Baseball | Series Loss Dooms Playoff Hopes

The Georgetown baseball team (25-29, 8-10 Big East) missed out on an opportunity to solidify its spot in the Big East tournament by losing two of three games to Villanova (20-29, 5-10 Big East) over the weekend. The Hoyas will not play next weekend and will instead wait for the other Big East results, which will determine whether they will receive a bid to the Big East tournament.

The Hoyas fell to the Wildcats on Friday by a score of 6-1, won Saturday’s game 10-8 and lost in Sunday’s series finale 10-5. Head Coach Pete Wilk was not pleased with his pitching staff’s performance after it surrendered 24 runs in the three-game series.

“I think if you looked at our entire year from a pitching standpoint, we picked the worst weekend to pitch our poorest,” Wilk said. “We’ve faced much tougher lineups than we just went through and we’ve done a lot better against them.”

In Friday’s game, senior right-handed pitcher Matt Smith set school records in career starts and career strikeouts by making the 49th start of his career and recording seven strikeouts to increase his career total to 229. Smith passed Tim Adleman (MSB ’10), who currently pitches for Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, in both categories.

“When you start a career, I mean as a freshman, you’re trying to be the best you can be, but you’re not really looking at the records and saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to break these,’” Smith said. “I’m just happy that I had the opportunity to play so long, four good years, and breaking [the records] does mean a lot to me. It’s just kind of a testament to the four years of hard work that I put in.”

However, Smith surrendered five runs, four of which were earned, in six innings and took the loss to drop his season record to 3-6. Georgetown was limited to only six hits in the game, including two hits each by junior designated hitter Jake Kuzbel and sophomore right fielder Michael DeRenzi. Villanova junior left-handed pitcher Hunter Schryver pitched seven innings, allowing just four hits and one run.

“To me, [on] Friday you tip your cap. We got beat by a damn good pitcher. That’s baseball,” Wilk said.

On Saturday, the Hoyas’ pitchers allowed eight runs on 13 hits and four walks. However, Georgetown overcame its pitching struggles with an offensive outburst, as each of its nine starters had at least two hits. The Hoyas finished with 20 hits, including a home run by junior center fielder Beau Hall. Hall and junior first baseman Joseph Bialkowski led the team with three hits apiece.

The Georgetown pitching staff struggled again on Sunday, allowing 13 hits and 10 runs. Freshman right-handed pitcher Jack Cushing made the start and allowed seven hits and six runs in two innings.

“I would say the biggest thing was the big innings, as a pitching staff,” Smith said. “I gave up three runs on Friday in one inning, and I think that kind of deflated our sails. And on Sunday we had a big inning, and there were times in both games where the bats went cold. It’s baseball, it’s going to happen.”

While Georgetown rests next weekend, it will keep an eye on the series between Seton Hall (35-18, 7-8 Big East) and Butler (14-37, 4-11 Big East). For the Hoyas to advance to the Big East tournament, the Bulldogs would need to win at least two of the three games against the Pirates.

“It’s rough,” Smith said of the Hoyas’ situation. “I think it’s rough especially for seniors as well, because you finish your last regular season game but you’re also kind of on edge because you don’t know whether it’s your last game in general as a college athlete. So it’s tough.”

Despite a somewhat inconsistent season, Wilk had some positive takeaways from his team’s results.

“From a positive standpoint, we beat some of the best teams in the country,” Wilk said. “And we have most of the guys coming back who were pretty important cogs in those victories. So that’s pretty encouraging. Yeah, we’re losing some important seniors, but I’m optimistic about the club coming back as long as the [MLB Draft] doesn’t hurt us that much.”

Seton Hall and Butler will play a three-game series with one game each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The first pitch of Friday’s game will be thrown at 3 p.m.

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