Baseball Drops Three Straight at Wake Forest Invitational to Begin 2019 Season

February 17, 2019

The Georgetown baseball team  (0-3, Big East) began its season with a bumpy weekend at the Wake Forest Invitational in Winston-Salem, NC. Despite playing the latter two closely, the Hoyas dropped games to Illinois (3-0, Big Ten), Sacred Heart (1-2, NEC), and No. 20 Wake Forest (2-1, ACC). Sophomore shortstop Eddie McCabe and junior starting pitcher Nick Morreale were GU’s top performers on the trip. McCabe collected five hits and six total bases, while the right-handed Morreale turned in a quality start against the Pioneers with six innings of three-run ball.

The excitement of Opening Day was fleeting for the Hoyas, as the Fighting Illini offense brought their A-game on Friday. The game ended in a rout, with Illinois taking the game 11-3. Junior right-handed pitcher Jeremiah Burke got the call in the season opener and allowed four runs over five innings.

Senior right fielder Jack Yalowitz drew a walk to lead the game off, and following a strikeout, stole second. He was driven home by junior second baseman Michael Massey, giving the Illini a quick lead. The Hoyas broke through in the bottom of the second, however, as junior third baseman John Simourian brought home sophomore catcher Ryan P. Davis on a groundout to third. The Illini reclaimed the lead in the fourth after freshman third baseman Cam McDonald singled, stole second, and redshirt sophomore left fielder Andrew Dyke singled through the right side to pick up an RBI. A Simourian sacrifice fly tied the game again momentarily, but redshirt senior center fielder Zac Taylor flexed his muscles in the top of the fifth, hitting a two-runs hot to hand the Hoyas a 4-2 deficit. Georgetown scratched one run back the next inning from a fortuitous passed ball before Illinois extended its lead thanks to some sloppy defense in the top of the sixth. Errors from McCabe and senior second baseman Ryan Weisenberg allowed the Illini to score two more runs and take a 6-3 lead. The Hoyas failed to make another comeback, as Illinois scored two more runs off senior right-hander Jack Cushing in the seventh and three off sophomore left-hander Jacob Grzebinski in the ninth. Burke fell to 0-1 on the season, while sophomore left-hander Josh Harris picked up the win for the Illinois. McCabe and Davis picked up two base knocks each on the day. In addition, Weisenberg notched the 100th of his career with a fifth inning single.

On Saturday, Georgetown looked primed to right the ship, jumping out to an early lead over Sacred Heart. Lotsis and Nelson each drew walks from sophomore right-hander Cooper Thompson, and sophomore third baseman Yareb Martinez scored Lotsis on a single up the middle. The Pioneers tied the game up in the third, but the Hoyas tacked on two more in the top of the fourth to take a 3-1 advantage after Martinez picked up another RBI single and Weisenberg executed a perfect squeeze play to bring home Nelson. Georgetown could then smell their first win in the top of the fifth, when Achecar III scored on a wild pitch and Nelson’s single chased home McCabe to put the Blue & Gray up by four. However, junior right-hander Nick Morreale’s gem hit a snag in the bottom of the seventh. Morreale, who had thrown six innings of one-run ball to that point, surrendered back-to-back singles. Head coach Pete Wilk brought in freshman right-hander Carter Bosch to put out the fire, but the Pioneers were relentless. Two walks and two singles later, Sacred Heart had knotted the game at five. Senior right-hander Baylor Sundahl turned in a huge relief appearance for the Pioneers, as he silenced the Hoya bats over three innings, punching out six before Sacred Heart broke through in the bottom of the ninth. With sophomore left-hander Owen Lamon in the game for the Hoyas, Sacred Heart loaded the bases before sophomore outfielder Isiah Daubon, serving as designated hitter for the day, hit a hot shot to the right side. Achecar III made a diving stop, but his throw home was too late and the Pioneers handed Georgetown a heartbreaking walk-off loss. Lamon took the loss and senior left-hander Jackson Aldam got the win. The Hoyas had the go-ahead run in scoring position in the top of the eighth and ninth, but were unable to find the clutch hit.

Misfortune continued on Sunday, as Georgetown missed a chance to take out a ranked opponent in Wake Forest with unanimous Preseason All-Big East selection junior left-hander Brent Killam on the bump. The Demon Deacons jumped ahead early thanks to some sloppy play from the Hoyas. Two singles set the table, but two wild pitches, a walk, and a failed pickoff allowed the two lead runners to score. The Hoyas got one back in the top of the second, as McCabe and sophomore catcher Alex Gamache hit back-to-back doubles. Killam put up zeroes in the second and third, but his day was over after the fourth, when Wake Forest got another run on an RBI groundout. It was a disappointing outing for Killam, despite allowing just one earned run. The lefty walked three and made four wild pitches. Bosch entered in the fifth, looking to give Wilk some length out of the bullpen. Bosch turned in three innings, but gave up two runs in the fifth. The Georgetown offense was unable to muster much against sophomore left-hander Jared Shuster, who completed six solid innings and punched out 11 Hoyas in his 2019 debut. Georgetown threatened to make a comeback in the eighth, as McCabe knocked an opposite-field two-run single, but sophomore right-hander Antonio Menendez ended the threat by inducing a groundout from Achecar III. Menendez returned in the ninth and slammed the door to pick up his first save on the year. Starting pitchers Killam and Shuster took the decisions.

While it was only the first weekend of the season, the Hoyas appear to have some work to do. The pitching staff had control struggles during the weekend with nine wild pitches, and the offense needs to find some consistent, timely hitting, as the Hoyas left 26 men on base. They will have a chance to bounce back on Friday, when they travel back to North Carolina to take on Campbell (1-2, Big South). The Camels attended the Brittain Resorts Invitational in Conway, South Carolina this weekend, defeating Maryland (1-2, Big 12) and losing to VCU (1-2, Atlantic-10) and No. 12 Coastal Carolina (3-0, Sun Belt). They will also play East Carolina (3-0, American) on Wednesday. The three-game series will begin with first pitch at 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday. For continuing coverage of all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.

Tristan Lee
Tristan is the Voice's sports executive and a senior in Georgetown College. He mostly covers Georgetown's football, basketball, and baseball teams.

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