In what has been a trying season, the Georgetown baseball team (16-27, 5-4 Big East) may have turned a corner over the last two weeks. This weekend, they played their best series yet, securing their first three-game sweep of the year at home against a strong St. John’s team (23-17, 5-7 Big East). The starting pitching was particularly outstanding for the Hoyas, as junior right-handers Jerry Burke and Nick Morreale and senior right-hander Jack Cushing all turned in quality starts, holding the Red Storm to three earned runs over 23 innings. Sophomore left-hander Jacob Grzebinski was also crucial, earning the save in all three games.
In Friday’s opener, Burke went against Red Storm junior left-hander Joe LaSorsa, who made a strong effort on the bump himself. In the bottom of the second, however, sophomore third baseman Eddie McCabe got the Hoyas on the board with his second homer of the year, a solo shot, over the left field fence. LaSorsa held the Hoyas scoreless over the next two innings, but the Hoyas came knocking again in the fifth. Sophomore left fielder Kai Nelson led off the frame with a single up the middle, and senior second baseman Ryan Weisenberg drew a walk to put men on first and second for McCabe. The Norwalk, CT native hit a liner to right field that went off the fielder’s glove, allowing both runners to score, while McCabe ended up at third. The next batter, junior first baseman Freddie Achecar III, punched a single into right field, bringing home McCabe and giving Georgetown a commanding 4-0 lead. LaSorsa escaped the inning with no further damage, but that would conclude his day. The southpaw ended with five innings and only one earned run.
Meanwhile, Burke cruised through the first five innings with only two baserunners and no runs. In the sixth, the Red Storm finally broke through thanks to a two-run bomb off the bat of senior catcher Wyatt Mascarella, cutting the Hoya lead in half. St. John’s got another run in the seventh, effectively leading to the exit of Burke and the entrance of Grzebinski, who was tasked with earning a six-out save. Burke finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts over his seven innings, allowing only two earned runs. Grzebinski was nearly perfect, allowing just a walk and striking out two to notch his sixth save of the year.
Through one inning on Saturday, Georgetown had claimed another early lead. Graduate student right fielder Kyle Ruedisili manufactured a run practically on his own, drawing a walk, stealing second, advancing to third on a passed ball, and scoring on a sacrifice fly from Achecar. In the third, Georgetown took advantage of Red Storm freshman right-hander Ian Murphy’s lack of command. Murphy plunked junior center fielder Ryan M. Davis and McCabe, setting the table for Weisenberg, who poked a two-out double into the right-center gap, scoring Davis.
The only trouble that Morreale faced came in the fourth inning. Redshirt junior second baseman Ryan Markey snuck a leadoff base hit down the right field line and advanced to second on a fielding error by the right fielder. Markey then scored on a single by junior catcher Mitchell Henshaw, but that was the only run, an unearned one, that the Red Storm would get off of Morreale. Morreale went on to complete eight innings, fanning 14 batters, both career highs, en route to his fourth win of the year. Grzebinski came on for the save and was nearly flawless, striking out two and issuing a walk to secure a 2-1 Georgetown win.
Sunday’s finale turned out to be another tight affair. The Hoyas struck first once again due to some perfectly executed small ball. Freshman shortstop Alex Rosen led off the third by drawing a walk from junior left-hander Jeff Belge and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ruedisili. Weisenberg then cashed in on the sacrifice, finding the right-center gap on a run-scoring single. An inning later, Nelson doubled the lead when he deposited a solo homer over the left field fence for his third dinger of the year. The score stayed 2-0 until the seventh, when Ruedisili hit a one-out solo homer of his own, adding to his team-leading total of eight. Weisenberg then singled and raced around the bases on a double by Ryan M. Davis to give Georgetown a 4-0 lead for the second time in three days.
Cushing, not to be outdone by Burke, dominated the St. John’s offense all day long. He held the Red Storm scoreless over the first seven innings on just three hits. In the eighth, Cushing surrendered back-to-back one-out doubles to junior left fielder Mike Antico and junior third baseman Carson Bartels, but finished the inning with no further trouble. Cushing, who may have solidified himself as the team ace, lowered his ERA to 2.37 following his eight innings of one-run ball. Grzebinski came on in the ninth and slammed the door, allowing just a leadoff infield single.
With the sweep, Georgetown moves up to third place in the Big East with a chance to move into second next weekend. Following a Wednesday game at UMBC (20-21, 6-12 America East), the Hoyas will host second place Creighton (25-10, 6-3 Big East) for three games at Shirley Povich Field, where the Blue & Gray are 9-7 on the season. First pitch on Wednesday is set for 6:00 p.m. ET, while the weekend series will begin at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday. For continuing coverage of all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.
Image Credits: Georgetown Athletics Communications