During Maryland baseball’s Tuesday practice, outfielder Randy Bednar stood on the pitcher’s mound practicing his pickoff move to second base. One of his throws nearly bounced into center field, and shortstop AJ Lee dove to keep the ball close to him.

Along with infielder Kevin Biondic, Bednar is one of two Terps position players being pushed into pitching duty to improve the depth of a bullpen low on reliable options. With a strong lineup and the return of starting pitchers Taylor Bloom and Tyler Blohm, finishing games appears to be Maryland’s primary weakness entering its season-opening series against Tennessee.

But under the tutelage of pitching coach Corey Muscara, as well as the guidance of experienced reliever John Murphy, there’s optimism that bright spots can emerge. After Bednar’s errant pickoff throw, Murphy laughed before demonstrating the proper technique for spinning and releasing the ball toward second base.

“We’re short on arms this year so guys are going to get their chance,” Bloom said. “Even if they come in and they don’t have success, they’re going to keep being thrown out in the fire because we need them to step up and they’ll just keep getting experience throughout the year.”

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Murphy will assume the closer role after posting a 1.71 ERA in 17 games last year. Right-handers Alec Tuohy and Ryan Hill add experience after combining for 83.2 innings last year (though Tuohy pitched at Buffalo). Beyond that trio, though, eight underclassmen could feature in relief after a flock of departures from last season’s bullpen.

Muscara, who served as St. John’s pitching coach before joining coach Rob Vaughn’s staff at Maryland, worked extensively with his relievers during the offseason. Muscara led St. John’s to a 3.11 team ERA last year, the eighth-best mark in the country, and he wants to transfer that success to the Terps bullpen.

“I like our starting pitching a lot,” Vaughn said. “I like our end-of-the-game stuff. And we’ve got some good, talented young guys in the middle who can hopefully piece that thing together.”

Vaughn highlighted right-hander Mike Vasturia and left-hander Billy Phillips — both pitching for the first time at Maryland — as pitchers who he thinks can develop into dependable relief options in the middle innings. Bloom and outfielder Marty Costes said Muscara was the right coach to get the most out of the team’s crop of inexperienced arms.

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“[Muscara’s] probably the best guy in the country when it comes to developing first-year players,” Bloom said. “Just from seeing freshmen from when they threw in the fall to the winter and now the spring, you can see the big jumps the young guys have made in just a short amount of time.”

Muscara’s training will be tested for the first time against Tennessee this weekend. Though it’ll likely take a while for Maryland’s relievers to find a groove, Bloom said getting experience against a live opponent will prove beneficial for them down the road.

“Especially the first weekend, you know, as much as you can throw them out there to get experience right away,” Bloom said, “it’s going to pay dividends toward the end of the year when we get into the postseason.”