Softball can’t pull out tight games, finishes 1-4 at Chanticleer showdown

February 26, 2018

The Georgetown softball team’s (3-11, Big East) early-season struggles continued in Conway, South Carolina, at the Chanticleer Showdown this weekend, going 1-4 over three days. The Hoyas’ lone win of the tournament, against the Pittsburgh Panthers (8-1, ACC) on Saturday morning, was bookended by two losses against Pitt and tournament hosts Coastal Carolina (11-5, Sun Belt) on Friday and a pair of defeats to Saint Joseph’s (6-4, A-10) and CCU on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, respectively.

Returning to the Palmetto State after last weekend’s unsuccessful 1-3 trip to Columbia for the Gamecock Invitational, Georgetown could not put their woes of tournaments past behind them, yielding an RBI double to the Panthers in the top of the first inning on Friday morning. However, sophomore pitcher Anna Brooks Pacha found a rhythm from there, striking out twelve in a complete-game effort while Pitt did not plate a runner home again until the seventh inning. Georgetown offered no support for Pacha at the dish, however, as they were shut out by Panthers senior pitcher Kayla Harris, who gave up only four hits on the morning. GU had runners in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings but grounded out to end both innings.

The Hoyas got off to a much better start against a strong Coastal Carolina squad, with sophomore catcher Sera Stevens’ RBI double giving the Hoyas a 1-0 lead in the second inning. The Chanticleers evened the score in the bottom half of the second but the Hoyas responded through junior designated hitter Sarah Bennett’s two-run RBI double in the third. The lead was not meant to be, however, as CCU hit back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth, but Georgetown again responded as Bennett went deep to left field to deadlock the game at 5 in the fifth inning. A Chanticleer leadoff homer in the bottom of the sixth proved to be decisive, however, as the Hoyas could not claw back a final time against junior pitcher Ashley Guillette, who picked up the save.

The Blue and Gray built on their offensive momentum from their Friday game against CCU in their Saturday morning rematch with Pitt with freshman shortstop Savannah Jones’ first inning double plating two. Jones added another tally in the RBI column in the third, knocking in junior center fielder Mallory Belknap with a second double. Sophomore DH Delaney Darden had the game-winner with an RBI double in the top of the fourth before freshman outfielder Reagan Jones scored on a passed ball as the Hoya lead swelled to 5-0 behind freshman pitcher London Diller. The Panthers would pull back three runs in the final two innings against Diller and junior pitcher Katie Vannicola, but Vannicola settled to pick up the final four outs on her way to the save.

Vannicola started in the circle for Saturday’s noon clash with Saint Joseph’s, but was swapped for freshman Isabelle Ortiz after Georgetown went down 3-0 only one out into the Hawks’ half of the first. Ortiz could not completely stop the bleeding as the Hawks added three more runs to stretch their advantage to 6-0 by the end of the second inning. Sophomore Casey Kozak performed admirably the rest of the contest, giving up only one run over five innings. The Hoyas could do little at the plate, not scoring until Bennett’s RBI in the sixth, but pulled two more back on sophomore Ciara Sullivan’s two-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh.

Pacha started in Sunday’s tournament closing game against the Chanticleers, going eight innings this time while only surrendering two runs. The Hoyas’ best chance to strike was in the fifth inning, as they loaded the bases with two outs before Savannah Jones brought one home with an RBI single. The inning ended on a pop-up, however, and sophomore first baseman Kassidy Smith’s homer in the bottom of the sixth inning would end up sending the game to extras. Georgetown was unable to take advantage of the automatic runner placed on second base in their half of the eighth, while a leadoff triple from the Chanticleers walked things off to wrap up the Hoyas’ weekend.

Though Georgetown will be unhappy to head back to the Hilltop with only one victory despite playing in three tight games, their performances this weekend were stronger than last’s and came against some quality opposition. The pitching of Pacha was arguably the highlight of the tournament for the team, while hitters such as Bennett performed well in an up-and-down weekend at the plate for Georgetown. The Hoyas will be defending their own turf in the coming days against much weaker competition than they have seen thus far at the District Classic at Nats Park. They are scheduled to play a doubleheader against Lafayette (1-9, Patriot) on Sunday, before matching up against Columbia (0-5, Ivy) and then Howard (2-10, Mid-eastern) on Monday, finishing up against UMBC (1-8, America East) on Tuesday.

Will Shanahan
is a senior in the McDonough School of Business, and former Sports Executive and Editor of The Voice. He spends his days plotting visits to downstairs Leo's when the omelet line will be short and trying to recall memories of his middling high school football career.

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