BASEBALL | Hoyas Avenge Loss
Published: Friday, April 13, 2012
Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2012 12:04
When the Hoyas (16-17) faced Mount St. Mary’s (11-24) on March 15, the Mount capped off a five-run comeback with a walk-off homerun to defeat the Blue and Gray. In the rematch on Tuesday, though, it was Georgetown who came out on top, 5-3, thanks to a lights-out performance from the bullpen.
Junior outfielder Justin Leeson, senior outfielder Rand Ravnaas and redshirt junior infielder Mike Garza recorded two hits each, complementing six shutout innings from the Georgetown bullpen to lead the Hoyas to their second straight win.
Sophomore Alex Baker started on the mound for the Hoyas but struggled in his first inning, surrendering three runs on two hits. Baker followed up the rough first inning with a scoreless second and third before handing the ball over to the bullpen.
Facing a 3-0 deficit after the first half of the inning, Georgetown hitters were quick to respond. Leadoff hitter Leeson got things started with an infield single, which he followed up by stealing second. With the table set, Garza roped a single to left to plate the Hoyas’ first run.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Blue and Gray picked up where they left off in the first. After sophomore Steve Anderson reached on an error and senior Nick Geary ripped a double, Leeson again came through with an infield single and Anderson scored. A Mount St. Mary’s error allowed Leeson and senior Andy Lentz to score with ease and give the Hoyas their first lead of the day, 4-3.
Clinging to a one-run lead, Head Coach Pete Wilk handed the ball to sophomore Jack Vander Linden in the third for some extended relief. Vander Linden tossed an immaculate four innings of work, turning in an ace-like performance. The lanky right-handed pitcher struck out two, walked none and allowed only one hit.
The Hoyas gained some breathing room in the eighth after Ravnaas scored Lentz on a bunt single to extend the lead to 5-3.
To prevent another comeback, Wilk called up redshirt senior Pablo Vinent and juniors Thomas Polus and Charles Steinman. The three upperclassmen combined for two perfect innings of relief to cap off the win, with Steinman earning the save.
Overall, the Georgetown team from Tuesday was a much different squad than the one that lost seven straight games earlier in the season. And Wilk thinks he knows why.
“We’ve pitched better. Bottom line,” Wilk said. “We’re getting quality starts from [senior Will] Harris and [junior Neal] Dennison consistently, and we’re swinging the bats fairly well.”
Wilk also cited improved defensive play and consistent middle-of-the-order production as key improvements. Specifically, Wilk offered praise for Garza, who leads the team with a .390 average, five home runs and 28 RBI.
“Garza has been a cornerstone of our offense,” Wilk said. “He’s having a great season so far.”
Fresh off this great team victory, Georgetown is looking to improve on their 3-6 conference record this weekend at Villanova (18-16, 3-6). But the two evenly matched teams will have more than conference standings on the line.
“They’re a decent club,” Wilk said. “It’s a big weekend for both of us to move up in the standings. It’s sure to be a battle of two clubs that don’t like each other.”
If the Hoyas can stay consistent, then they have a good chance to win this emotionallycharged series.
The first game of the three-game series will take place on Friday at 3:15 p.m. in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.