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Senior outfielder Sean Baumann

Georgetown will be playing the first game ever at the New York Mets’ new stadium, Citi Field, this Sunday at 1:10 p.m., and the game is creating quite a buzz.

Peter Botte, a writer for the New York Daily News, wrote recently that the game “threatens to break the NCAA Division I single-game attendance record for the sport. The current mark is 40,106 from a game between San Diego State and Houston at San Diego’s PETCO Park on March 11, 2004. Citi Field has a seating capacity of 42,000, and 30,000 tickets were sold, with the remaining 12,000 distributed through the schools and community groups.”

Newsday.com reporter Neil Best, in his article on Newsday’s Web site, stated that those 30,000 tickets were sold out in just 45 minutes.

“I mean, think about how many times you’ve been to a major-league game and just fantasized what it would be like to be one of those guys on the field,” said senior center fielder and co-captain Tommy Lee, who leads the Big East in stolen bases with 15.

You can’t hide the truth: This game could be one of the most exciting in the history of Georgetown baseball. Not only is it a historic event in Major League Baseball history, but it will also serve as the final game of a three-game series between the Hoyas and the St. John’s Red Storm, the reigning champions of the Big East and holder of an undefeated Big East record. To make things even tougher, Citi Field is located in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens in New York City, just minutes from St. John’s University’s campus.

“Obviously Sunday will be quite a thrill for the young men and their parents, but we need to keep our feet on the ground because it is another Big East game,” said Head Coach Pete Wilk, adding that “each game is of equal weight.”

Coach Wilk was referring to the first two games against the Red Storm at home in Maryland, the Big East home opener for Georgetown. While the Citi Field game will certainly have excitement, it is crucial for the Hoyas to try to grab at least one win from a conference behemoth like St. John’s. Those wins against the best teams will prove vital when the Hoyas take on the middle and lower pack of the Big East later in the season.

With St. John’s coming to town today to start the series, the Hoyas will need to gain some confidence against George Washington and Navy this week before heading into the weekend. When the Hoyas played the Colonials and Midshipmen last week, Georgetown won both games, giving it momentum to take a crucial win against Louisville last Saturday in Kentucky.

First, it was the Colonials (11-13) on Tuesday, who nipped the Hoyas 5-3 after a loss last week. Despite putting 14 men on base, the Hoyas only managed to put three across the plate, two in the later innings. A large part was due to a great performance by GW junior starting pitcher Ryan Lapointe, who struck out five Hoyas and allowed just one earned run over five innings. Senior right fielder Sean Baumann played well for Georgetown, going 2-for-3, including a double, a walk and an RBI. Sophomore catcher Erick Fernandez also continued his ferocious hitting, going 2-for-4 with a walk. Senior pitcher Jimmy Saris pitched three innings in relief for the Blue and Gray, allowing just one run and striking out two. The Hoyas couldn’t deliver, though, leaving nine men on base.

“When we pitch, we don’t hit and when we hit, we don’t pitch, which I’m hoping is due to the inexperience of the kids,” Coach Wilk said.

On Wednesday, Georgetown took on Navy (6-13-1), whom the Hoyas beat in extra innings on a walk-off single last week. For the sixth time this season, the Georgetown offense scored 10 runs in a game in the 10-6 win. Baumann led Georgetown with a home run on 2-for-5 hitting, with two runs scored and two RBIs, as five Hoyas had multi-hit games and the team racked up 14 hits in total.

That type of offense should be on display this weekend, as Georgetown and St. John’s both have shown to be better at the plate than in the field. The Red Storm average nine runs per game and are second in the Big East with a team batting average of .341. In fact, only 86 St. John’s batters have struck out in 704 at bats – meaning St. John’s strikes out in only 12 percent of their at-bats, compared with Georgetown’s strikeout percentage of 23 percent, last in the Big East.

While it’s hard to compare with the powerful offense of the Red Storm, the Blue and Gray have their own offensive arsenal. The Hoyas are better on the base paths compared to the Johnnies, being more aggressive and having a success rate of 75 percent. The Hoyas are also a lot more patient at the plate, as they are second in the Big East in walks.

“We need to take it one game, one inning, one out, one pitch at a time,” Coach Wilk said.

The first game against St. John’s is today, at 3 p.m., at Shirley Povich Field in Bethseda, Md.

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