Pitching Shines as Hoyas Take Series at Villanova

April 14, 2019

This weekend, the Georgetown Hoyas baseball team (11-25, 2-4 Big East) notched a much needed series victory over Big East rival Villanova (9-24, 2-4 Big East), taking two of three games on the Wildcats’ turf. The pitching staff was instrumental in the Hoyas’ first series victory of Big East play, as Villanova only mustered seven runs over the weekend.

In the series opener on Friday, the Wildcats triumphed 3-1 to win their second contest in a row. It was the Hoyas who drew first blood, however. In the top of the first, graduate student left fielder Kyle Ruedisili led off with a double to center off of Wildcats freshman right-hander Gordon Graceffo. After advancing to third on a grounder to the right side, Ruedisili came home on a groundout to second from sophomore third baseman Eddie McCabe, giving Georgetown a 1-0 lead.

On the defensive side, junior right-hander Jeremiah Burke cruised through his first four innings, striking out four Wildcats and allowing just one hit. In the fifth, however, Villanova broke through. With the bases loaded and two outs, freshman first baseman Nick Lorusso came up with a clutch two-run single into left. An insurance run scored on a fielder’s choice, making it 3-1 in favor of Villanova.

Meanwhile, Graceffo had settled in following the first inning run. Graceffo finished 8.1 innings and stuck out eight Hoyas. Freshman left-hander Angelo Tonas relieved Burke, who finished with five innings and two earned runs and was stellar in three shutout innings, but the offense was unable to put together a comeback.

The squads played a doubleheader on Saturday in order to avoid inclement weather on Sunday, and the Hoyas were able to put it together starting in game one. Junior right-hander Nick Morreale was the star of the 4-2 victory, firing six innings of one-run ball and striking out a career-high 12. However, the Wildcats struck first, getting a run in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly.

For Villanova, sophomore right-hander Jimmy Kingsbury started off strong, getting through the first four innings without allowing a run. In the fifth, though, freshman catcher Matt Stone tied things up, pulling an RBI single into left, and the Hoyas took a 2-1 lead on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by right fielder James Gabor. Stone came up clutch again in the seventh, hitting his second home run of the year, a solo shot, off of Kingsbury to pad the lead. In the ninth, Georgetown got another insurance run off of an RBI double by senior second baseman Ryan Weisenberg, making it 4-1. Sophomore left-hander Jacob Grzebinski was dominant, pitching the final three innings after Morreale was lifted and allowing just a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. The southpaw fanned six Wildcats to pick up his fifth save of 2019.

In the rubber match later that afternoon, senior right-hander Jack Cushing put together the best performance by a Georgetown pitcher this year. Cushing threw a complete game, striking out six and allowing five hits in the Hoyas’ second 4-2 victory of the day.

Ruedisili struck in the third inning, lifting his team-leading sixth home run over the right field fence and giving Georgetown an early 1-0 lead. An inning later, freshman catcher Tony Barreca scored on a grounder after doubling down the left field line. Georgetown kept the offense going in the fifth, as junior center fielder Ryan M. Davis led off with a double. Weisenberg chased home Davis on a single up the middle and later scored on a double by junior first baseman Will Salomon. With the way Cushing was pitching, the 4-0 lead felt much larger.

Villanova wouldn’t cross the plate until the bottom of the eighth when Cushing gave up a single to junior right fielder Tyler Bruno and a triple to sophomore outfielder Sam Margulis to lead off the inning. Margulis later scored on a groundout, but Cushing bounced back to shut down the Wildcats in the ninth.

With the win, Cushing improved to 3-3 and now has a sparkling ERA of 2.61 on the year.

Georgetown will now prepare for a mid-week matchup with Patriot League-leading Navy (27-12, 13-4 Patriot League) on Tuesday in Annapolis. The Midshipmen routed the Hoyas 12-3 back on March 27 at Shirley Povich Field, so the Blue & Gray are looking for a revenge win. Navy took two of three at Lehigh this weekend, and have won five of their last seven. 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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