COLLEGE PARK, MD - The fifth inning proved to be the Scarlet Knights’ undoing, as they dropped the first two games of their Spring Break road trip on March 17 to Maryland (12-11). Rutgers (6-9) fell in game one of the double header, 6-4, before getting shut out 6-0 in the second game.
In game one, senior Leah Black (Rocky River, OH) held the Terps scoreless and hitless through four, but Maryland broke out with a six run, six hit fifth inning to chase Black (3-4) from the game. The big blow in the inning came on a bases-clearing double to right center off the bat of Monica Cyphert to put Maryland ahead for good, 6-4.
Rutgers had built a 4-0 lead by scoring in the third, fourth and fifth. The Scarlet Knights took a 1-0 lead in the third after senior Brittney Neer (Tallahassee, FL) walked, stole second and scored on a Courtney Love (Seabrook, TX) double to left center. Rutgers extended the lead to three, 3-0, on a Crystal Vargas (Jersey City, NJ) RBI-triple and a Jenny Card (Miami, FL) suicide squeeze to bring Vargas home. Card, Vargas and junior Helen Smith (Tucson, AZ) all finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI.
The Rutgers bats fell silent in game two as the Scarlet Knights managed only three hits and were shut out for the third time this season. Sophomore pitcher Christina Gillman (Valencia, CA) (1-1) kept Rutgers in the game into the fifth, but the Terrapins scored five runs on only two hits and five walks in the inning. First baseman Lindsay Klein provided all of the offensive Maryland would need by going 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and four RBI. Cyphert pitched a complete game to record the win for Maryland.
The Scarlet Knights will now head to Charlottesville, VA, for the Cavalier Classic, hosted by Virginia, from Friday, March 19, through Sunday, March 21. On March 19 they will face Towson (9-9) at 9:00 a.m. and host school UVA (13-14) at 1:00 p.m., and on March 20, RU will play Campbell (13-12) at 9:00 a.m. and Youngstown State (10-6) at 11:00 a.m. On the final day of the tournament, March 21, Rutgers will face LaSalle (3-9) at 11:00 a.m.