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Garza leads improved baseball team
With three Big East series out of the way in the 2012 season and a conference record of 3-6, the Georgetown baseball team appears to be putting together a better finish than it did in 2011. With a 16-17 record so far, this season is shaping up to be significantly better than last year’s, when the team ended 10 games under .500. Strong offensive bursts from the club have been essential to many of their wins against highly offensive opponents. Much of this offensive spark can be contributed to their strongest contributor, shortstop Mike Garza.
Hailing from San Antonio, Garza is a redshirt junior leading the team in several offensive categories. Both in and out of conference, Garza has been putting up numbers that put him among the top in the Big East. His .390 batting average ranks fourth out of all players in the conference, and his 53 hits rank second.
Practicing three days a week in addition to playing games every weekend and occasionally during the week has put Garza in a groove he hopes to continue, but the extra work that has fueled his success came earlier, during the fall months.
“In the offseason, I did things a little differently, focused more on weight training and stuff like that but as far as the season I just try to keep a pretty set routine day to day,” he said of his workouts.
Although many of the teams Georgetown has faced in the preseason were not as challenging as those they have faced in conference, Garza’s conference batting average is even higher at .424. His seventh-ranked overall slugging percentage (.596) has also improved during Big East matches, during which it reaches a team-leading .727.
His fellow teammates have also helped put him on another top-ten list with 28 RBIs, ranking him seventh in the league. Consistent performance from others in the Hoya lineup such as Justin Leeson, Corbin Blakey, and Rand Ravnaas has allowed Garza to drive in his team-leading RBI statistic and score 23 runs (third only to teammates Leeson and Kevin Johnson). With the bulk of the regular season ahead of them, the Hoyas want to keep up their hitting and improve their pitching as they move in to face the next set of conference teams in Villanova and Notre Dame.
The pressure is mounting for the Hoyas with the two big upcoming series, and the team is sticking to the goals it set out at the beginning of the season. Wins in these series could put the squad in very good position to make its first ever Big East Championship run.
“We came into this season looking to make the Big East Tournament,” Garza said. “I don’t think that’s ever been done in Georgetown baseball history, so I mean that’s kind of a team goal, but for me that’s also a personal goal. I want to try and help carry this team with the other guys that are playing and to get us into the record books.”
As an individual, his performance this season extends past the Big East Championship in May. High stats and a deep run in the tournament mean a better opportunity to get drafted onto a Major League Baseball team. “I hope to get drafted, for me that’s probably my biggest personal goal,” said Garza of his future prospects. Despite this aspiration, he plans to take the rest of the season day by day, focusing his attention mainly on the game ahead.
The team will be traveling to Pennsylvania this weekend to take on Villanova for a three-game series, and will face Notre Dame next weekend after a stop at Coppin State University. Although a challenging two weeks are ahead, the Hoyas look to move up in the ranks among their Big East foes.
“I think every game in conference is a big game and a tough game,” Garza said. “Villanova I’d say is a big-time rival as far as baseball is concerned so it’s always a tough series. Notre Dame traditionally is always pretty tough so you got to come out every Big East weekend and play A plus baseball to have chance to win so we’ll go out and hopefully we can do that and put some wins up on the board for these weekends.”