After first baseman Brandon Gum took strike three in the ninth inning of Maryland baseball’s season-ending loss to West Virginia, he shook his head.

It was one of the few times this season the fifth-year George Mason transfer failed to deliver in a critical late-game situation, as he’d made starting rallies a regular occurrence down the stretch. Though Gum homered earlier in the contest, giving Maryland a 4-0 lead, his strikeout ended the Terps’ once-promising campaign and thrust the program into an uncertain offseason.

When his fifth-inning blast flew over the wall down the left field line, though, he didn’t anticipate his college career would finish just four frames later.

“When you go up 4-0 with our guys on the mound,” Gum said, “you definitely feel good about it.”

Gum led Maryland in batting average (.338) and on-base percentage (.451), while stealing 13 bases. And despite the disappointing end to his campaign, he became known for his game-changing hits.

About a month and a half earlier, he launched a walk-off home run against Penn State at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium to cap a ninth-inning comeback. The Terps won seven straight after his shot to left field secured a win over the Nittany Lions.

But then, Maryland reverted back to the team that dropped five of its first six games, struggling to score and relying on its bullpen early in contests. The preseason favorites to win the Big Ten finished the year with four straight series losses.

In the conference tournament semifinals, Gum hit a seventh-inning grand slam against Northwestern to cut Maryland’s 6-0 deficit to two runs. But the Wildcats held on to eliminate the Terps.

After being unsure of its NCAA tournament prospects, Maryland earned a No. 3 seed in the Winston-Salem region, which featured two teams it beat in the regular season. However, the Mountaineers, who the Terps bested, 7-6, on April 11, defeated them twice to send them home.

“We’ll walk away with our heads high,” coach John Szefc said, “and we’ll be back as we have been in the past.”

Szefc has helped the Terps emerge as regular Big Ten contenders, most recently becoming the only coach in program history to collect five consecutive 30-win seasons. Next year, though, it’ll be a challenge to extend that streak with a young roster.

Numerous scouts watched right-hander Brian Shaffer’s final start in College Park, and despite two poor postseason outings, he’s expected to be selected in the 2017 MLB Draft. He’s currently ranked No. 126 on Baseball America’s top-500 prospects list. Shortstop Kevin Smith, who hit .268 with 13 home runs, is No. 80.

While right fielder Marty Costes, right-hander Ryan Selmer and catcher Justin Morris aren’t seniors, they’re draft-eligible and could entertain leaving for the draft after impressive campaigns.

In addition, Maryland will lose Gum, left fielder Madison Nickens, catcher Nick Cieri and left-hander Tayler Stiles to graduation.

Szefc said Sunday that he and his coaching staff preach consistency, a staple of the NCAA’s most elite programs. But Maryland’s season ended with its most stable hitter striking out, offering a glimpse into a future where less experienced players such as right-hander John Murphy and third baseman AJ Lee must step up to help Maryland reach the NCAA tournament again next season.

“I know our coaching staff will walk away from this feeling pretty positive about where things are and where they’re going,” Szefc said, “and feel good about the guys that are leaving the program as far as the careers they’ve had and they experiences they’ve had.”