Baseball | Hoyas Open Big East Schedule in Queens

The Georgetown baseball team (13-17) will play a three-game series against St. John’s (14-10-1), the first Big East opponent on its schedule, this weekend after a 6-5 loss to Navy (22-8-1) on Tuesday afternoon.

Although the Navy game was close, sophomore outfielder Austin Shirley said he does not feel that the team put its best foot forward on Tuesday.

“Honestly, I don’t think we played our best baseball against Navy. We’re struggling right now to put all our pitching, offense and defense together in the game,” Shirley said. “Our defense, myself included, didn’t play to our potential yesterday, so I think that’s what cost us the game.”

Head Coach Pete Wilk noted the team’s inability to combine defense, offense and pitching into a solid showing.

“We’re not pushing the panic button, but I think there’s a certain level of frustration that’s permeating our current situation,” Wilk said.

Wilk cited the challenge of finding a practice time that works for the entire team between a rigorous game and class schedule.

“We’ve literally had three practices since our season began, and that’s one of our huge issues. We’ve either been playing or we’ve got a day where our kids’ class schedule just precludes any chance of us getting together as a team,” Wilk said.

Wilk said this lack of team practice time does not mean that the players are not working on their skills — it is merely not piecing the team’s talents together that kept it from a victory Tuesday.

“We’re doing some individual stuff, but there’s no team thing, and we need desperately a team practice or two to work on our defense. We haven’t had a chance to,” Wilk said.

The team will have a chance to regroup this Friday as it seeks a conference win in Queens, N.Y., when it plays St. John’s in its Big East opener.

“Into this weekend we just have to work on execution. Now that we’re coming into Big East play, everything matters — every inning, every pitch — so I know Coach [Wilk] has been working with us in practice on getting the sacrifice bunts down, executing on the hit and runs and like I said, just putting all three phases of the game together,” Shirley said.

St. John’s will enter the contest after having its seven-game winning streak snapped by Columbia (8-15, 2-2 Ivy League) on Wednesday.

Shirley said that a win over St. John’s would be a crucial start to conference play.

“This year I think they lost a lot of arms. I think we have a chance to potentially win the series, so that would be huge just to have our first Big East weekend with a win and just get on the winning side of the conference,” Shirley said.

With three games in a row, the team has to go into the weekend strong, playing well early.

“Really we want to come out of the weekend at least 2-1. That’s the goal: to win the series. You never want to lose it or get swept, so as long as we come out early Friday, Saturday, and then go into Sunday, we should be good,” Shirley said.

Playing a three-game stretch is nothing new for the team, but this time, the games count toward its Big East record, a vital tally that will eventually decide if it make it into the playoffs.

“You play Friday, Saturday, Sunday — nothing changes. That’s what we did last weekend; that’s what we did the weekend before. There really is no new strategy. We go to battle, and this is the one that matters in the conference standings,” Wilk said.

Wilk said the team hopes to notch a few victories this weekend to gain some momentum heading into the rest of conference play.

“I think we’re not far away from being a very good club right now. We just have to tighten up a little bit,” Wilk said.

Georgetown will begin this weekend’s series with a doubleheader Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., and the series will conclude with a noon game Sunday in Queens, N.Y.

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