The Hoyas (2-8) scored the first run of their game on Wednesday in the top of the second inning, but the James Madison Dukes (8-3) scored the last fifteen in a 15-1 blowout at JMU.

The Blue and Gray couldn’t hold onto their slim margin for very long as the Dukes struck for nine runs in the bottom of third inning and tacked on six more in the fourth. The Hoyas couldn’t close the gap to fewer than eight runs in the top of the fifth, and the game ended on mercy rule.

Georgetown’s promising start began in the second inning when freshman third baseman Jenna Stark singled up the middle. She moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by senior second baseman Kristi Preuss. After a ground out, junior first baseman Cara Savarese, who also doubled in the fifth and was 2-2 on the day, singled to right to score Stark.

However, the Hoyas’ hitting performance was not the main problem of the day. Georgetown received an uncharacteristically poor pitching performance from junior Mackensey Carter. Carter, the Blue and Gray’s top pitcher, lasted only two and two-thirds innings, giving up seven runs and dropping to 2-4 on the season.

“We have been accustomed to getting better starts from [Carter],” Head Coach Pat Conlan said. “I am not sure why Wednesday happened, but I am confident we will rebound for our trip to South Carolina.”

The Hoyas went on to use two more pitchers, freshmen Hannah Slovacek and Blair Sirockman. Slovacek relieved Carter in the third and finished off the inning allowing two earned runs. Sirockman took the circle in the fourth inning and gave up six runs, although only two were earned.

“With JMU putting up 15 runs on us, I would have to say our pitching staff struggled more than any other part of our game,” Conlan said.

The Dukes had 16 hits in only 26 at bats Wednesday and punished the Hoyas for their lone error, which led to four unearned runs in the fourth inning.

“JMU hit the ball,” Conlan said. “We misplayed a few balls, but I won’t take anything away from them.”

James Madison had 10 hits in their nine-run third frame, including five doubles and a triple. The inning was the worst the Hoyas’ pitching staff had surrendered this year.

“It got out of control fast,” Conlan said. “We used three pitchers but could not stop the bleeding.”

Despite the 14-run, mercy-rule-invoking loss, the Hoyas are not losing sight of their goals. Instead they are looking ahead to future games and focusing on improvement.

“Win or lose, our goals don’t change. We can’t let losses get in the way of what we want as a team,” Conlan said. “We need to fix the problems and get better for the games ahead.”

The Hoyas next take the field tomorrow at 9 a.m. against UNC-Wilmington in the Charleston Southern tournament.

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