It had been three weeks and eight games since its last Big East victory, but on Sunday, Georgetown finally beat a conference opponent.

After dropping the first two games of its weekend series, Georgetown (14-22, 4-14), who was swept back-to-back series by teams in the bottom half of the Big East, edged top-ranked Cincinnati (22-14, 11-4) 8-5 on Sunday.

“It also shows a lot of character and heart on our kids because we could have easily crumbled at Cincinnati and said, `Oh here we go again,’ but we came out spitting fire,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “We dominated Cincinnati Sunday, and we should have beat them Saturday when they were in first place. We can play with anyone in this conference.”

The Hoyas’ bats fell silent in a 7-1 loss in Friday’s series opener, as the Blue and Gray only managed four hits off Bearcat junior pitcher Dan Osterbrock in eight innings.

The game was close early on after freshman left fielder Matt Harrigan hit a home run to lead off the second inning to give the Hoyas a 1-0 advantage.

With the score 3-1 entering the seventh inning, the Bearcats exploded for three runs in the bottom frame of the inning to pull away from the Hoyas. Cincinnati would add one more run in the eighth for the 8-1 victory.

Saturday started much better for the Hoyas, who jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, once again off the bat of Harrigan, who doubled to score two runs.

With the score at 3-1 in favor of Georgetown and one out in the top of the fourth inning, freshman centerfielder Tommy Lee doubled down the left field line batting in two Hoyas to give Georgetown a 5-1 advantage. The Bearcats switched pitchers, but to no avail, as freshman second baseman Erick Fernandez singled to score sophomore shortstop Tom Elliot, advancing the lead to 6-1.

“Since he stopped switch-hitting, Tommy Lee has had a nice positive impact for us,” Wilk said.

The Hoyas held a 7-3 advantage heading into the sixth after freshman third baseman Sean Lamont belted his 11th home run of the season – this time a solo shot. With their backs against the proverbial wall, the experienced Bearcats proved too much for the Hoyas, scoring five runs on six hits in the sixth inning to take an 8-7 lead. The Hoyas had the tying run in Lee on second with two outs in the top of the ninth, but they could not score him, ending their rally bid.

“There was a lot of frustration after losing that lead, and we had discussions after about playing the game the right way and doing the little things because we were close, and one of these days it was going to take,” Wilk said.

The teams returned on Sunday, and any thoughts by Cincinnati of a sweep were swept under the rug by Georgetown junior pitcher Jimmy Saris, who earned the win on six innings of work. Saris, who has pitched well lately, held the Bearcats to just one run on five hits while striking out seven.

“He’s only been back to form the last two starts, and it’s no surprise we won those two games,” Wilk said. “On the one hand, it’s great to have him back, but on the other, it makes you think `what if.'”

With a 1-0 advantage, the Hoyas broke out for three runs in the third inning behind doubles from Harrigan and sophomore Dan Capeless, breaking open a 4-0 lead. The Hoyas added two more runs in the seventh and entered the top of the ninth with a 6-0 lead.

With one out, Capeless hit his second double of the day. Capeless, who went 7-for-12 in the series, had propelled the Hoya offense all weekend, but he was exceptional on Sunday, scoring three runs and batting in another.

“He’s just gotten better as the year progressed,” Wilk said about Capeless. “He’s battled each at-bat all year long, and it’s starting to show up.”

Just two batters after Capeless, junior pinch hitter Sean Baumann doubled to right centerfield, scoring two to give the Hoyas a 8-1 lead.

The Bearcats refused to bow out easily, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth, but senior pitcher Daniel Kennedy was able to hold on as Georgetown got the 8-5 victory to avoid the sweep.

Wilk said that the win was huge for his team’s confidence entering this weekend’s series at Pittsburgh.

“It was definitely a positive experience winning on the road when [Cincinnati is] in first place,” he said. “What we did [on Sunday] will be a major confidence booster for the Pittsburgh series.”

Next up for the Hoyas is a date with No. 16 Virginia today in Charlottesville, Va. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

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