Junior first basemen Alex Bernauer scored two runs and recorded one RBI in this weekend’s series against NYIT. Bernauer is hitting .250 this season. (COURTESY GUHOYAS)
Junior first basemen Alex Bernauer scored two runs and recorded one RBI in this weekend’s series against NYIT. Bernauer is hitting .250 this season. (COURTESY GUHOYAS)

This weekend, the Georgetown baseball team swept its home series, extending the team’s winning streak to six games and building momentum as it prepares for Big East play.

Coincidentally, yet appropriately scheduled right after Patrick Ewing’s (COL ’85) return to the Hilltop to coach the men’s basketball program, the Blue and Gray (20-12) hosted former players and families for its Alumni Weekend as it played a three-game series against the New York Institute of Technology Bears (3-22-1).

Strong starting pitching continued to be the key driver for Georgetown’s success, holding NYIT to seven total runs, while a rejuvenated Hoya offense drove in 28 to defeat the Bears in all three contests.

The series opener Friday at Shirley Povich Field proved to be the most competitive of the three, with the Hoyas coming out on top 6-4 after scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead for good.

Senior pitcher Simon Mathews notched his third win of the season on the back of an eight-inning outing in which he surrendered one earned run and five hits. Facing pressure with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the ninth up two runs, freshman pitcher Noah Abdalla came in to retire all three batters he faced to earn the save.  

Senior second baseman Eric Garza and junior shortstop Jake Bernstein led the offensive charge with a single, double and run scored each. Garza finished with three RBIs as well.

The Blue and Gray led wire to wire in the second game to cruise to a 9-0 victory. Georgetown was aided by another strong pitching performance, this time from sophomore Jack Cushing, who pitched seven innings on the rubber and struck out nine, tying a career high. Cushing attributed his success on the mound to the defense that backed him.

“Knowing, as a pitcher, that I have a solid defense that can play allows me to focus on my job and throwing strikes. To be a successful pitcher, that’s what it comes down to, throwing strikes. The game plan was to fill up the zone with fastballs, locate spots and let that do the work,” Cushing said.

The Hoyas dominated at the plate, with five different starters collecting two or more hits. Three hits and three RBIs made graduate student left fielder Zach Racusin the standout hitter of the day. Racusin’s batting average is third best on the team at .368. The team best of .388 goes to junior right fielder Michael DeRenzi, who added two hits and two runs in the contest.

The offensive efforts from the previous two games culminated in a nine-run explosion in the eighth inning of the third game to propel Georgetown to the win and the series sweep.

Nine different Hoyas had runs, and eight had hits. Senior designated hitter Jake Kuzbel had three hits and three RBIs, junior catcher Sammy Stevens blasted a two-run homer and Racusin added three hits to steer the offense. Garza contributed two hits as well, marking the fourth-straight multi-hit game for the senior.

Coach Pete Wilk spoke highly of the immediate impact Garza has made to the lineup after being inserted into the lineup in the middle of the series against George Mason.

“He’s kind of settled down the second half of the order. He’s really provided some pop and consistently good at-bats. Some days we’d get them; some days we wouldn’t. [Garza’s] done a great job of coming in and he’s done a nice job at second base too,” Wilk said.  

Junior starting pitcher Kevin Superko had another solid outing for his sixth straight victory, giving up two runs and five hits in six innings on the mound. Superko left the hill with a 4-2 lead, which was cut to 4-3 by the end of the seventh.

However, Georgetown blew the game open with its largest scoring inning of the season, collecting nine runs on seven hits to beat the Bears 13-3.

Next, Georgetown begins its conference schedule, opening with a three-game home stand against the Creighton Bluejays (10-16, 2-1 Big East). With Big East play set to begin, the team turns its attention toward preparing for the Big East tournament and beyond.

“We’re looking to get into the Big East tournament, to get our chance to go to Regionals. We have a saying, ‘Regional or Bust’, so the first step is winning conference play. Coming in to Creighton, they have a pretty good team. Their program is pretty rich in history. We just need to go out there and play our kind of baseball each and every pitch,” Cushing said.

The first game of the Creighton series is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Thursday at Shirley Povich Field. 

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