In five games last weekend, Maryland softball increased its run total on the season from 14 to 33. The main reason for the offensive onslaught was the emergence of infielder Brigette Nordberg as a second dangerous bat in the lineup, complementing infielder Skylynne Ellazar.
The Terps will need to continue their hot hitting to succeed in Louisville this weekend.
In Gainesville, Nordberg raised her batting average from .280 to .395 and hit her first home run of the year. The breakout performance pushed her past Ellazar — who's hitting .378 — for the team lead.
Nordberg and Ellazar are the only Terps batting over .250 and have combined for more than one-third of the team's hits and RBIs. Nordberg also has five of the team's 17 doubles; no other player has more than two.
"I worked a lot with our new hitting coach Victoria Hayward on really seeing the spin out of the pitcher's hand and getting my timing down," Nordberg said. "She's also yelling at me from the dugout to make adjustments in the batter's box, which helped me hit my first home run, which was awesome."
Coach Julie Wright also praised her assistants, Hayward and pitching coach Tori Tyson.
"They have a great knowledge of the game," Wright said. "They've done a really good job with our inexperience of breaking things down and reiterating things."
Nordberg is getting hot at an opportune time, as the Terps' trip to Louisville is a good chance to pick up some much-needed wins.
The Louisville tournament has the weakest field of any tournament Maryland has played in this season. This is the first weekend of the year the Terps will not have to play against a ranked host, after facing No. 3 UCLA, No. 12 Auburn and No. 2 Florida, respectively, in their first three weekends.
"Game plan is to only worry about us," said Wright, "stop looking at the name on the other jersey, communicate better and play one pitch at a time."
Louisville (10-4) received votes in the last poll but has yet to be ranked this season. Miami (Ohio) and IUPUI — the latter of whom Maryland will face twice — both have only three wins, and each has at least two run-rule losses.
While Maryland's offense has sputtered this season and its pitching has lacked control, the Terps have worked as much on intangibles and mentality as they have on-the-field skills.
"We're trying to bring up our energy," Nordberg said. "We're trying to work on trusting each other on and off the field and working together as a cohesive unit."