The Georgetown men’s baseball team (10-20, 2-1 Big East) defeated Navy (25-10, 9-5 Patriot League) 3-2 Wednesday afternoon in Annapolis, Maryland. With freshman pitcher Jacob Grzebinski starting on the mound, the Hoyas won their third straight game for the first time this season.
Grzebinski pitched five-plus solid innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks, before being pulled in the sixth. After a scoreless first inning, the Hoyas took advantage of some sloppy pitching from Navy to get on the board. With two outs and sophomore first baseman Freddy Achecar III on first, Navy freshman pitcher Tommy Goodridge allowed a single to junior third baseman Ryan Weisenberg and a walk to senior left fielder Austin Shirley before walking the leadoff man, senior second baseman Jake Bernstein, to force home a run.
After a quiet third inning, the Hoyas extended their lead in the fourth. Junior pitcher Andrew Sauer, who replaced Goodridge after two innings, walked the first man he faced in the fourth, freshman designated hitter Ryan P. Davis. Achecar advanced the runner on a sacrifice bunt before Weisenberg smacked a double to left centerfield to drive in Davis. Weisenberg moved to third on a wild pitch before Shirley brought him home with a ground-out to put Georgetown up 3-0.
Grzebinski pitched two more scoreless innings before allowing Navy to finally get on the board in the sixth. Facing the top of the order, he allowed back to back triples to senior center fielder Logan Knowles and sophomore shortstop Zach Biggers to give the Midshipmen their first run of the ball game. Against the next batter, senior right fielder Stephen Born, Grzebinski threw a wild pitch to bring home Biggers and then hit Born to put the tying run on base. It was at this point that Georgetown head coach Pete Wilk decided to pull his starter from the game. Sophomore pitcher Jeremiah Burke came in and got three straight outs to take his team out of the inning with the lead still in hand.
In the seventh, Burke hit back to back Navy batters to put two men on, but induced a fly out double play from the center fielder, sophomore Ryan M. Davis to Bernstein at second base to get out of the inning unscathed. In the eighth inning, senior pitcher Kevin Superko allowed just one hit and sophomore pitcher Nick Morreale pitched a perfect ninth to hold for Georgetown’s third straight one run victory.
This weekend, the Hoyas will play a split weekend series against George Mason (14-17, 6-3 Atlantic 10), with games on Friday and Saturday at home at Shirley Povich field before hitting the road to take on the Patriots at Spuhler Field in Fairfax, Virginia.
The Patriots come into this series having dropped five of their last six games, including their Wednesday matchup at home against James Madison (16-16, 2-7 Colonial Athletic Association).
Head coach Bill Brown is likely to send out his top three starting pitchers, junior Zach Mort, redshirt junior Bryce Nightengale, and junior Brian Marconi to face off against the Hoyas. In last weekend’s series against Davidson (20-12, 6-3 Atlantic 10), Nightengale was the sole George Mason pitcher to emerge with a victory. The right hander sports a 3.74 ERA on the season with an impressive 44 strikeouts in just 43.1 innings pitched. That said, Mort has been the true ace of the staff with a 1.73 ERA over his eight starts to go along with 71 strikeouts, all while holding opposing batters under a .200 batting average. Marconi has been less than perfect this year. He has a 5.08 ERA and has allowed an opposing batting average of .288. Look for senior pitcher Ryan Ricci to get several innings out of the bullpen if Marconi slips up. He has been one of the top relief pitchers in the Atlantic 10 with a 2.01 ERA over 16 appearances.
As for Georgetown, the only pitcher who is almost certain to get a nod this series is sophomore lefty Brent Killam. Last Saturday, he was stellar against Xavier (11-21, 1-2 Big East), giving up just one run over seven and a third innings pitched. On the season, Killam has been the clear ace, throwing for a 2.16 ERA and 53 strikeouts over five starts and nine total appearances. The rest of the staff has been far less consistent, with no other starter sporting an ERA under 5.00. Junior Jack Cushing and freshman Owen Lamon each started in the Xavier series last weekend and lead the team with six starts each, but they also have among the worst ERAs on the team at 5.92 and 7.52, respectively. It is possible that Wilk decides to go with Morreale after his solid ninth inning performance against Navy. The righty has logged five starts on the season and has a respectable 5.28 ERA.
The first game against George Mason at Shirley Povich field will be Friday at 3 p.m. For more baseball recaps and coverage of other spring sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.
Image Credits: Georgetown Sports Information