After a tough slate of games last weekend that saw the Georgetown softball team (1-7) give up 63 runs in five losses, the Hoyas are looking to get back on track when they head down to Chapel Hill, N.C., this weekend for the Carolina Classic tournament at the University of North Carolina.

Georgetown will open the weekend against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (3-6) on Friday. The team will play against Fairfield and in a second game against IUPUI on Saturday and will close out the weekend against host North Carolina (4-6) on Sunday.

Georgetown’s roster is currently under strain with the absence of several players to injuries and a lack of experience among its pitchers, forcing Head Coach Pat Conlan and her active roster to be more flexible with the lineup to compensate.
Conlan said that the Hoyas have responded positively to these changes in the first few weeks of their spring season.

“I think they’re responding very well. Our whole model this year has just kind of been ‘all hands on deck.’ … Everyone on our roster right now has an opportunity to contribute every single game, so while there are certainly some negatives with being so depleted, I think the positive is that we need everybody and we get everybody to step up,” Conlan said.

Conlan said she is pleased with the efforts that she has seen across the board in having players step up into new positions, but there are still some wrinkles in Georgetown’s game that need to be smoothed out.

“I think first and foremost, we have to find consistency across the board in everything that we do, so with our defense, with our offense and with our pitching,” Conlan said. “Those three areas have been a little bit inconsistent, and I think if we can get two out of three on a regular basis consistent, then we can work with the other one — with the pitching.”

Last weekend, senior pitcher and second baseman Samantha Giovanniello stepped into key offensive and defensive roles for the Blue and Gray when they competed at the Dolphin Invitational tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. Though the Hoyas struggled against their opponents defensively — especially Friday, when they gave up 21 runs to the University of Pittsburgh Panthers (6-4) — they showed tremendous effort in filling their new positions on the field.

“We’ve had a bunch of kids who are just doing what they’ve been asked to do and doing it the best they can, and I appreciate that,” Conlan said.

When Georgetown returned to practice after its tournament this week, the team worked on fine-tuning its fundamental skills and addressing its pitching game.

“We had a good workout this week, and we’re going to go day to day, game to game and work on the little things. Our biggest problem has not been giving up the hits, it’s been putting extra people on base. So we’ve walked quite a few people, hit a few people, and unfortunately that wreaks a little bit of havoc on our defense,” Conlan said.

After starting the season with poor weather and virtually no practice time outside, the Hoyas are enjoying their opportunities to hit the dirt when they travel for tournaments. Now that they are in the swing of their spring schedule, Conlan said that playing outside consistently helps Georgetown improve in certain areas of its game.

“I think it’ll help tremendously as we move forward, to shore up our defense especially,” Conlan said of playing and practicing outside.

Starting with their upcoming tournament this weekend, the Hoyas are looking to build a strong foundation during practice as they look ahead to the bulk of their season.

Senior third baseman Taylor Henry said that things are coming together one step at a time.

“We’re just working on improving every day and doing the little things. … We try to focus on that in practice — making the most of the time that we have is important, and I think we do a really good job of that. Everyone is always 100 percent working hard all the time,” Henry said.

Georgetown kicks off the Carolina Classic at noon against IUPUI on Friday in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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