Baseball | Defense Ignites Back-to-Back Wins

Coming off an 8-5 loss in the series opener on Friday, the Georgetown baseball team (17-20, 3-3 Big East) won two straight contests against Xavier (13-24, 1-2 Big East) to win the weekend series 2-1.

The closing game of the series came down to the final moments with the Hoyas’ backs against the wall. After the Musketeers tied the game 3-3 at the top of the eighth, freshman infielder Ryan Weisenberg faced a 1-2 count at the bottom of the ninth with one out and two runners on base.

With a double into right field, the winning run scored and Weisenberg gave Georgetown its fourth walk-off win of the season.

“Hitting a walk off was a great feeling,” Weisenberg wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We needed that Sunday victory, which is what made the game-winning hit so much more exciting for my teammates and me.”

Weisenberg’s game-winning hit capped off two solid defense performances from the Hoyas — the 4-3 win on Sunday and a 9-1 rout on Saturday.

“Saturday and Sunday’s teams are playoff teams,” Head Coach Pete Wilk wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We need to be consistently like those teams and eliminate our Friday-like performances defensively.”

Friday’s game saw the team give up eight runs to the Xavier offense and commit four errors. Over the final two games, Georgetown gave up just four runs and committed no errors, which the team has stressed improving all season.

“After an error or a tough defensive break, it is up to the pitcher and defense to stop any growing momentum for the other team,” Weisenberg wrote about the team’s commitment to improving its defensive play. “Our staff has started to make big pitches following a defensive mistake, which is key.”

The Hoya pitchers made big pitches all weekend, with sophomore pitcher Kevin Superko pitching six innings Sunday, giving up two runs and striking out four batters. Junior pitcher Simon Mathews pitched his third complete game of the year on Saturday, tying his career high in strikeouts with nine. Mathews was named to the Big East Honor Roll on Monday following his performance over the weekend. Even in Friday’s loss, Smith gave up just three runs to go along with seven strikeouts.

“I liked almost everything about our pitching this weekend, I thought we held a pretty potent lineup down all weekend.” Wilk wrote. “Smith and Mathews pitched brilliantly, Superko competed well and our bullpen did a decent job.”

In addition to solid pitching the whole weekend, the Hoyas benefited from the stellar hitting of senior catcher Eric Webber, who was named Big East Player of the Week on Monday after hitting 7-of-10 over three games against the Musketeers.

Webber’s consistent hitting forced the Xavier pitchers to intentionally walk him at the bottom of the ninth, allowing sophomore shortstop Chase Bushor — the game’s winning run — to advance to second base.

Weisenberg credited some of Georgetown’s success to its hitting coach, Ryan Wood. The Hoyas scored 18 runs and recorded 39 hits over the series.

“Coach Wood does a great job preparing his hitters for new pitchers, [and] he helped me with Xavier’s closer as well,” Weisenberg wrote. “It took a couple of pitches to time up his fast ball and see his breaking ball well, but that’s why we get three strikes. I’m glad I made the most of the third strike.”

Georgetown will look to continue its hitting hot streak against cross-town rival George Washington (16-21, 6-3 Atlantic 10) Wednesday, April 19. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Shirley Povich Field, and the game will be web cast with live stats on GUHoyas.com.

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