Just five games into the 2007 season, the Georgetown baseball team (2-3, 0-0) has proved to be at its best when things are not necessarily going its way. After inclement weather forced the team to play its home opener in the unfamiliar surroundings of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., the Hoyas responded by sweeping both games of their doubleheader from St. Joseph’s (0-8) Saturday afternoon. “It was just great to be able to play. It’s based on getting reps on the field, the hill and the plate. We are restricted when we have white stuff on the ground,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said of the weekend victory double dip, which was moved to Christopher Newport at the tail end of last week. “The more we play, the better we are going to be. We aren’t where we are supposed to be, but we are getting better.” Despite the fair conditions, it was not exactly smooth sailing for Wilk and his team. In the first game, the Hoyas gave up two early runs on a second-inning error but roared back to drub the Hawks 10-2. In the second, Georgetown jumped out to a 9-6 lead only to see their advantage melt away faster than a spring snowfall. Thanks to the clutch pitching from junior Daniel Kennedy, who recorded his first save, the Hoyas managed to escape with a 9-8 win. “It was a nice step after we coughed up those two games in North Carolina,” Wilk said, referring to his team’s three losses to Davidson the week before. “This team has a lot of guts and heart, and it’s nice to see.” Two Hoyas showed a particular resilience in the first game against St. Joe’s. Junior lefty ichael Gaggioli struck out eight and did not allow an earned run, recording his first win of the new season in a performance that showed he has recovered from the injuries that plagued him throughout 2006. “[Gaggioli] threw like he did his freshman year,” Wilk said. “Last year was really up and down for him because we never could find out exactly what was wrong with his arm. But now he is healthy, and it was great to see him pitch like he did and come off the mound with a smile on his face.” The Hawks’ early lead was hardly Gaggioli’s fault, as two runs were scored on a dropped fly ball, but it caused a certain sense of déjà vu, as flashbacks of the Davidson drubbing rattled through the Hoya dugout. But senior third baseman Joe Graziano helped make the Davidson affair a distant memory when he sent a three-shot over the fence in the bottom half of the second. “We were down in a 2-0 hole off a stupid mistake,” senior co-captain catcher Brandon Davis said in a phone interview Monday. “We were in a hole, and he got us out. He’s a huge bat for us.” Motivated by Graziano’s homer, the Hoyas never looked back, adding two runs in the third inning and another four in the fifth for the 10-2 victory. Georgetown again made it hard on themselves in the second match, falling behind 3-0 in the first inning. This time it was sophomore first baseman Greg Pustizzi’s turn to lead the Hoyas back. In the fourth inning, Puztizzi launched a three-run bomb of his own, his first home run as a Hoya. Saturday was a family matter for Pustizzi, as cousin Kenny catches for the Hawks, who rallied to knot the score at 6. Senior centerfielder Mark cLaughlin, who was a perfect 5-5 at the plate in the second game, led his team back with a three-run leadoff double to start the seventh. Two innings later, McLaughlin made sure his brilliant offensive performance did not go for naught. He came up with a clutch catch to help Kennedy notch his first save on the year and ensure Georgetown’s second win. “McLaughlin had a huge weekend – he probably saved the second game for us. He ran about a mile to make a great catch that took away a double for them,” Wilk said of the centerfielder’s grab to rob St. Joseph’s designated hitter Ben Wendle. “On the offensive end, he had a monster weekend. He is really setting the tone for us in the middle of the order.” The Hoyas also received a respectable outing from junior pitcher Erick Chandler, who struck out seven Hawks in five innings – not bad numbers for a player who supposedly was not on his game Saturday. “Chandler really didn’t have his stuff that day, but he battled as much as he could and came out of the game with us ahead, which is about all you can ask from a starting pitcher,” Davis said, who thinks seven K’s provide only a glimpse of what Chandler can do. “Off-days come rarely, and he’s going to be huge. Saturday was not up to his par, but when he has a good day, he’s going to do great.” Saturday’s two wins were crucial for a Hoya team about to embark on a 12-game road trip which begins this Wednesday with a sink-or-swim test at Navy, who is 8-2 on the year. “It feels good and it helps build confidence,” Davis said. “Me and [co-captain] Matthew Bouchard were talking about how that first win is always the hardest to get, but now that we have won two and are on a streak, it should help us against Navy.” After battling the idshipmen on the shores of the Chesapeake, Wilk and the Hoyas head south to Florida for some much-needed spring-break sun and games against an array of teams including Ohio State, Bowling Green and Northeastern. “It will be nice to get out of the cold and play baseball everyday. It will be better if we win more than we lose, and we should come out with a winning record to get the season going,” Davis said about the nine-game stretch that also includes Akron, Army, Eastern Kentucky and Indiana University-Fort Wayne. “But playing baseball every day in warm weather – it doesn’t get much better than that.” First pitch against Navy is set for 2:30 Wednesday afternoon.

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