Baseball’s four-game split is right on track

February 24, 2011

Will Harris pitched a gem against Davidson, but got no help from his offense. (Photo courtesy of GU Sports Information)

Despite posting a disappointing 24-31 overall record and a 5-9 record in the Big East last year, the Georgetown baseball team enters this season with some minimalist goals, but a mild sense of confidence. Georgetown has struggled in Big East play in recent years, often finishing last.  This season, head coach Pete Wilk expressed that his two goals for the season were to make the Big East playoffs and finish over .500.

Will Harris pitched a gem against Davidson, but got no help from his offense. (Photo courtesy of GU Sports Information)

The team kicked off the season last Friday in North Carolina.  The weather may have been a good omen—the team got off to a smooth start and won their opening game against Davidson 9-5.  The next day, however, they lost to Davidson 2-1 but salvaged the weekend with a 7-4 win over Army.

The opening weekend provided a good preview of the team’s starting rotation, which has more depth than in previous years.  Senior Alex Meyer started the first game against Davidson, and only gave up one unearned run in five innings.  The next game against the Wildcats featured a similarly strong performance. Junior Will Harris allowed one unearned run in six innings.  The team was only able to score one run, however, and went on to lose the game when Davidson scored a run in the seventh. The final game against Army was not as kind to the Hoyas’ starter, with junior Bobby Kirby quickly getting knocked out of the game after giving up two runs in two innings. Luckily, redshirt junior Tommy Isaacs provided 4.2 innings of solid work before surrendering the lead, which Georgetown quickly regained with some eighth inning heroics.  Isaacs, the team’s leader in starts last season, will be a key part of the rotation.

On Wednesday the Hoyas lost 9-4 to Norfolk State, following a rocky start by Alex Baker. The freshman gave up seven runs in two innings, including a grand slam to Brandon Hairston in the second inning.  One bright spot was the relief performance of sophomore Charlie Steinman, who went four innings and only gave up one hit.

The team’s fielding is still one of its weak points. Last year the Hoyas made 99 errors, but when they made one error or less they were 15-10. In the first four games the Hoyas have already committed eight errors, however, showing that there is still work to be done.

Another potential problem the team could face is injuries. Last year the pitching staff was perpetually hurt,  and even though Wilk thinks the team has more depth this season, an injury to any of the starters could send the season south quickly.

“If we stay healthy I feel pretty good about our rotation with Isaacs, Meyer, and Harris. There’s a lot of experience there but also a lot of injuries,” Wilk said. “So if they stay healthy I feel good. If we don’t, we’re in trouble.”

Wilk said that overall, this year’s team is deeper and more talented. The Hoyas picked up redshirt sophomore Mike Garza, who transferred from Stanford. He will start at shortstop and bat third in the lineup.  Other players to watch include senior third baseman Sean Lamont and junior right fielder Rand “Slam” Ravnaas.  Last year Ravnaas led the team with 11 home runs while Lamont had seven round-trippers. In the game against Norfolk State, Garza and Ravnaas both had two hits while Lamont went 3-for-5 at the plate.  Catcher Erick Fernandez stands out for his performance behind the plate. Last season he caught 23 of 63 batters stealing.

“He did a tremendous job behind the plate with our pitchers, shut down the running game, and made several key blocks while helping out with some key hits,” Wilk said.

The Hoyas will need their best players to reach their full potential if they will be successful in the ultra competitive Big East.

“Everybody is our competition, we’ve ended up in last place most years,” Wilk said.  He added that he considered the three big heavyweights of the Big East to be Louisville, UConn, and St. John’s.

The Hoyas have three games this weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C. against Northwestern, Delaware State, and Wake Forest before returning to D.C. next weekend to play at George Washington. Georgetown doesn’t open up conference play until May 25th against Notre Dame.

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