This weekend, the Georgetown Hoyas baseball team (17-24, 4-4 Big East) traveled to Creighton for a three-game series with the Blue Jays (25-13, 3-5 Big East). Coming into the weekend, the Hoyas had won eight of 11, while the Blue Jays had won four of five; both squads looked to stay hot. Although Creighton has had a far more successful season to this point, the Hoyas prevailed, winning two out of three.
On Friday, the Blue Jays took their only win of the weekend, shutting out the Hoyas 8-0. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when junior infielder Ryan Mantle doubled off junior right-handed starter Jack Cushing down the right field line. Cushing lasted five innings on five hits while striking out three Blue Jays. Another Creighton run scored in the fifth on a passed ball, meaning Cushing finished with two earned runs. After Cushing left with 97 pitches, senior right-hander Kevin Superko entered, and the 2-0 Hoya deficit got out of hand. Superko gave up a bases-clearing triple to sophomore right-hander Will Robertson, and by the end of the sixth the score had bloated to 6-0. Senior right-hander Matt Randolph, freshman left-hander Jacob Grzebinski, and graduate student right-hander Connor Cuse finished the game off for the Hoyas, but the bats were never able to surmount the big Creighton lead.
Senior right-hander Ryan Tapani stymied the Georgetown hitters over eight scoreless innings. Tapani racked up nine punchouts and walked just one while working around eight hits. Sophomore right-hander Jacob Voss shut the door on the Hoyas with a clean ninth. Tapani improved to 7-1 on the season, while Cushing dropped to 2-6. Despite a rough loss, two Hoyas reached milestones on the day. Senior second baseman Jake Bernstein, with a single in the third, became the 37th Hoya to tally 150 base hits. Also with a single in the third, senior left fielder Austin Shirley notched the 100th extra-base hit of his career.
Fortunately, the Hoyas were able to bounce back on Saturday with a 6-3 victory. Sophomore left-hander Brent Killam led the effort with 8.1 stellar innings. After giving up two runs in the first, the southpaw fired seven consecutive scoreless frames before getting the hook in the ninth. Killam finished with eight strikeouts and did not walk a Blue Jay. Sophomore right-hander Nick Morreale got the final two outs, securing his second save of 2018 by striking out sophomore left fielder Parker Upton.
The Hoya offense got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a RBI double down the right field line by freshman shortstop Eddie McCabe. Although their lead disappeared a half-inning later, Georgetown reclaimed it in the top of the sixth during a two-run rally. Senior first baseman Alex Bernauer tripled home McCabe and then scored on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by senior catcher Sammy Stevens. The Hoyas then extended their lead to 6-2 in the ninth on a two-run single from Bernstein and an RBI single from sophomore center fielder Ryan M. Davis. Junior right-hander Mitch Ragan started for the Blue Jays and had a solid outing, finishing six innings on three runs, before the Hoyas pulled away in the ninth. Unfortunately for Ragan, he was tagged with a loss and fell to 4-3, while Killam improved his record to 5-2.
In the finale on Sunday, the Hoyas completed their series upset with a blowout 8-1 victory. Sophomore right-hander Jeremiah Burke got the ball for the Hoyas, making just his second start of the campaign. Burke did not disappoint, firing six shutout innings, despite not recording a single strikeout. Burke allowed the leadoff batter to reach in each of the first three innings, including a leadoff triple by Mantle in the second, but kept each from scoring. After Burke was pulled, Morreale pitched 1.2 innings and allowed a bases loaded walk in the eighth, but thankfully senior right-hander Jimmy Swad was able to put out that fire and finish the game. After getting shelled on Friday, the pitching staff bounced back nicely on Saturday and Sunday.
The Hoya bats were silenced over the first four innings, but woke up for three runs in the fifth. Bernstein drove home two runs on a triple and then came home on an RBI single from freshman catcher Ryan P. Davis. Georgetown then added five more in the eighth, helped by RBI doubles from Stevens and Ryan M. Davis. Opposing Burke was senior left-hander Preston Church, who also finished six innings, but was responsible for those three runs in the fifth. Ryan P. Davis was the top offensive performer on the day, finishing 3-5 with a run scored in addition to his RBI in the fifth. Burke earned his first decision of the season with Sunday’s victory, while Church’s record dwindled to 3-5.
On Tuesday, the Hoyas will host Mount St. Mary’s (17-23, 11-10 Northeast) at Shirley Povich Field. The Hoyas have now won 10 of 14, but Mount St. Mary’s is coming off a four game sweep of Sacred Heart (10-28, 5-12 Northeast) and have won nine of 11. Both teams will be looking to keep up positive momentum. On March 3 in the Snowbird Baseball Classic, the Mount took a narrow 4-3 victory over the Hoyas in Port Charlotte, Florida. However, the Hoyas are a much improved team since then, and will be motivated for redemption. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for breaking news and more spring sports coverage.
Image Credits: Georgetown Sports Information