New season, new ambitions: Hoya baseball looks to shine in new stadium

March 23, 2024

Design by Paul Kang

There’s a buzz in the air at Capital One Park. Whether it’s the $5 beers or the Metro trains whizzing by up above, there’s an electric atmosphere building around the new home of the Hoya baseball program. Walk into the brand new ballpark and you’ll immediately feel it. Walk a bit further and you’ll see all the ways the stadium cultivates that lively energy, from its pleasant party deck to the seven-foot-tall “Bruno the Black Bear” statue, to the intimate seating around home plate. 

The most exciting thing at Capital One Park, however, has nothing to do with a local animal celebrity-turned-mascot, and everything to do with the Georgetown baseball team.

With the season well underway, Coach Edwin Thompson’s squad has found their groove after a rocky start. The Hoyas are 13-7, are winners of seven of their last eight games, are undefeated at home, and field a dynamic offense that is averaging more than nine runs a game. And while the park they call home may be new, the hot start to the season is no fluke. Thompson took over in 2020, and while he struggled in his first season in 2021 (undoubtedly a product of the difficulties brought about by the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic), his team has gone 32-24 and 30-27 in the past two years—Georgetown’s first winning seasons since 1986. It is no exaggeration to say that Thompson was the exact breath of fresh air this program needed. The Hoyas are no longer loveable losers—they rank 90th out of 305 in the NCAA’s rating percentage index (RPI)—and, as far as Thompson is concerned, this is only the beginning. 

“We’re at a point in our program where we think that we can go play anybody at any given time. It’s about who plays the best, not who the best team is on paper,” Thompson said in an interview with the Voice

The Hoyas have received contributions up and down the roster, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Senior outfielder Jake Hyde set a program record earlier this year with his 40th career home run, and he only continues to mash, rocking a .313 AVG with five homers on the year. Junior catcher Owen Carapellotti was a near-unanimous selection to the preseason All-BIG EAST team and has followed up that honor by slashing a cool .282/.441/.563 (AVG/OBP/SLG) while starting all 20 games behind the dish. Senior first baseman Christian Ficca is hitting a blistering .418 with six homers. Graduate infielder Josh Rolling has 24 hits. The team as a whole is batting an absurd .309 with 184 runs in only 20 games. Everything is clicking.

“Those first three games—Cal, K-State, GCU—we saw a lot of good arms, and I think that was a good weekend to test us. Baseball’s tough, some days you have it, some days you don’t, but we’ve put in a lot of work and Coach has put us in good positions, and we’ll hopefully keep it going and keep working hard like we’ve been doing,” Rolling said in a postgame interview with the Voice

While the program has clearly reached a turning point over the last few years, one of the last remaining hurdles the team faced was finding a true home field. While the Hoyas don’t play on the Hilltop, the university found the team a new, permanent home in Tysons, Va. Opened in March 2023, Capital One Park park is located in the middle of Capital One’s corporate headquarters in Tysons, adjacent to the McLean Metro stop with Silver Line trains chugging along the elevated track right beside the field. The facility is still undergoing construction; Capital One is building an adjacent plaza that is slated to finish in the next year and integrate the whole campus together. The park itself, however, is pristine, and the exact fit the Hoyas were looking for.

“I think it’s just a great atmosphere for college baseball—not too big, not too small. It kinda has that good vibe with the subway going on and feels like you’re in the city. It’s really great and we’ve played pretty good baseball so far here,” Thompson added. 

Thompson is not wrong. Capital One Park has been good to the Hoyas; they’re a perfect 8-0 at home, with none of those games even being close. They’ve put up at least 10 runs in five of those games, including two games with over 20. 

There’s still work to be done, however. The pitching, for example, hasn’t been nearly as sharp as the hitting. The Hoyas entered the year expecting sophomore righty Cody Bowker to build upon his dazzling freshman year—a 2.57 ERA across 42.0 innings of work, an ERA half that of the team’s—but he unfortunately sustained an arm injury in a start on March 2 and hasn’t returned to the mound. The defense, too, has been shaky far too often for a team with aspirations of making the College World Series; they’ve committed 33 errors across their 20 games so far. Luckily, there is still time to tune up before conference play begins on March 28 at home against Villanova. 

“We’re trying to work on some defensive things—too many errors these last few weeks—and then pitching-wise, we’re gonna get some guys in the right spots and get some guys back from injuries. Once [conference play] starts, it’s a whole new season, but we feel good about our preparation,” Thompson said. 

With a tough away series against Ohio State this weekend (ranked 54th by RPI) followed by a rematch with budding DMV rival Maryland (ranked 33rd by RPI) early next week, the Hoyas will have some challenging matchups ahead of themselves before conference play begins. But Thompson’s men have become a metronome of consistency. They aren’t scared of the moment. As the saying goes, iron sharpens iron. 

Rolling concluded his postgame interview last Saturday saying, “Anyone can beat anyone—that’s baseball. But I think we definitely have the talent and definitely have the ability to beat anyone.” Time will tell if Rolling’s words will bear fruit, but one thing is certain: these Hoyas are ready for anything.

More: , , , ,

Read More

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments