Mazie MacFarlane took a deep breath before she stepped out of the dugout Friday. The graduate student walked up to the plate, her bat’s barrel facing the dirt. As she lifted it to her shoulder, the small smiley face she drew on the grip met her gaze.

The drawn-on emoji reminds MacFarlane that softball is supposed to be fun. After another deep breath, the Maryland outfielder slammed a home run and returned to her cheering teammates.

MacFarlane’s home run came in Maryland softball’s Big Ten opener, a 7-6 win over Minnesota. The Terps won two of their three games against the Golden Gophers. Maryland scored 25 runs in the series, using a “pass the bat” philosophy to fuel the offensive explosion.

The Terps were tested throughout the weekend. Minnesota scored 10 first-inning runs throughout the three-game series. But head coach Lauren Karn, who has worked to establish a culture in her first year at College Park, saw some early returns. She believes the coaching staff’s optimism bleeds into the players.

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“If this was us earlier in the season, and we were down in the first inning, I don’t know what our reaction would have been. I don’t think it would have been as positive as it was all weekend,” Karn said.

The Terps’ offense notched 36 hits and three home runs across the three games. Maryland received contributions throughout the lineup, a consistent performance that led to the high scores.

Sophomore Sammi Woods got up to bat in the bottom of the ninth. Maryland and Minnesota were tied and the Terps had two runners left on base. Woods slapped a long hit to left field that brought home MacFarlane and snagged the Terps’ win.

Karn credited the “pass the bat” philosophy to assistant coach Jen Lapicki.

The philosophy focuses the player’s attention on the quality at bat and getting on-base rather than putting the pressure to do everything themselves. Errors, walks and singles are all quality at-bats to the Terps because they keep the lineup churning and extend innings.

“I feel like there’s not a lot of pressure on me personally because we have the attitude that if I don’t get my job done, then the next person is able to get [the] job done,” MacFarlane said. “So I think that just really relaxes me and loosens [me] up so I can just go out there and swing.”

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MacFarlane, who bats a hearty .359, earned six hits this weekend and knocked her fourth home run of the season.

The Utah State transfer is in her first year with Maryland and has seen the change in the offensive mindset from preseason to Big Ten play.

MacFarlane said her spot in Maryland’s lineup uplifts her. She’s usually sandwiched between sophomore Sydney Lewis and senior Michaela Jones and finds herself looking to them in times of doubt. Their trust in MacFarlane — demonstrated through the “passing the bat” mentality — encourages MacFarlane and allows her to perform at her best.

“If you’re not feeling 100 percent confident in yourself, having [Lewis] feeling 100 percent confident in you really brings the confidence that you need,” MacFarlane said.

The Terps still have the bulk of conference play ahead of them. They hope their team-centric offensive approach continues paying off in University Park this weekend, where they’ll have a three-game series against Penn State.