In close games, Maryland softball falters under pressure

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Maryland Softball entered the Queen City Classic on a high note as the winner of four straight games.

However, the Terp quickly lost momentum. They won their first game against Villanova but lost their next three against Charlotte, Boston College and the Wildcats again.

Maryland faced some team inconsistencies this past weekend. When his attack worked well, his throw didn’t work, and vice versa.

Three of the games played by the Terps in Charlotte, North Carolina were decided by a single inning. Eight of Maryland’s games have been decided by a single run — the Terps are 2-6 in those games.

“We have to find a way to win these games, and the difference in a one-point game sometimes comes down to just a play, better defensive play, hitting, better throwing,” coach Mark Montgomery said. “A moment in a game is what defines these races and we just have to find a way to do it a little bit better.”

Maryland’s only victory in the Queen City Classic was a one-point win over the Wildcats, 2-1. The Terps struggled offensively, as their first hit didn’t come until the sixth inning. In the two innings where Maryland had multiple hits, it scored a run.

Courtney Wyche threw a gem in the circle – eight innings, one run and 16 strikeouts. Wyche kept Maryland in the game long enough for their offense to make that “one play” to secure the win.

[Maryland softball loses doubleheader with Boston College, Villanova]

Against Boston College, the Terps led 2-0, with the Eagles coming at bat in fifth, but their pitching team couldn’t hold the lead. Montgomery’s team gave up runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings to lose to Boston College, 3-2.

Like the opener against Villanova, the fight between the Terps and the Wildcats was decided by a single run. Only this time, Maryland was on the losing side.

The Terps quickly took a 4-0 lead after the first two innings of the game, but just like in the game against the Eagles, they struggled to hold on to their lead.

Maryland conceded one point in the fourth and three in the fifth, allowing Villanova to tie the game at four. The Terps offense responded with three runs late in the fifth, coming back in front, 7-4.

But Villanova was not fazed.

The Wildcats scored four runs in the top of the sixth, including a three-run bomb off the bat from Ava Franz to suck the life out of the Terps.

The Terps were unable to score again and again lost by one point, 8-7.

One-inning losses became common for Maryland. Of the Terps’ nine losses, six have come in a single match.

Offensive team and pitching inconsistencies have led to a rocky season for Maryland so far.

[Maryland softball splits Villanova-Charlotte doubleheader at Queen City Classic]

Against FAU, Trinity Schlotterbeck allowed just two hits. But the single run was all the Owls needed to win as the Terps bats struggled.

On February 25, the Terps lost 5-4 to Central Michigan, dropping them to 4-6 on the season and 1-4 in one-point games.

After the loss to Central Michigan, the Terps have won five straight, including a one-point win over Villanova to start the Queen City Classic. It looked like Maryland had finally found their groove and found a way to close out the games.

But that was not the case for the Terps. They ended the weekend with three straight losses, the last two both decided by a point.

Maryland is scheduled to face Virginia on Tuesday, the first time this season they’ve played a game that isn’t part of an invite.

The Cavaliers come in 0-2 in one-point games — they also struggle in close competition.

“It allows you to think everything through in one game. You don’t have to hold shots…it’s an opportunity to just get down…We’ll probably throw at least two pitchers, maybe three,” Montgomery said.

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