Baseball | GU Snaps Skid At Coppin State

The Georgetown baseball team (12-14, 0-0 Big East) got a boost from an unlikely source on Wednesday, as freshman third baseman Cristian Sanchez posted three hits in his first career varsity start, leading his team to a 5-4 win over Coppin State (4-18, 2-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference).

“It was pretty terrific,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “It was a great example of a kid seizing an opportunity that came up for one reason or another and stepping up, and I think he did a great job [Wednesday]. I was very, very pleased to see that.”

The win over Coppin State snapped Georgetown’s four-game losing streak, including a 2-1 loss to George Mason (8-17, 1-2 Atlantic 10) Tuesday.

Freshman pitcher Jack Cushing took the loss on the mound for Georgetown against George Mason. Cushing went four innings and allowed only two hits and one run, but he struggled with his command, walking four batters and lasting only four innings.

Patriots junior pitcher Tyler Kardas earned the win by throwing five shutout innings, allowing only two hits. Sophomore second baseman Jake Bernstein led Georgetown with two hits, but the team only totaled six base hits over the nine-inning game.

Wilk said he was concerned about his team’s energy level in the game against the Patriots.

“I wasn’t very pleased on Tuesday,” Wilk said. “I think we lost to an inferior team, and I got on our guys about energy and effort level and consistency and they responded on Wednesday.”

Sanchez’s performance helped the Hoyas bounce back to beat Coppin State on Wednesday. The freshman had two doubles and a single, driving in three of the Hoyas’ five runs for the victory.

“Cristian’s a great kid, he’s been working hard for us, finally got a chance to compete yesterday and I thought he took advantage of it. I’m impressed with him,” junior pitcher Simon Mathews said.

On the mound, Georgetown junior pitcher Nick Leonard earned his first win of the season. He threw 5 1/3 innings and surrendered only three hits and one run, striking out four batters.

Leonard, who was making only his second appearance of the season, is not one of Georgetown’s regular starting pitchers. However, he is one of several pitchers who have stepped up early in the season to help the Hoyas compete. Wilk said he has been impressed with the depth of his pitching staff so far this season.

“I know personally I’ve never had a staff this deep at Georgetown; I’ve been here a while,” Wilk said. “I think we’re blessed to have the level of talent and the depth that we have currently. Now, that can all change, an injury here and there and that will change things in a hurry. But right now, our strength is on the hill, and hopefully it will continue to be so.”

Georgetown will play a three-game weekend series against William & Mary (12-11, 3-1 Colonial Athletic Association) in the coming days. Three of the Hoyas’ regular starting pitchers — Mathews, sophomore Kevin Superko and senior Matt Smith — figure to be available for the series, with several relievers waiting in the wings. With just four games remaining until Georgetown begins Big East play, the team is searching for consistency as it continues to prepare.

“We need to get back to playing the game consistently,” Wilk said. “If you want to sum it up, I think if we can get back to executing offensively and taking advantage of the situations that the game has put us in, then we’re going to do well. If we fail at executing in those situations, we’re going to come up on the short end again.”

Sophomore right fielder Michael DeRenzi will lead the Hoyas on offense against the Tribe. DeRenzi leads Georgetown’s regular players in several categories, including batting average, hits, doubles, triples, slugging percentage and stolen bases. DeRenzi received only sporadic playing time last season, but has made significant improvement this season.

“He’s one of the best athletes I’ve seen in college baseball, so the improvements he’s made have been so fast,” Mathews said of DeRenzi. “Last year, [in] a couple of games he played early in the season, he could barely make contact, and now he’s leading the league in hitting, hitting balls hard all over the place and running all over the field. So you just have to sit back and watch that kid, he’s amazing.”

Georgetown will have to prepare for William & Mary’s strong offense, which features five regular starters with batting averages higher than .340. Mathews said he and his teammates are focused on their energy levels as they move toward conference play.

“We want to really bring the energy every single game,” Matthews said. “It’s a long season, and closer to the halfway point we’re really focusing on bringing the intensity to every game.”

The first game of the series will be played Friday in Williamsburg, Va. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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