its last six games but that all changed as the Terps were able to win three of four against MSU. 

In game one on Friday afternoon, Michigan State put the bat on the ball early and started off strong with three consecutive singles to load the bases. A passed ball sent second baseman Caitie Ladd home to put the Spartans on the board. MSU scored its second and final run of the inning on a wild pitch with two outs. 

Ashley Miller worked her magic on the mound for the Spartans as she threw five innings giving up no runs and no walks, while striking out six batters. Sarah Ladd would finish the job, pitching the final two innings where she threw two strikeouts. Despite Maryland’s five hits, this game saw no more scoring the rest of the way. Michigan State’s two runs in the first inning proved to be enough for a 2-0 shutout of the Terrapins, and MSU’s fourth straight victory. 

It was all Maryland in the second game of the doubleheader. The Terps scored their first run of the series in the first inning. MSU’s Jala Wright gave up a walk, triple, double and single to start the third inning. This called for a pitching change that left Sarah Ladd with her hands full. 

With two runners on base and nobody out, Ladd retired her first two batters but failed to close out the inning strong. Maryland scored two more runs to cap off a four-run third inning and take a 5-0 lead. In the fourth inning, Kendall Kates knocked in an RBI single for Michigan State’s lone run of the game. 

Maryland continued to pour it on in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI single that brought in two runs. Another pair of runs in the next frame resulted in a 9-1 mercy victory for Maryland after just five innings played. 

Following an overwhelming performance in game two, the Terrapins picked up right where they left off in game three. Ashley Miller was pulled early in the contest after surrendering a walk, triple and single to start the second inning which resulted in two runs for Maryland. 

The three runs scored by the Terrapins in the third inning left Michigan State in a deeper hole, down 5-0. For the second straight game, the Spartans were held to one run which was scored in the top of the fourth inning after Mackenzie Meech went yard for her first home run of the year. Down to their last three outs, Michigan State threatened with the bases loaded but was unable to mount any sort of a comeback. It was another dominant showing for Maryland, out-hitting MSU 11-2 and winning comfortably 6-1 over the Spartans. 

MSU infielder Zaquai Dumas/ Photo Credit: Ben Solomon/MSU Athletic Communications

The series finale showcased a back and forth battle that began with two Maryland runs right out of the gate. Back to back RBI singles and Zaquai Dumas’ stealing of home plate lifted the Spartans to a big second inning and strong counterpunch to Maryland’s early scoring. 

Michigan State would tack on another run the next go around, leading the Terrapins 4-2 after the third inning. The home team Terps clawed their way back, homering and driving in a run off an RBI single to knot it up at four apiece heading into the fifth inning. Scoreless fifth and sixth innings set up Maryland with a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh. Maryland took care of business, ending the game in walk-off fashion on a sacrifice fly to win 5-4 and wrap up the series taking three of four. 

The Spartan softball squad will renew its rivalry in Ann Arbor on April 14th for a one-game showdown with Michigan, before returning home to Secchia Stadium to battle Penn State in a four-game series starting on April 16.