COLLEGE PARK — A record-setting season for the Maryland baseball team will continue this week as the Terps qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1971.
The Terps earned the No. 2 seed in the Columbia regional, and they will play against third-seeded Old Dominion (36-24) from Conference USA on Friday at 1 p.m. in Columbia, S.C.
"It's a collaboration of a lot of work from our coaching staff and players," Maryland coach John Szefc said. "It's a really good feeling of at least getting some payback for all the blood, sweat and tears we've put into it."
The Maryland team gathered at Looney's Pub at noon Monday, eating Old Bay wings and watching a massive projection screen to find out where they would be playing.
A part of the final regional to be announced on the selection show, Terps players and fans stood and cheered when the team learned its destination.
Maryland has already set the program's single-season record for wins, and they currently have a 36-21 record heading into the tournament. The Terps finished 15-14 in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season.
And then Maryland boosted its resume with convincing wins over Virginia and Florida State in the ACC tournament to make the championship game before losing, 9-4, to Georgia Tech.
"To get down there and play two of the top five teams in the country, and actually end up beating them," Terps sophomore right-handed pitcher Kevin Mooney (North Harford) said. "It really lifted up our spirits and made us believe that much more that we can make it."
The other two teams in Maryland's region — top-seeded South Carolina and No. 4 seed Campbell — will play at 7 p.m. Friday. The two winners will play Saturday, while the two losers also will meet in an elimination game.
The winner of the four-team, double-elimination regional will play the winner of the Charlottesville regional in the super regionals from June 6 to 9.
The Terps, who have won 11 of their past 13 games, are 4-4 against the Top 8 national seeds this season.
"We just played pretty well as a team at the end of the year," Mooney said. "Got really hot, and I think that helped push us into the postseason."
Maryland is looking for its second-ever NCAA tournament win, and its first since 1970. Maryland is 1-6 all-time in the tournament. The Terps will head to South Carolina on Wednesday.
"This is awesome," Maryland sophomore outfielder Anthony Papio said. "I think everyone's really pumped to go down to South Carolina, which is a great place to play, and a team that's been pretty dominant the last few years. So that's going to make it even more exciting for us."