Baseball returns home for seven-game homestand

April 16, 2015

Justin Leeson is a steady presence at the plate, hitting .306 with 18 RBIs. (Photo Courtesy Georgetown Sports Information)

The Georgetown men’s baseball team (16-15, 3-3 Big East), is coming back home. After winning two out of three against Villanova, the Hoyas are set to return home for a 7-game home stand at Shirley Povich Field this week.

For the boys in blue and gray, the action was set to start Tuesday night against the Patriots of George Mason University (14-18-1, 5-7 Atlantic 10), but that game was delayed because of rain. The date for the make-up game has yet to be set. The team will most likely start their home stand with a three-game set against the Stony Brook Seawolves (16-11, 9-2 America East), coming in the form of a double-header at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, with the series finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday. From there, the Hoyas will turn their attention to a Tuesday contest with the Eagles from Coppin State (3-25-1, 2-13 Mid-Eastern) at 7 p.m., before capping off the home stand with a pair of seven-inning contests against the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks (11-22, 9-6 Mid-Eastern) at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

When the rescheduled match up with George Mason does occur, it will be the second between the Hoyas and the Patriots on the diamond this year. The first battle took place on March 31 at the Patriot’s home field in Fairfax, Va., at which time the Hoyas were helped by an offensive explosion en route to an emphatic 16-9 victory. It was an all-round effort from top to bottom for the Georgetown offense that put up a staggering 19 hits, but catcher Nick Collins stood out even amidst the offensive parade. With 5 hits and 5 runs batted in, the Johnny Bench Award watch-listed catcher put up his most impressive game so far in what has been a most impressive season. The North Carolina product is hitting .370 with an on-base percentage of .433, not to mention 4 home runs, 19 runs batted in, and a .528 slugging percentage. For big number 33, it’s been a dream come true. Collins said, “Ever since I was a little kid it’s been a dream to play college baseball and make it as far with my baseball career as I can.”

Collins will lead the Hoyas back on the field Saturday when they return to action against Stony Brook. The Seawolves are a new foe this year for the Hoyas, and they are a tough group led by 25th-year head coach and 2012 College Baseball Insider Co-National Coach of the Year Matt Senk. Pitching will likely be a key of the series, and the Hoyas find themselves in good hands on that front with junior, Matt Smith, and senior, Matt Hollenbeck leading the charge. The veterans have each thrown over 40 innings for the Hoyas this season, with earned run averages of 2.70 and 3.67 respectively. For both, the key to success has been hard work. Speaking of his time of Georgetown Hollenbeck said, “It’s been a fun ride.”

That ride will continue next Tuesday when the Hoyas have their second face off with Coppin State this year. The Eagles have only managed to tally a mere three wins this season, but the game is nonetheless important for the Hoyas. In the first bout between the two squads, Georgetown went to Baltimore and got the best of the Eagles by a score of 10-4. In that game, the Hoyas leaned on the depth of their pitching staff Jimmy Swad, Tim Davis, Simon Matthews, Nick Leonard, and David Ellingson all put up solid outings on the hill. Coming off of the three-game, weekend set with Stony Brook, Georgetown will likely need to stitch together another combination of off-beat pitchers to get through the weekday contest with Coppin State.

It is all the more important for the Hoya pitching staff to get through Coppin State effectively because they will again need to quickly turn around for a pair of tough contests on Wednesday night against the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The strain on the pitching staff will be slightly alleviated by the fact that the games against the Hawks will only be seven-inning contests, but it will nonetheless be a litmus test of the physical and mental toughness of the pitching staff dealing with a relatively high volume of work in a short time period. 

Finally, standing at the end of the Georgetown home stand is the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. This will be the second matchup between the two teams this year, with the first having been recorded as an 8-2 Hoya win. That win came one day after Georgetown’s signature victory this year over No. 12 Virginia.

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