At the beginning of the season, the Big East coaches picked Georgetown to finish last in the conference – four spots out of the league tournament. This weekend, the Hoyas have what may be their last chance to prove the coaches wrong and get back in the race for one of the last Big East tournament bids.

Heading into a three-game series with Pittsburgh, Georgetown is in last place at 4-14 in league play, just behind the 4-11 Panthers. With just six games left after this weekend, the Hoyas desperately need to win their series with the Panthers to pull themselves out of the cellar and into position to make the postseason play.

“If we have any hopes in the tournament, we have to come back with a winning weekend,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “I’d call [the series] critical.”

Both teams enter the weekend struggling in conference play of late. The Hoyas have lost eight of their last nine Big East games, while the Panthers have dropped four of their last six contests.

Part of the problem for Georgetown and Pittsburgh may be their pitching. The Hoyas rank last in the Big East with earned run average of 6.01, and the Panthers are second-to-last at 5.79.

But Wilk said he has his pitching lined up to have a solid weekend. Starting for Georgetown will be sophomore Tim Adleman, senior Michael Gaggioli and junior Jimmy Saris. The trio leads the Hoyas in innings pitching, and they have combined for eight of the team’s 14 total wins.

Georgetown will also need its offense, which has been up and down throughout the season, to be consistent over the weekend. Wilk noted that sophomores Dan Capeless and Tommy Lee and senior Matt Harrigan have been doing well at the plate lately. Capeless has raised his average significantly in the last few weeks, and Harrigan is hitting .311 on the season. Lee has been hitting well since he began hitting exclusively right-handed lately, according to Wilk.

Not to be overlooked is the work of freshman Sean Lamont, who has 11 home runs in his first campaign with the Hoyas. Lamont is eighth in the league with a .612 slugging percentage and second in home runs. As a team, Georgetown is third in the Big East in round-trippers with 33.

Last season, Pittsburgh took two out of three games against Georgetown at Shirley Povich Field. The lone win for the Hoyas came in the form of a 1-0 shutout in which Gaggioli pitched six scoreless innings.

First pitch for tonight’s game at Pittsburgh’s Trees Field is set for 6 p.m., and tomorrow, the two teams will play a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

On Tuesday of this week, Georgetown lost 9-1 in a non-conference bout with 20th-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. The Cavaliers improved to 32-11 on the season with the win, and they are currently fourth in the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference.

“[Virginia] put up six runs in the first two innings, but after that we played well,” Wilk said, adding that it was a good experience for the Hoyas to play on a nice field with an ACC-like game atmosphere.

Senior catcher Matt Iannetta drew two walks in the game, and Harrigan smacked a double off of the wall and scored Georgetown’s lone run in the seventh inning when junior Kelly Muir grounded out to third base. Senior right-handed pitcher Erick Chandler was roughed up in the first two innings, but the Hoyas got scoreless innings from sophomores Jack Bender and Cary Piligian, as well as Daniel Kennedy.

The loss dropped Georgetown’s overall record to 14-24 on the year.

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