Baseball has mixed results in opening three games

February 19, 2015

After a 19-29 campaign in 2014, the Georgetown baseball team (1-2, 0-0 Big East) returned to action this past week with three games at the Wake Forest Invitational in North Carolina against Virginia Commonwealth University (1-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10), the University of Delaware (1-1, 0-0 CAA), and Bucknell University (1-1, 0-0 Patriot League).

On Friday, the Hoyas fell to both VCU and Delaware—by scores of 6-3 and 3-0, respectively—before righting the ship with an 8-5 victory over Bucknell on Saturday.

Georgetown was able to pound out 10 hits and draw two walks in their first game back against VCU, but were only able to move three men across the plate in the 6-3 loss. The runs batted in came from junior center fielder Evan Ryan and senior infielder AC Carter, as well as freshman middle infielder Chase Bushor, who came through with an RBI sacrifice fly in his first career at-bat.

Starting pitcher and Preseason All-Big East senior left-hander Matt Hollenbeck threw four innings, giving up three earned and one unearned run, five hits, two walks and one hit batter, while striking out one.

Hollenbeck did a good job of throwing strikes, but felt that he “did it a little too much in advantage counts.” Head Coach Pete Wilk said that his starter was “a little bit up and down,” but added that “[Hollenbeck] competed and made pitches when he absolutely had to.” The sophomore right-hander Simon Mathews relieved him and contributed four innings while giving up two earned, five hits, zero walks, and striking out two in the losing effort for the Hoyas.

In the second game of the day, despite suffering a 3-0 defeat, the Hoyas got a strong effort from the 2014 team pitcher of the year, junior right-hand-pitcher Matt Smith. The 6’3, 215 pounder from Pennsylvania didn’t show any rust as he hurled a solid seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball, surrendering only one walk while sitting down an impressive seven batters.  Coach Wilk commented, “For his first outing, I thought he was outstanding.”

In a scoreless game, junior right-hander Tim Davis threw a scoreless frame in the 8th, but gave up three runs in the 9th. Georgetown was able to record five hits, including two doubles from sophomore infielder Jake Kuzbel, but still fell short 3-0.

Smith was not upset with personally not being able to get credit for a win despite a strong outing saying, “The ultimate goal is to make the tournament as a team, and to give 150% and perform not necessarily for myself, but for the team.”

In the Hoyas’ last game in North Carolina, they finally broke through with an 8-5 triumph over the Bison of Bucknell. After being held scoreless through the first three innings, junior catcher and designated hitter Nick Collins, strode up to the plate. Collins said he, “was just trying to get a pitch to hit and start [the Hoya offense] off,” and that’s exactly what he did. Three batters later, Evan Ryan got Collins home, and then the floodgates opened. The pivotal at-bats in the inning came from freshmen Austin Shirley and Chase Bushor, who each came through with two-out, two-run knocks.

“You truly never know what you’re going to get from freshmen until the lights are on and there’s somebody in the seats, and both of those guys really stepped up,” Coach Wilk said. Senior infielder AC Carter drove in the final two runs of the inning.

On the hill, freshman Kevin Superko made his first collegiate start. He threw five shutout innings, giving up only two hits and two walks to five strikeouts. Superko said he was “excited, maybe a little too excited in the first inning,” but added he was able to “calm down thanks to catcher, Eric Webber and the middle infielders Ryan Busch and Chase Bushor.” Red shirt freshman Vince Leoni, junior Tim Davis, and sophomore David Ellingson all combined to go the rest of the way and preserve the Superko’s first career win in an 8-5 victory over Bucknell.

D.C.’s first major snowfall prevented the Hoyas’ from playing their home opener on Wednesday afternoon against crosstown rival George Washington (1-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10). The teams rescheduled the contest for March 4. This weekend’s game scheduled against Fairfield were cancelled as well.

Looking ahead, the Hoyas now turn their attention to a three-game set at Davidson (0-0, Atlantic 10 from Feb. 27-Mar.1. It’s another chance for them to get Coach Wilk his 300th career win.

“He’s always had our backs,” Hollenbeck said. “We’re looking forward to getting him 300.”

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