Maryland softball catcher Kristina Dillard demands attention.

Whether she’s pumping her fist after a Terps pitcher records a strikeout, earning laughs for her antics in practice — this past Thursday she broke into an impromptu song — or ripping a clutch hit into the gap, it’s difficult to miss her on the softball field.

Dillard’s enthusiastic persona and on-field production have been bright spots for the faltering Terps, who were swept by Penn State over the weekend.

She ranks second on the team in batting average (.351) and has become one of Maryland’s most consistent hitters.

“She’s such a high-character individual,” coach Julie Wright said. “I’ve just been really proud of her growth.”

Outfielder Destiney Henderson added that she’s “really glad” to have Dillard on board this season after the catcher spent her first two seasons playing for Louisville. She transfered to this university in the fall.

The Hanover native had her most impressive series of the year against the Nittany Lions (24-17, 11-3 Big Ten) this past weekend. While Maryland scored just nine runs against Penn State in a three-game sweep, Dillard went 8-for-10 with four RBIs.

Friday night, she notched a crucial hit as the Terps were fighting back from a 9-2 deficit. With the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, Dillard crushed a double to left-center field, scoring three runs to trim the Nittany Lions’ lead to four.

In the seventh, Dillard recorded her third hit of the game, bringing the tying run to the on-deck circle. Her teammates couldn’t complete a potential rally, though, as the next two hitters were retired.

Still, Dillard’s hot streak continued into Saturday. Though the Terps were held scoreless in a 4-0 loss, she notched two more hits.

And in the fifth inning Sunday, the Nittany Lions opted to intentionally walk Dillard with a runner on third base to avoid further damage from her bat. She went 3-for-3 with an RBI in the contest.

Dillard said “it felt great” to be so locked in at the plate. She entered each at-bat expecting to get a hit, and attributed her confident approach to “sticking to my plan and just being relaxed.”

Wright will continue looking to Dillard to provide a spark as the team hosts Rutgers for a doubleheader Wednesday.

“I just can’t say enough about her right now,” Wright said. “She’s playing great softball.”