As the big names of big-league baseball trotted out onto the crisp sod of baseball diamonds under sunny skies of Arizona and Florida Georgetown’s ball club found itself grappling with the elements. Old Man Winter has proven to be the Hoyas’ most formidable foe of the nascent 2007 season. Last Tuesday’s season opener against George Washington was postponed due to icy conditions. All winter, the Hoyas have found themselves confined to practicing indoors, and their lack of on-field experience reared its ugly head over the weekend against Davidson when the Hoyas committed 12 errors and were swept by the home team Wildcats. After practice on Wednesday, Head Coach Pete Wilk received word that Shirley Povich Field would be too soggy for this weekend’s upcoming series against St. Joseph’s, sending him scrambling to find an alternate site for some much-needed time on the diamond. But whenever the sun finally does decide to shine on the Hoyas, Wilk is confident that his team will glow with a certain luster. “I think one of our strengths is that we have a very tight team,” Wilk said Wednesday, shortly after calling the University of Virginia and Richmond University in hopes of finding a dry ball field for the weekend’s competition. “I think we will be a lot better on the mound than we have been in a long time, at least since I have been here.” Wilk believes this year’s Hoyas should be better than the 2006 squad that won 10 Big East games, the best showing by a Georgetown club in two decades. With 17 experienced lettermen returning, an infusion of transfer talent and a strong class of freshmen, Wilk says this year’s team will have something that has been lacking in his previous seven years on the Hilltop. “Depth,” Wilk said bluntly, when asked to name his team’s greatest asset. “Everywhere – on the pitching staff, in the positions, everywhere. There are probably 12 guys that could make a case for being in the lineup every day. We have never even come close to the depth we have right now – it creates competition in the locker room.” Prior to the Davidson season, first base had been a hotly contested battleground for playing time, but after a weekend full of fireworks, it seems junior Matt Harrigan has solidified his spot in the lineup. The Syracuse, N.Y. native hit an astronomical .600 over the three-game sequence with two homeruns and four runs batted in, leading a 35-run offensive explosion for the Hoyas. “He had a monster weekend,” Wilk said. “I would never say that I thought a kid could hit .600 with two bombs, but he’s been swinging the bat well, and he’s got a good amount of at bats under his belt for a junior. He’s going to be big in the middle of the order for us.” Georgetown also enjoys an abundance of talent behind the plate, where senior co-captain Brandon Davis will share time with junior Matt Iannetta, a recent transfer who brings his winning ways to the District from 2006 College World Series finalist North Carolina. “Both of us are in the same boat – as long as we win, we don’t care who plays,” Davis said. “It’s good because if I don’t feel so good one day, he can go. We just want to do what’s best for the team.” Iannetta joins sophomore Jimmy Saris as one of two transfers Wilk plucked from Tobacco Road. Saris, a 6-foot right hander from Duke, pitched a solid seven innings in the third game against Davidson, striking out three and proving himself a valuable addition to this year’s team. Joining Saris on the mound is junior lefty Mike Gagglioli and senior Erick Chandler, a lanky right hander who sat out 2006 after transferring from the University of Virginia. . “Jimmy Saris is one of our top newcomers. He brings a lot to the team,” said junior co-captain Matt Bouchard, who has Saris’ back at shortstop. “We have three legit starters now, and he is going to fill a big role for us.” Rounding out the infield with Bouchard is a pair of not-so-average Joes. Senior Joe Graziano, who missed most of 2006 due to a fractured jaw, brings toughness at third and freshman second baseman Joe Silvestri leads a gifted class of first-years. “We have a great freshman class and they have fit in real well,” Bouchard said. “Our chemistry has always been good on this team because we spend so much time together -whether it’s lifting weights or hanging out, we form bonds together.” Leading off for the Hoyas will be senior centerfielder Mark McLaughlin, who led the team in virtually every offensive statistic last season. McLaughlin is flanked by two stellar outfielders including senior leftfielder Derek deGrijs and sophomore Sean Baumann in right. Baumann made his Georgetown debut in epic fashion against the Wildcats, knocking three dingers, including a grand slam in the third game. “Shaun Baumann had an amazing weekend,” Davis said of the right fielder from Tampa. “He proved he could hit, and that he adds a lot to the line up.” Just as he hopes that spring will thaw the chilly weather, Wilk hopes fans will warm to his team. Last season, Wilk’s Hoyas boasted a winning record at Povich Field, a 1,500-seat ballpark located 11 miles up 495 in Bethesda, but the frigid temperatures and traveling distance kept attendance down all season. “I find very few people other than mom, dad and girlfriend that are willing to go out there in 45-degree weather,” Wilk said. “In the past, students have shown a reluctance to head out unless the weather is nice or the opponent is good.” The Hoyas will host a bevy of Big East talent later in the spring as Georgetown looks to qualify for the conference tournament for the first time during the Wilk era. But for the first time in his eight-year tenure on the Hilltop, Wilk believes his team has the tools to make things interesting. “I have always felt that going into the weekends we have been facing an uphill battle, and this year I feel like we are going into the weekend with a great chance to not only win a game but win a couple of games,” Wilk said Wednesday, stubbornly optimistic despite the St. Joe’s postponement and an overcast sky outside his window. “We are on par talent-wise. A lot of our talent is young, and you never know what you’re going to get from a freshman, but I think we can be pretty good.” Georgetown will oppose St. Joseph’s this weekend on Saturday at Captains Park on the campus of Christopher Newport University in Newport News,Va. The contest planned for Sunday has been postponed indefinitely.

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