With only half of her team returning from last season — and just a few players used to regularly playing at the college level — Maryland softball coach Julie Wright knew her young squad would take time to adjust to the pace of Division I play.

What she didn’t know was that the Terps would begin the season 6-4 — the program’s best start since 2015.

After the Terps went 2-3 during their opening weekend at the Trojan Classic, Wright had a few key adjustments she wanted her team to make going forward: to walk fewer hitters, avoid stranding runners on base and prevent giving up “big innings.”

And, barring a 12-4 loss to Houston on Saturday, the inexperienced Terps have heeded Wright’s orders and put in extra work to build team cohesiveness — culminating in a 4-1 record in the Houston Classic, including decisive wins over Louisiana-Monroe and Nevada.

“I think they are open to being coached and to learning,” Wright said. “They have great team chemistry and they work well together.”

[Read more: After limited action in 3 seasons, Sami Main is now a leader for Maryland softball]

The Terps were pummeled for 10 runs each in losses to Alabama and Troy on Feb. 9. But in four out of their five games in the Houston Classic, they gave up three runs or less.

Wright was pleased with the progress her pitchers made, especially senior Sami Main’s five-inning shutout against Louisiana-Monroe.

“They are on board with how we are preparing and what we’re doing in practice, and you’re seeing it translate into the game,” Wright said.

[Read more: Maryland softball closes Houston Classic tournament with 6-3 win over Nevada]

Another focus of practice that Wright saw improvement in was her hitters taking advantage of runners on base. The Terps managed just 13 runs in their first five games, but were able to flip the script in Houston.

Infielder Anna Kufta had seven of Maryland’s 24 RBIs on the weekend, while freshman infielder Taylor Okada broke out with four RBIs herself — three against Louisiana-Monroe — and went 10-for-18. The freshman was an integral part of setting up hitters like Kufta and infielder Sammie Stefan in big moments for Maryland down the stretch.

While Okada feels that the pitching staff and a decrease in errors on defense were key to Maryland’s success this past weekend, it was team chemistry that gave the Terps an edge.

“I think we definitely worked from the past weekend about communicating and being more of a team on the field,” Okada said. “We’re playing on our game and focusing on what we can do to win games.”

The bond on and off the field that the Terps have built may seem odd considering all the new faces this season. But Wright said that even before the season started, the players made it a priority to connect.

As a result, Maryland appears to have shaken off the early-season rust faster than anticipated.

“We have definitely a mix of personalities that I think feed well off each other,” Main said. “We also all have a strong will to compete … and a belief that we will win.”