BASEBALL | Hoyas Search for First Win in Hartford Series
Published: Friday, February 21, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2014 02:02
After a disappointing opening weekend to the season, the Georgetown baseball team will look to pick up its first win of the season against Hartford University on Friday. Georgetown is currently 0-3 after dropping games to Marshall (2-2), Wake Forest (3-2) and Towson (3-0) in its first weekend of play.
In their first games of the season, the Hoyas struggled at the plate, managing to score only four runs, losing by scores of 5-1, 3-2 and 9-1. Although the Hoyas were predicted to be a strong offensive team heading into the season, the offense did not provide its pitchers enough run support in the losing efforts.
The Hoyas got off to a quick start against Marshall on Saturday. Georgetown jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an RBI walk by sophomore infielder Curtiss Pomeroy in the second inning. But after that, the Hoyas sputtered and fell to the Thundering Herd, 5-1.
The struggles continued Sunday for the Hoyas. Georgetown was held scoreless for the first eight innings and its ninth-inning comeback fell short. After the Hoyas scored two late runs, a game-ending strikeout by junior infielder Ryan Busch stranded runners on second and third base.
Georgetown ended its first weekend with a blowout loss against Towson on Monday. The Tigers broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the fifth inning and never looked back, taking a 9-0 lead in an eventual 9-1 romp of the Hoyas.
“We faced mediocre pitching down there and we didn’t put up any runs,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “The one thing I thought we were going to do this year without question was hit. And we didn’t. And I still think we will, but we’ve got to do it.”
It was not all bad for the Georgetown offense, though. Busch reached base five times — including two doubles — and senior first baseman Steve Anderson had three base hits, two runs scored and an RBI.
“They both had pretty good weekends. I’d like to see Busch strike out less in the leadoff spot. The rest of our lineup has got to hit,” Wilk said.
Junior pitcher Jack Vander Linden — the ace of the pitching staff — set his career high with 10 strikeouts against Marshall on Saturday. However, a high pitch count ended his outing at just five innings.
“I thought Jack was pretty good. Jack usually gives us a chance to win every start and he did that,” Wilk said. “He made a few mistakes, but I thought it was a good first start. I would like to see him go into the seventh inning, but he went too deep in too many counts. That’s why he got yanked after five.”
The rest of the pitching staff did not find the same success as Vander Linden. The other starters — sophomore Matt Smith and junior Will Brown — also only lasted five innings each and combined to allow as many walks as strikeouts. The bullpen gave up a total of 10 runs in 12 innings over the weekend.
“Sunday’s pitchers against Wake Forest — Smith and [junior Matt] Hollenbeck — threw more balls than strikes. That’s not going to win you too many games, and it burned both arms. Will Brown, I thought, had a good start and put us in position to win. We had poor performances out of the bullpen,” Wilk said.
The Hoyas now have to put last weekend’s games behind them and prepare for this upcoming weekend and a three -game series against the Hartford Hawks. Hartford has yet to play a game this season after finishing last season with a 17-36 record. Although Hartford has not played a game, this will not be an advantage for Georgetown according to Wilk.
“It’s certainly nothing that’s going to put runs on the board,” Wilk said. “They’re going to be hungry obviously. They’re coming down with a kid that’s supposed to go in the first round of the draft. That’s not going to be an easy challenge for us. Yes it’s an advantage, but I wouldn’t go to the bank with it.”
Junior pitcher Sean Newcomb — a third-team preseason All-American — is projected as a top-20 pick by most draft experts. For an offense that failed to score many runs in its first three games, Newcomb will provide a tough test for the Hoyas. Hartford is projected to finish fourth in the America East Conference after finishing fifth last season.
Weather threats could keep the three-game series from being played but assuming the games are played, Wilk is expecting more from his team.
“We’re 0-3. And it’s not really a surprise,” Wilk said. “We didn’t hit. Our pitching was mediocre. It adds up. This can be a very good team, but we need to play.”