The last time the Maryland baseball team played in the NCAA tournament, aluminum bats were still three years away from being introduced to the college game.
Plenty has changed since 1971, but the Terrapins' wait is finally over.
After a run to the ACC tournament final over the weekend, Maryland on Monday learned it had received the coveted NCAA berth 43 years in the making. The Terrapins are the No. 2 seed in South Carolina's regional and will open tournament play Friday afternoon against Old Dominion in Columbia, S.C.
"I am just happy for the players, [Maryland] supporters, people that have wanted this for a long time," Maryland coach John Szefc said in a school press release. "Personally, I have been through this before and this never gets old for a coach. I am happy for our guys that they get to experience what we've been, as a coaching staff, talking about for a long time, that this can happen as long as you do things the right way."
In his second year in College Park, Szefc has experienced 24 NCAA games in previous stops as the head coach at Marist and as an assistant at Kansas, Kansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette, but this is uncharted territory for most connected to the Maryland program.
The Terrapins finished strong to secure their berth. After losing six out of seven in late April, they won their final nine regular-season games, then took the first two games in round-robin play at the ACC tournament.
"We won 11 straight after a pretty bad stretch going 1-6," said Szefc. "To our guys' credit, they went out against Notre Dame and got it going and they have never backed off since."
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