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As a new season approaches, outfielder Randy Bednar looks to build on a successful sophomore year

Following a career year, Bednar has become the beating heart of Maryland both on and off the field.

Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Randy Bednar’s sophomore season at Maryland was a massive improvement from his freshman campaign. But while certain players get complacent after a breakout year, Bednar is focusing on what he can do better.

“I’m going to look to improve on cutting down on swing-and-misses from last year and putting the ball in play a little bit more,” said Bednar. “When you put the ball in play, you give yourself more chances to get on base and help the team out.”

After a career year, Bednar seems to be locked in to what’s up next. That shouldn’t come as a surprise however, because the junior outfielder has always been looking for ways to develop his game ever since his first year with the Terps.

During his freshman season, Bednar started 38 out of his 43 games out in the outfield and recorded a slash line of .208/.272/.376. The Bethesda, Maryland, native made the most of the opportunities he was given, finishing his first season with six home runs and 15 RBIs.

Bednar exploded onto the scene in his sophomore season though, recording a staggering slash line of .288/.362/.531, starting every game for the Terps and becoming a focal point of the offense. Following his year of outstanding play, Bednar was given Second Team All-Big Ten honors.

In just two seasons, Bednar went from a utility player to one of Maryland’s biggest bats. He did this by making a number of adjustments physically and mentally. One might assume that the kind of training it takes to make such an improvement in between two seasons would be focused solely on a practice field or weight room, but Bednar would disagree.

“I started to enjoy the process a little bit more and focus on the things I can control,” Bednar said when asked what he improved between those two seasons. “Just going out there when the game starts, playing without a fear of failure.”

Even after such a wildly successful sophomore season, Bednar is still stressing the importance of continuing to work hard, not being afraid of failure, and enjoying the game.

“Basically just enjoying the process a lot more, grinding for results, playing with the freedom of failure,” Bednar said at 2020 spring media day. “Just going out there and not worrying about anything.”

Bednar isn’t the only one focused on keeping a strong mindset, it’s a sentiment echoed by the entire team thanks to head coach Rob Vaughn. Vaughn, like Bednar, has been an avid supporter of always keeping the right headspace.

“It’s one of those things where I think you got to take it one day at a time,” Vaughn said. “Every day, everything we do is important.”

In addition to the physical and mental preparation for the upcoming season, Bednar has also become a vocal presence in the locker room. Whether it’s holding players accountable, picking up his teammates after a loss, or setting an example, Bednar has become a leader among his teammates.

Teammate Maxwell Costes has echoed the importance of Bedner’s leadership when asked about the presence older members have on and off of the field.

“Having guys that have been through this a couple of times that’s really going to be invaluable.” Costes said. “Having people able to give you advice or talk about where they struggled and how they got through got through things, that’s something that’s always gonna be invaluable.”

One of the bigger steps forward Bednar has taken this offseason has been serving as a role model for a fresh large group of new players. Ranked seventh in the country by, the new group of freshmen owns the highest rank of any recruit class in Maryland history.

“The freshman class has a ton of talent. There’s a bunch of guys who I believe will make an immediate impact on the team,” Bednar said. “We want them to be athletic, be themselves, and do their own thing. I believe that starts with bringing them in and making sure they are part of the team and comfortable.”

As the team plays its first game on Friday, Bednar will take the field in hopes of helping Maryland open 2020 with a win. While some might have doubts on whether he can match his numbers, Bednar’s work ethic, leadership, and hunger to improve will speak for him.