Though the team’s current record may indicate a down year, Head Coach Pat Conlan and the Hoyas (6-22, 0-7 Big East) remain hungry to prove themselves as a legitimate major conference power, as demonstrated by a trio of fiercely competitive games this past weekend.

“We knew that joining the Big East was going to be tough,” Conlan said. “Our entire team has been so resilient and I am so proud of how the players have handled it. While the results on the scoreboard are not what we would like, our team continues to get better. We are playing our best softball of the year.”

On Friday the Hoyas hosted Big East power Notre Dame. After jumping out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Irish proceeded to explode for five runs in the fifth, giving the Blue and Gold a comfortable 6-0 advantage. It seemed as if the Irish could do no wrong, as Irish pitcher Brittany Barger mowed down batter after batter, allowing only two hits and no runs through six innings. The game took a drastic turn in the bottom of the seventh, however, as the Hoyas demonstrated their aforementioned resiliency.

After Georgetown advanced two runners into scoring position, sophomore infielder Kristi Preuss singled to center, driving in the runner at third. Junior shortstop Samantha Peters then followed Preuss with a bases-clearing triple, cutting the Notre Dame lead in half. Freshman first baseman Cara Savarese kept the rally going by driving in Peters with a single, closing the Notre Dame lead to only two runs. Barger, however, was able to kill the rally with a groundout, securing an Irish victory.

Junior pitcher Jennifer Connell took the loss despite pitching a complete game, allowing six runs on eight hits.

Even with the loss, the momentum garnered by the Hoyas’ furious late-inning rally carried into the next day, as the Hoyas played host to non-conference opponent Longwood. This time it was Georgetown that struck first, as Preuss followed junior infielder Demetria Cipriano’s leadoff single with a home run, giving the Blue and Gray an immediate 2-0 lead. After Peters followed with a double, freshman third baseman Mackensey Carter joined the hit parade with an RBI single, giving the Hoyas a 3-0 lead after one. The Lancers, however, quickly answered with a rally of their own, scoring four runs in the next inning to jump out to a 4-3 lead.

The Hoyas and Lancers exchanged runs over the next few innings, ultimately resulting in a 5-4 Longwood lead entering the bottom of the seventh.

It looked as if the Hoyas would suffer another loss, as Lancer pitcher Briana Wells retired the first two Georgetown batters. Savarese kept the Hoya cause alive, drawing a gritty two-out walk. Savarese was followed by Carter, who capped her career day at the plate in fitting fashion by smashing a two-run home run over the right field fence, giving the Hoyas a 6-5 victory. The win was the program’s first-ever victory over the Lancers.

Carter was perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4 with 3 RBIs, including the walk-off home run. The freshman from California has continued to impress both in the batter’s box and in the field, as she has also emerged as a solid option on the mound.

“Mackensey has been a great addition to the program,” Conlan said in an e-mail. “She is an excellent ballplayer. When she was recruited I knew that she was going to be a solid performer on the mound and at the plate. However, I am not sure anyone could have predicted how well she would adapt offensively to the college game and to Division I pitching.”

Georgetown then fell victim to its own remedy in the second game of the doubleheader, as the Lancers used a late-inning rally of their own to secure victory. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Longwood scored four runs to erase a 3-1 Hoya lead, giving Longwood a 5-3 edge.

Carter looked to respond with an encore performance, leading off the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot to close the gap to 5-4. The Hoyas, however, were unable to garner another run.

After an off day today, Georgetown will travel to Villanova to face the Wildcats.

“Villanova is a well-rounded team,” Conlan said. “We just need to be consistent in all phases of the game. Our pitchers need to hit spots and make the right pitches, the defense needs to continue to make the plays and our hitters need to be aggressive at the plate. These are the keys to any win no matter who we play.”

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