Senior starting pitcher Nick Leonard dazzled on the mound this Wednesday, striking out a career-high 10 batters and leading Georgetown to its third consecutive victory with a 3-1 win over Cornell.
Leonard baffled the Cornell (10-9, 1-3 Ivy League) offense, throwing for seven dominant innings, allowing five hits, two walks and one unearned run to accompany his 10 strikeouts. The performance improved his record to 3-1 and lowered his ERA to 3.26 on the year.
“It felt pretty good,” Leonard said. “I was attacking the strike zone definitely the best I have all season. A lot of credit goes to junior catcher Sammy Stevens behind the dish and the defense made a couple really good plays for me. Getting ahead in counts was really working for me against them.”
The seven innings pitched were also a career-high for the senior.
“It’s definitely something I’m proud of,” Leonard said. “I’ve been trying to get to seven for quite a while now, so it felt pretty good. [I’ve] just been working on this season getting a little more economical and getting ahead in the count, and it worked out well for me.”
Georgetown (17-12) Head Coach Pete Wilk noted how his starting pitchers have made it difficult for his relief pitchers to get innings.
“Guys are going too long without being used in games and that’s because the starters have been doing well. It’s a nice problem to have.”
On offense, the Hoyas were led by senior infielder Jake Kuzbel, who went 3-4 with two doubles and his fourth home run of the year. The home run was his third in five games.
“I just jumped on a fastball early in the count. The pitcher didn’t throw me any fastballs the first at-bat, so I was looking for one in the second. I was able to jump on it, and put it over the fence,” Kuzbel said.
Kuzbel’s solo shot in the fifth inning also marked his 100th career RBI as a Hoya, joining only 18 other players who have reached this milestone in Georgetown’s history.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Kuzbel said. “Whenever you’re scoring runs it feels good. It means you’re doing something with people on base. I love RBIs as a stat, so I’m glad that that run production comes out.”
This season, Kuzbel has been setting career numbers in nearly every offensive category. His four homers tie his totals from the past three seasons combined, and his 30 RBIs also represent a career-high, even with only 29 games played.
“He’s a tremendous young man, a great kid with the right priorities,” Wilk said. “From a baseball standpoint, he’s been a really good hitter his whole career here. He’s an offensive force for us.”
Wednesday’s win against Cornell marked the first of seven consecutive home games for Georgetown, who plays the ECAC’s New York Institute of Technology (2-19-1) this coming weekend.
“We were on the road for the first five or six weekends, so definitely being home is nice,” Leonard said. “We all love Shirley Povich, it’s a good place to play at. It’s nice to get a little more down time, a little more time to focus on your studies. We’re excited.”
The three-game series against NYIT marks the last series before Georgetown begins Big East play next week against Creighton (8-15).
“The guys are excited about the upcoming conference play, but I’m excited for the first inning on Friday,” Wilk said. “We have to get the 32 guys on that page, too.”
The series will take place during Georgetown’s Alumni Weekend and will open Friday at 3 p.m. at Shirley Povich Field. Saturday’s game will follow at 1 p.m. with the series finale on Sunday at 12 p.m. Live stats and streaming will be provided by GUHoyas.com.
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