SOFTBALL | Slovacek Shines in Tournament
Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 00:02
The Georgetown softball team opened its season this weekend with a five-game swing through Florida. The Hoyas won two and lost three in the Florida Gulf Coast/Four Points Invitational.
The Hoyas’ (2-3) opened their season against Liberty and quickly found themselves in a 3-0 hole after three innings. Georgetown fought back, however, and got within one run after junior designated hitter Megan Hyson drove in two runs in the bottom of the third. In the fifth, the Hoyas took the lead for good on a two-RBI double by senior second baseman Hannah Slovacek.
“It’s certainly nice to get the first one under your belt. I think it sets a great tone for your season,” said Head Coach Pat Conlan.
Junior pitcher Lauren O’Leary picked up the win for the Hoyas, striking out seven. O’Leary was named this week to the Big East Honor Roll for her performance over the course of the weekend, and her role in the first win.
“Megan and Hannah had an excellent opening weekend with quality at-bats and clutch hits throughout the weekend,” Conlan said. “Both Megan and Lauren turned in solid performances on the mound. Our pitching and defense made clutch pitches and plays to keep us in every ballgame.”
Georgetown had a quick turnaround, coming back Friday evening to face host Florida Gulf Coast. The Hoyas started out strong with a leadoff single by sophomore shortstop Samantha Giovanniello, but the bats stalled for the rest of the night and the single proved to be Georgetown’s lone hit of the game.
Hyson, who pitched the second game, took the 2-0 loss despite striking out seven. The Eagles’ runs came on a two-run homerun in the fourth inning.
On Saturday, the Blue and Gray took on two tough squads, falling to both Mississippi and Western Kentucky.
O’Leary got her second start in as many days against Ole Miss and pitched out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the third when she ended the inning with one of her three strikeouts. The Rebels still managed to score two off the junior, however: One on an error in the fourth and the second off a single in the sixth.
Georgetown threatened in the seventh, getting Hyson to third with only one out in the inning. Slovacek came through with a single to drive in the run and put the Hoyas within one, but the game ended with her stranded on base.
“Hannah Slovacek is off to a great start,” Conlan said. “She has had a great year of practices and as an experienced senior we were expecting this type of production.”
Georgetown had no break before its second game of the day, when it took on Western Kentucky, a team that received votes to be in the preseason Top 25. The Lady Toppers showed their strength against the Hoyas, allowing only two hits scattered on the night.
Georgetown hung in the game until the fifth inning, when Western Kentucky scattered three hits and a couple of walks around a critical Georgetown error to score six runs. The Hoyas were not able to generate a run and fell by a final score of 6-0.
“Western Kentucky was a great team with tremendous speed, which is always difficult to defend. With the exception of one inning, I thought we played very well,” said Conlan.
Sitting at 1-3 on the weekend, Georgetown entered the final game of the tournament — a rematch against Ole Miss — looking for redemption.
“I think our 2-1 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday was heartbreaking,” said Conlan. “We played well and let it get away from us. I think the girls were excited to get a second chance.”
This time, it was the Hoyas who came out on top, exploding to a 9-2 win in which all of their runs came in the fifth and sixth innings.
“The key was offense. We were able to get people on base with quality at-bats,” Conlan said. “We put the ball in play and received some clutch hitting. We did a better job of putting pressure on the defense, and we were able to manufacture some runs.”
Meanwhile, Hyson pitched all seven innings to earn her first win of the season.
“It felt great to beat Ole Miss. It was our first-ever win over [a Southeastern Conference] school. The girls played their hearts out and they deserved to go home winners.” Conlan said.
Overall, it was a satisfactory start to the season according to Conlan.
“I’m very happy with our opening weekend,” she said. “We have plenty to work on and many areas to get better in. However, I saw some excellent things on and off the field and can’t wait to see what this group is capable of doing.”