Kevin Keister sat at a table surrounded by reporters who asked what he had learned from Maryland baseball’s three consecutive NCAA regional losses.

“Pitching is very important,” the senior said after a brief pause.

Keister had watched Maryland’s opponent score nine or more runs in each of its final NCAA tournament games the past three years. He saw the Terps record the fourth-worst earned run average in the Big Ten in 2023 — the worst in more than 10 years for the program.

Matt Swope saw it too.

Maryland’s new head coach added eight arms through the transfer portal in the offseason. More than half of the eight transfer pitchers started in five or more games last season. That experience meshes with a returning trio of Kenny Lippman, Ryan Van Buren and Nate Haberthier that combined for 18 starts in 2023.

“It’s no secret we need to pitch better,” Swope said. “I think more of the concern over the past few seasons where we’ve tended to be a little bit more offensive is we just need some depth more than anything.”

Lippman is a strong candidate to claim Maryland’s Friday night starting spot. He had a 4.40 ERA in both a starting and relief role in his first season with the Terps.

The fifth-year right-hander worked with new pitching coach Jimmy Jackson over the summer to raise his arm slot and add more pitches to his repertoire while easing the stress on his arm.

[Maryland baseball’s 2024 schedule features fewer home games, more road midweek contests]

Jackson said that Lippman was able to learn a splitter within a week of working on it with him. Lippman also reintroduced a curveball to his arsenal after scrapping it last season.

“I’ve been through a lot of roles, a lot of different teams in college and I’m just excited to get going with this [season],” Lippman said. “I feel like we’re prepared and ready to go.”

Lippman will likely be one of the new weekend starters for Maryland. Jason Savacool and Nick Dean were selected in the 2023 MLB Draft and sophomore Kyle McCoy underwent Tommy John surgery last June.

Right-hander Logan Koester has a strong shot of earning one of the other weekend starting spots after transferring from George Washington. Koester sported a 4.62 ERA for the Revolutionaries in 14 starts.

Jackson doesn’t envision having a set closer this season, and will rather approach it by a committee of bullpen arms.

“The experience we have I think is going to bode well for us,” Jackson said. “We got 10, 12 guys that have plenty good enough stuff at this level, if not above average, that know how to compete and they know how to win.”

Maryland’s reconstructed pitching staff hopes to back up a Terps offense that was dynamic last year, scoring the joint fifth-most runs in the nation. That will be tough to replicate after losing All-Big Ten first team honorees Matt Shaw, Luke Shliger and Nick Lorusso to the draft.

[Matt Swope has quickly replenished a depleted Maryland baseball roster with transfers]

Keister moves from second base to shortstop, replacing Shaw, while Iowa transfer Sam Hojnar will likely start at second base. Junior Eddie Hacopian will reassume his spot at first base after batting .328 last season.

Catcher Devin Russell replaces Shliger at catcher after a strong fall. Swope said it seemed that Russell hit a home run in every fall game, calling it an “unbelievable” fall game.

The Terps also feature a trio of freshmen that could make early impacts for the team. Freshmen Brayden Martin and Jordan Crosland could start in the other two outfield spots next to Elijah Lambros to open the year.

Freshman Chris Hacopian could take over for Lorusso at third base. Hacopian was named the 2021-2022 Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year and batted .526 during his senior year at Winston Churchill.

“I’m most happy about what we saw from the freshmen,” Swope said. “You can see that they belong and you can see they can make an impact early.”

Despite all the transitions between the roster and coaching staff, Swope maintained at media day that the program’s standards stay the same. Swope reiterated the same beliefs eight months ago at his introductory press conference inside Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

“We will win championships,” Swope said. “And we will do it better than it’s ever been done before.”