Tim Lewis didn’t hesitate. In the second inning Friday night, the Terrapins baseball left fielder swung at the first pitch he saw from Georgia Tech right-hander Josh Heddinger and ripped a two-out RBI single through the middle of the infield to cut the Terps’ deficit to 2-1 in their eventual 7-2 victory.
Lewis’ RBI showcased the Terps’ hitting approach, a strategy that emphasizes swinging at good pitches to hit in any count. This weekend, the game plan produced consistent offense in a series win, the Terps’ second ACC series victory of the season.
The Terps scored four or more runs in all three games against a conference opponent for the second time this season and hope to continue their success at the plate today at West Virginia.
“We just been sticking to our approach, putting good swings on the ball and they’re falling,” center fielder Charlie White said.
The Terps are told to take pitches early in at-bats if they don’t see a fastball in the strike zone. Conversely, the Terps have no reservations in taking a hack at the first pitch they see if it’s a fastball in the zone, as Lewis did early Friday.
“Our approach is hunting the out-over-the-plate fastball,” first baseman LaMonte Wade said. “That’s where our strength is, and that really seems to work when we stick to it.”
Second baseman Brandon Lowe used that strategy this weekend and finished 7-for-11 with two walks and a hit by pitch in the series. He also had two doubles, two RBIs and one run.
And when the Terps offense has been consistent, the team has had success. In a three-game sweep of then-No. 10 N.C. State in late March, the Terps scored at least five runs in each victory.
“Ever since the N.C. State game, we had our plan, and it’s just sticking to being on time with the fastball,” Wade said. “Just making sure when we get the fastball and it’s in the zone and it’s a pitch we can handle, we get our swing off.”
But the Terps offense has been sporadic in the team’s five series losses this season.
They scored a combined two runs in two games against then-No. 22 Clemson a week after sweeping the Wolfpack. Plus, they suffered a 3-1 loss to Virginia Tech on April 11, five days after their ACC-high 11-run performance against Wake Forest.
And even this weekend in one of their most complete series, the Terps couldn’t finish a sweep. They tied a season high with 16 hits Sunday, but they stranded 15 runners in a 13-6 12th-inning loss.
“Outside of some defensive misplays, that was really our glaring issue today,” coach John Szefc said Sunday. “We had plenty of opportunities to win the game ourselves, and we couldn’t get it done today. But that happens in baseball. You aren’t always going to get the big hit.”
Despite Sunday’s disappointing result, the Terps ended this weekend with more positives than negatives. They plated runs before the third inning in all three games, either providing run support for their pitchers or cutting into early deficits. And a steady offense helped them claim a series win.
Entering today’s game, the Terps just want to stick to their offensive approach so they can avoid a letdown.
“They’re progressing,” Szefc said. “We’re a lot better than we were two weeks ago, three weeks ago. … In general, I think it’s just a much more productive group of guys.”