Baseball | Crucial Matchup Awaits

After splitting a two-game series with Maryland-Eastern Shore, Georgetown (20-23, 4-5 Big East) gears up to resume conference play in a three game set with Seton Hall (30-12, 4-2 Big East) this weekend.

On April 27, Seton Hall defeated St. Peters (6-31, 1-11 Metro Athletic Atlantic Conference) in an 8-1 finish. Prior to that matchup, the Pirates downed the Villanova Wildcats (15-25, 3-6 Big East) 7-6 in extra innings on April 22 at home. The win over Villanova puts Seton Hall on a five game win streak.

Head Coach Pete Wilk said the games against Seton Hall would be critical for the team.

“Seton Hall is a high- quality team and well-coached,” Wilk wrote in an email to The Hoya. “This is a huge series for us. Each of the nine upcoming Big East games are huge. Our performance at Butler made them that way. If we had won that series, we would be in much better shape.”

The Seton Hall series comes after two high scoring games with UMES. While the Hoyas were able to edge out a 7-5 win in a rain-shortened first game, the Hawks took the second game on the strength of a strong offensive performance, winning 9-4. Both Wilk and Georgetown reliever Tim Davis noted the miscues on the offensive side in the second game of the UMES series.

“We just weren’t able to get the key hits with runners in scoring position, I think that was the biggest difference,” Davis said. Wilk lamented that some of the Hoyas’ hitters “tried to do too much with their at bats.”

However, Davis said he does not think the Blue and Gray need to make any changes as it prepares for Seton Hall.

“I just think we need to come out playing hard and keep playing consistent baseball in all three aspects of the game: pitching, hitting and defense,” Davis said.

Davis was particularly concerned with the Pirates’ dangerous base running, noting that they boast players who have acted as offensive threats in the past. Wilk wrote that solid defensive mechanics need to be the answer to Seton Hall’s speed.

“We have to disrupt their timing on their steals, because they’re going to run. A lot of picks and some pitchouts should hinder their game hopefully.”

Wilk was also wary of the Seton Hall’s pitching staff, specifically pointing to the quality of the Pirates’ coaching staff.

“Their staff is always good. Phil Cundari [longtime Pirates pitching coach] does a great job with those kids, and they don’t beat themselves. They limit their walks and free baserunners, and they pitch to their defense which, especially at their ballpark … is very good. We have a big challenge ahead of us but I think we’re ready for it.”

However, Georgetown will be sending its own stalwart pitchers to the hill. Davis’s durability and dependability have put him within four games of the Hoyas’ all-time pitching appearances record. He will be joined on the mound by sophomore pitcher Jimmy Swad. Davis spoke to Swad’s vital contribution to the bullpen. “[Swad] just brings consistency … He comes in, he always throws strikes, always competes. And he controls the game so well because he controls himself really well. He’s really good at just taking his time between each pitch and delivering each pitch with a certain conviction that gets guys out.”

Wilk also showed confidence in his bullpen.“Swad and Davis are effective because they throw strikes with above average stuff. Both live around 88-90 [miles per hour] and command at least two pitches … Our pitchers have seen much tougher lineups … than Seton Hall will send to the plate.”

“It means a lot to me just because I have a lot of respect for this program,” Davis said. “It also means that I have a lot of respect for our coaches, so just the fact that they’ve given me so many opportunities in my career to pitch means a lot … The appearance record is cool, but our main goal is to win games.” 

The Seton Hall series begins today at 7 p.m. at Shirley Povich field in Rockville, Md.

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