No. 9 ECU Pirates leave Hoyas stranded in baseball’s fourth straight loss after hot start

March 6, 2023

Georgetown baseball

Georgetown baseball (6-5, BIG EAST) left Greenville, N.C. empty-handed on Sunday, dropping an afternoon game 11-2 to a confident home team in the No. 9 East Carolina University Pirates (7-3, AAC). It was their fourth straight loss, and their third loss in the three-game LeClair Classic.

The Hoyas, who headed to Greenville 6-2, had momentum after receiving top-30 votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association poll for the first time in program history. But a 18-3 walloping by Long Beach State killed that momentum on Friday, and the Hoyas left one on the table against Indiana on Saturday, letting the Hoosiers come back and win it 4-3. So they entered the day deflated, and it showed for the majority of the game.

ECU’s starting pitcher Josh Grosz was crushingly dominant, maintaining a no-hitter through five innings and keeping the potent Georgetown offense scoreless. Despite impressive fielding, the Hoyas conceded too many hits to keep up on defense, and graduate pitcher Jake Bloss was pulled after four tough innings. The relief pitchers on both sides, though, let the game get a bit more interesting, and Georgetown had the opportunity to take the lead but fell just short before falling completely apart in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The game started off quietly, with no hits or bases reached in the first inning. Junior first baseman Christian Ficca got to first on a walk in the top of the second, but was left  stranded when Grosz struck out the next three batters. 

In the bottom of the second, the Pirates started to wake up. ECU’s Josh Moylan got a double on a ground ball, and scored on the next pitch as Joey Barini’s hit advanced him home. Alec Makarewicz was hit by pitch, prompting a Georgetown mound conference. The Pirates kept the rally going with several more hits, but smart defense by the Hoyas prevented any further scores in the second.

Through the top of the fifth, it was much of the same on both sides. Grosz kept the Hoyas from reaching base on hits, and stranded the four runners that got there on walks. Bloss, on the other hand, allowed a total of six hits and three runs during his four innings, including a solo home run by Makarewicz in the fourth to bring the score to 3-0. The Hoyas were only saved from a larger deficit by smart fielding, including an impressive double play in the third and consistently solid play at first base by Ficca.

The Hoyas went to their bullpen in the bottom of the fifth, swapping Bloss for graduate pitcher Tyler Mead. Mead performed well, preventing any runs in his two innings, before junior pitcher Everett Catlett came in to relieve him.

With Georgetown’s fielding preventing further runs, and ECU’s bullpen allowing them more base runners than Grosz had, the game started to get interesting in the top of the eighth. Junior Jake Hyde hit a beauty over the right outfielder, flipped his bat, and trotted around the bases for a home run. Hyde’s homer seemed to get the bats going for the Hoyas, as two of their next three batters reached base. A fly out then allowed Ficca to notch a run, making it 3-2, but another fly out stranded the last opportunity Georgetown would get to take a lead.

Just as quickly as the Hoyas opened the door in the top of the eighth, the Pirates slammed it shut in the bottom. Two Georgetown pitchers were replaced before they could secure even one out, and a barrage of infield hits (with a couple of errors) produced a stunning eight runs for ECU. It was 11-2 before graduate outfielder Zaid Walker graciously put an end to the inning with a smooth over-the-wall catch in the center outfield.

Georgetown’s last batting inning was quiet, as they went three up, three down to bring the game to a close. The Hoyas allowed 13 hits to their five, and committed two errors in the game.

Despite the final score, the Hoyas showed promise. They held just about even for seven and a half innings with a top-10 opponent—the only ranked team they’ve gone up against in Head Coach Edwin Thompson’s three years.

“What a great baseball game today,” Thompson wrote in a press release after the game. “Unfortunately, we came up short of a comeback there, but I have to give our guys credit. To be down 3-0 against the No. 9 team in the country, and to get it to 3-2 in the eighth was great. We just unfortunately ran out of gas, and they took advantage of it because that is what good teams do.”

The Hoyas play their next game on Tuesday, March 7, against the George Mason Patriots (4-7, A-10) at the Spuhler Field in Fairfax.


Graham Krewinghaus
Graham is a junior in the College and the editor-in-chief for the Spring 2024 semester. He cares too much about the Boston Celtics, and the proper amount about the Georgetown Voice.

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