Maryland softball had the bases loaded in the fourth inning Sunday, trailing Michigan State, 4-0. With no outs, the Terps managed only one run via a walk.

Two strikeouts and a fly out ended Maryland’s chance in an eventual 6-2 loss, as Maryland was swept for the second straight series.

It was just one of the Terps’ myriad of missed opportunities as they fell to 0-6 in Big Ten play. Maryland hit 2-for-26 with runners in scoring position, and the team struck out 22 times. It led to 28 stranded runners in the three-game series.

“That’ll be the big focus of the week for everybody,” coach Julie Wright said. “We’re still working hard, still trying to get that problem taken care of, because it’s obviously only going to help us win ball games.”

Wright said batters may be doing too much with runners on base. The coach said batters need to aim for center field, letting the ball get deep with a short swing rather than jumping out at it.

Focusing on that approach worked for infielder Anna Kufta in the fourth inning of Friday’s 11-3 loss. With the bases loaded, the freshman hit a ground ball that the shortstop misplayed, allowing pinch runner Sami Main to score. A pop up and groundout followed to end the frame.

“It’s not that we’re trying not to swing hard, we just don’t need to be so big,” Wright said. “We’re best as a team when we’re striking the ball well gap to gap and working through the center of the field.”

Maryland only notched two extra base hits in the series. Strange roped a double Saturday into the left field gap, and infielder Skylynne Ellazar hit a triple over the left fielder’s head Sunday.

But 12 of Maryland’s 22 strikeouts occurred with runners in scoring position during the series. Strange was stranded at second in the third inning after outfielder Amanda Brashear flew out and pitcher Hannah Dewey struck out. Wright said her players were swinging at pitches that weren’t in the strike zone, “and that really only helps the opposing pitcher.”

Maryland’s seven through nine batters combined for six strikeouts. Infielder Brigette Nordberg and designated player Sarah Calta had back-to-back strikeouts in the second and fourth innings Saturday, stranding two runners each time. So Wright took them out of the lineup for Sunday’s game.

“Up and down the lineup we struggled this series a little bit,” Wright said. “I just wanted to get everybody just a different look, different situation, maybe get some different pitches to hit. Sometimes when we can shake it up like that, great things shake out.”

Wright said the Terps need to be more disciplined at the plate, and catcher Kristina Dillard and Strange followed that advice in the fourth inning Sunday.

Kufta and Ellazar led off the frame with two singles. Spartans coach Jacquie Joseph made a trip to the circle to talk with pitcher Bridgette Rainey, and Wright spoke to her runners and batters. After the meeting, Dillard and Strange walked amid two strikeouts and a fly out.

“As any players, they’re very human,” Wright said. “They’re going to get frustrated with themselves because everybody wants to do well.”

Despite that frustration, Wright said she was pleased with the team’s reaction after the series. Maryland focused on “what we need to get done this week in practice to get ourselves into a position where we’re going to plate more runners come the Northwestern series.”