The Georgetown baseball team travelled to Winston-Salem, N.C., last weekend to open its season at the Wake Forest Invitational, but lost all three of its contests.

On Friday, Georgetown (0-3) faced the University of Illinois (3-0). The Fighting Illini handed the Hoyas their first loss in an 11-3 affair. Junior pitcher Jeremiah Burke led the start for the Blue and Gray, going five innings and allowing four earned runs on nine hits.

The game was closer than the scoreline suggests. The Hoyas and Illini traded runs early, tied at 2-2 through four innings. Junior third baseman John Simourian delivered two RBIs in separate plate appearances: a one-out, bases loaded, ground out in the second inning followed by a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

However, Illinois broke the game open in the fifth inning with a home run from redshirt senior center fielder Zac Taylor who blasted a two-run shot to the left-field bleachers. The Hoyas could not recover from Taylor’s dagger; their only scoring for the remainder of the game came from sophomore catcher Alex Gamache, who reached base on a pinch-hit single and eventually scored on a passed ball.

Illinois, on the other hand, proceeded to tack on seven more runs on the way to its 11-3 routing of Georgetown. A lone bright spot came in the fourth inning, when senior second baseman Ryan Weisenberg singled, marking the 100th hit of his career.

Georgetown hoped to rebound on Saturday against Sacred Heart (1-2), but once again fell short in a heartbreaking 6-5 walk-off loss.

Junior pitcher Nick Morreale took the mound for Georgetown, dialing up nine strikeouts in six innings pitched and allowing three earned runs. The Hoyas commanded the ballgame early, leading 5-1 thanks to strong hitting by sophomore outfielder Kai Nelson and sophomore third baseman Yareb Martinez. Nelson went two for two with two walks and an RBI, while Martinez contributed a pair of RBI singles.

GUHOYAS| Winding up, junior pitcher Nick Morreale prepares to pitch at the Wake Forest Invitational.

Disaster unfolded for the Hoyas in the bottom of the seventh. Georgetown conceded four runs on three hits and two errors and needed to make three pitching changes to escape the inning. The comfortable 5-1 lead quickly evaporated to a tight 5-5 tie. In the bottom of the ninth, Sacred Heart loaded the bases and walked off on a ground ball to first base; the throw from junior first baseman Freddy Achecar III to home plate was not in time.

In their final game of the Wake Forest Invitational, Georgetown faced host and No. 27 Wake Forest (2-1). Despite a third loss, the Hoyas hung right with their highly ranked opponents in a 5-3 battle.

Junior left-handed pitcher Brent Killam started for the Hoyas, tallying five strikeouts in four innings pitched. Killam conceded three runs, two of which were unearned.  

Sophomore shortstop Eddie McCabe shone in an otherwise quiet offensive performance for Georgetown, as he had three of the team’s four total hits in the contest. He notched an extra base hit down the left-field line in the top of the second; Gamache drove him home two batters later with a double of his own to center. McCabe also delivered a two-RBI single in the top of the eighth. Despite the shortstop’s heroics, Georgetown trailed most of the game and could not muster a legitimate comeback.

Last season, the Hoyas started out in a similar fashion, going 0-3 in the Wake Forest Invitational, en route to a 25-30 record on the season. The team also finished 8-9 in the Big East. The Hoyas return with some young offensive weapons, McCabe and Nelson, who led Georgetown in batting average with .385 and .375 averages respectively last year.

The Hoyas are seeking their first win this weekend in a three-game series at Campbell University. First pitch is set for Friday, Feb. 22, at 5 p.m.

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