BASEBALL | GU Sweeps Hartford
Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 01:02
The Georgetown baseball team swept the University of Hartford team in Arlington, Va. this past weekend and in doing so earned its first victory of the season. The Hoyas (3-3) won both games of a doubleheader Friday — the first 4-3 in 13 innings and the second 6-3 — before defeating Hartford (0-3) 11-10 with a walk-off single in the 11th inning Saturday.
The weekend started on a disappointing note for the Hoyas when junior pitcher Jack Vander Linden — the team’s ace — exited the first game after only one inning due to an elbow injury. Vander Linden will miss time with the injury, and there is no timetable for his return.
“If Vander Linden is lost for a period of time, it’s going to be a huge loss. It’s hard to lose your number one guy,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “That’s obviously going to trickle down if we’ve got to fill those shoes. We’re going to have to move somebody possibly into a roll they’re not comfortable with.”
In his inning of work, Vander Linden gave up two runs, giving projected first-round pick Sean Newcomb of Hartford a lead early in the game. However, freshman pitcher David Ellingson came in and gave up only one run in 6 and 2/3 innings of relief.
“He’s been really good both weekends,” Wilk said. “Both outings he’s had, he’s been excellent.”
The Hoyas rallied to score two runs in the 8th inning and in the 9th inning freshman outfielder Beau Hall scored on a ground ball to tie the game at 3. Sophomore catcher Nick Collins, who drove in Hall in the ninth, came up big again in the 13th inning by hitting a walk-off double to score Hall.
“He’s one of our big guns and it was nice to get him on track and going again,” Wilk said of Collins, who was named to the preseason All-Big East team as catcher.
The second game of Friday’s doubleheader was decidedly less dramatic, and the Hoyas walked away with a 6-3 victory. Georgetown claimed a 6-1 lead after two innings, thanks to a grand slam off the bat from senior first baseman and co-captain Steve Anderson. Anderson has been the best hitter for Georgetown early in the season, leading the team with a .400 batting average and seven RBIs.
“[Anderson] had a huge weekend for us. Not only in the batter’s box but he also played really good defense and really led this team very well,” Wilk said.
Sophomore pitcher Matt Smith allowed just one run and recorded a career-high seven strikeouts in 6 innings of work. The sophomore’s outing was the longest by a Hoya starter this season.
“Matt threw well. He can be better,” Wilk said. “He’s still falling behind in counts too much, but he can beat anyone in the country if he gets ahead of people.”
In the final game of the three games series, Georgetown completed the sweep with an extra-inning win. Saturday’s game was dramatic, eventually ending with a Hoya win with a score of 11-10 after a four-run 10th and a walk-off single in the 11th for Georgetown. Junior pitcher Will Brown got knocked around to the tune of five runs and 10 hits in 5 innings in a back-and-forth affair. The offense provided support, though, led by freshman infielder Jake Kuzbel’s four hits and Collins’ three.
With a score of 6-6 entering the 10th inning, Hartford proceeded to score four runs off of sophomore pitcher Max Allen. The Hoyas answered dramatically, scoring four before making an out. However, with the bases loaded and a tie game, the Hoyas were not able to finish the game in the 10th, instead grounding out and striking out twice.
Nick Collins was once again delivered the walk-off hit, this time a single in the bottom of 11th to score sophomore third baseman Eric Webber. This followed a perfect top of the inning by Hall, who struck out two Hartford batters in the frame.
“[Hall] is a weapon off the bench right now. We hope he can play his way into the lineup,” Wilk said. “He’s a kid that can come in from the bullpen and he’s proven he can throw strikes and that’s what we need. He did a great job.”
Georgetown hopes this success will carry over into its game Wednesday against Maryland Eastern Shore (0-4).
“I think the kids needed that,” Wilk said. “I think the whole program needed that. So it was nice to beat a team that started a kid that might go in the first round.”