Woodbridge High School graduate Brandon Gum spent his first four years of college starting for George Mason University. But a freak injury 11 games into his 2016 senior season changed how the shortstop planned to finish his career.
Gum tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder after sliding headfirst into home. He rolled on to his right after his left-hand was stepped on. Gum received a medical red-shirt that granted him one more year of eligibility. The question was where he would use it.
GMU told Gum they were moving in a different direction, which Gum took as confirmation that it was time to act on his desire to transfer to another school. The University of Maryland needed an infielder. The school was also close to home, played in the Big Ten and could offer Gum some scholarship money. But the Terps offered something else that appealed to Gum: a successful program with the chance to go deep in the NCAA Tournament.
“One of the biggest things is that I wanted to win,” said Gum, who will be a graduate student at Maryland in the fall.
Under fifth-year head coach John Szefc, Maryland reached the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time, advancing in 2014 and 2015.
Gum hit .297 in his four years at GMU, including a career-high .338 in 2015 when he was second-team all-Atlantic 10 and recorded the program’s third-longest hitting streak at 25 games. He hit .307 in 2014 when the Patriots won the A-10 Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament before losing in the first round of regionals.