BASEBALL | Struggling Hoyas Swept by Fighting Irish
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 00:04
Notre Dame (22-16, 9-6 Big East) completed a three-game sweep of the Georgetown baseball team (18-32, 5-10 Big East) this weekend, including a 14-4 victory on Saturday and wins in both games of Friday’s doubleheader.
In anticipation of poor weather, the two Big East rivals moved Sunday’s game to Friday night, creating Georgetown’s third doubleheader of the season.
Senior Will Harris kicked off the weekend for the Hoyas with a stifling eight innings of work on the mound in Friday’s first game, when he surrendered only two runs while fanning four.
Harris was tagged for his only two runs in the top half of the third on a two-run homer, but the 2-0 deficit would not last long. In the bottom of the fourth, the Blue and Gray responded with two runs of their own to even up the score.
Following a string of two-out singles by senior catcher Kevin Johnson and junior infielder Danny Poplawski, junior outfielder Paul Bello was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With ducks on the pond, junior infielder Trevor Matern knocked a clutch single to left field to plate two.
The game remained a stalemate until the top of the ninth, when junior pitcher Charles Steinman came in to relieve Harris. The Irish teed off on the usually dependable Steinman, scoring three runs on four hits, including a three-run homer.
Suddenly down three, the Hoyas were unable to mount a comeback and dropped the first game of the series, 5-2.
Georgetown had a chance to avenge the tough loss in the second game of the doubleheader, but the break between games did not cool down the scorching Notre Dame bats.
In the second half of the doubleheader, the Irish tagged Hoya junior pitcher Neal Dennison for seven runs over four and two-thirds innings. Notre Dame’s offense heated up in the second with a solo home run and RBI triple, then added five more runs over the fourth and fifth innings.
Georgetown countered with an RBI single from senior outfielder Rand Ravnaas in the third and an RBI groundout in the fourth to bring the score to 7-3.
Despite four and one-third shutout innings of relief from junior pitchers Thomas Polus and James Heine, the Hoyas fell, 7-4.
On Saturday, Head Coach Pete Wilk gave the ball to sophomore Jack Vander Linden, who was coming off a dominant outing against Villanova the week before. But Notre Dame was unfazed by Vander Linden’s hot streak.
The sophomore lasted only three innings, allowing six runs, only two of which were earned. Behind Vander Linden, the Hoyas’ defense faltered, committing two costly errors.
Trailing 6-0, Wilk went to his bullpen, but they also struggled mightily over the game’s final six innings, as four different relievers combined to give up eight more runs, allowing Notre Dame to race ahead to a 14-0 lead.
Facing an insurmountable deficit, the Hoyas showed some signs of life in the bottom of the ninth. In his only at-bat of the day, freshman first baseman Nick Gianforte roped a double down the right field line. Gianforte and senior catcher Nick Geary would both score on a single from Matern.
But in the end, however, the four-run ninth proved meaningless and Notre Dame beat Georgetown, 14-4.
The Hoyas have a chance to bounce back at home against George Mason this Tuesday at 7 p.m. They will then return to conference play at Pittsburgh this weekend.