Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Baseball: New Millennium Brings New Outlook for Hoyas

By Mike Hume Hoya Staff Writer

Rejoice all, for spring is here.

While a three inch layer of snow and ice blankets the Georgetown campus, and a very similar situation presents itself in Durham, N.C., the Georgetown baseball team will open their 2000 season this weekend against the Duke Blue Devils. The recent foul weather which buried D.C., struck the Duke campus with an even greater ferocity, covering the field with a 20-inch tarpaulin of snow and cast doubts onto the status of the weekend match up.

Saturday’s game has already been postponed and moved to Sunday as the teams will go toe-to-toe in a season-opening doubleheader. While the snow may be gone by then, the temperatures do not appear willing to relinquish their frosty grip quite yet as the forecasted highs for Durham this weekend never breaks 48 degrees.

This opening series against Duke will be one of the tougher battles for the Hoyas this year.

Despite the strength of their opponent, first-year Head Coach Pete Wilk is not overly concerned with their opening adversary.

“They’re young and inexperienced, and we’re young and inexperienced,” Wilk said. He did voice his regret over the snow-ridden weather that has prohibited his team from practicing outdoors.

Despite lack of outdoor practice time, the Hoyas will need to fall into form quickly, as this season’s schedule boasts a much stronger caliber of opponents than in years past. Soon after his induction as head coach, Wilk revamped the team’s schedule, weeding out some of the cupcakes and adding several tougher opponents such as George Mason, Yale, Air Force and Navy in place of teams like Hayward and Menlo.

“I believed we needed to face better competition in order to improve as a program,” Wilk said. He went on to state that he feels that this year’s squad is more than capable of rising to the challenge.

“We have a much better chemistry on the team this year, and I think that will serve us well,” he said.

Following the 1999 season, which saw the Hoyas compile a dismal 18-34 record, 2-24 in the Big East, Georgetown returns only 15 players from their 27-man roster. Wilk hopes that these holes will be plugged by the influx of new talent.

Topping the list of new faces are starting infielders Matt Carullo and Jason Boice. Hailing from Oakton, Va., Carullo, a 6-foot 175-pound freshman has locked down the starting role at shortstop while, Boice, 5-foot-10 175-pound, a freshman from Glastonbury, Conn., has been mentioned by Wilk as a possible starter this season at third base.

Wilk also spoke highly of junior outfielder/pitcher Jim Vankoski. A transfer from Stanford, the 6-foot southpaw will be the third man in the pitching rotation as well as a member of the starting outfield.

While far from a new recruit, junior Eric Santana will rejoin the team this season after a seven-year hiatus from the team. After a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, a marriage, and his first child, Santana rejoins the Hoyas at age 26. Wilk figures Santana, one of this year’s co-captains, to spend time in the starting line up at both first and third base.

Joining Santana as co-captains are senior Josh Corman and junior pitcher Matt Arizin. Corman, the team’s only senior, is a four-year veteran and has started at second base since his freshman year.

“Corman’s a kid that’s got a chance to play at the next level,” Wilk said.

Last year Corman started all 52 games and contributed 39 runs scored, the highest on the team, and tied for third with 49 hits. Corman also provided the majority of the power for the Hoyas with his team leading six home runs.

Arizin, a 6-foot-3 lefty, will be the No. 2 man in the pitching rotation behind junior Randy Erwin. Arizin will look to improve from last year’s 4-5 record and 7.92 ERA in 55.2 innings pitched, while Erwin comes off a season featuring a dubious 3-10 record and slightly better 5.17 ERA over 78.1 innings.

With Erwin, Arizin and Vankoski, having secured the top three slots in the rotation, four other players are battling to be the fourth and fifth starters. Sophomore P.J. Martinez, freshman Andrew Lingg, freshman Patrick Salviti and sophomore Eric Sutton, all right-handers, are vying for the remaining spots. Wilk has however mentioned Sutton as a possible candidate for the starting job at first base as well.

Filling the role of closer for the Hoyas will be right-handed sophomore Tony Pina. In 18 appearances last year, Pina amassed a record of 3-1 with a 3.74 ERA and averaged more than a strikeout an inning (25 K’s in 21.2 innings). In addition, his strikeout to walk ratio was roughly three to one.

Junior Pat Wade will don the pads and make up the second half of the battery behind the plate. Coming off a season in which he batted .260 in 104 at bats, Wilk pointed to Wade as an integral part on the Hoya’s 2000 squad.

Roving the outfield will be junior Marc Carlini, sophomore Jon Blodgett and junior Brian Cassese. Carlini started his first two years on the team but has been sidelined numerous times by injuries. Last season he appeared in 37 games batting .267 with 20 runs scored and 14 RBI. Meanwhile, Blodgett appeared in 40 games and concluded his season with an average of .238 in 100 at bats. Cassese, on the other hand, shone brightly in his sophomore season, connecting for 40 hits to end the season with a .336 average, the third highest on the team (second highest of players with more than 100 AB).

The goals are clear for this year’s Hoya squad – cut back on the runs allowed and score more of their own. Last year, the Hoyas were out scored 450-297, and almost 100 of those runs allowed by the Hoyas were unearned. Wilk has set a high standard for this team, but he refuses to get ahead of himself.

“We have to walk before we can run,” Wilk said. “We don’t have any number goals this year. We need to focus on the little things.”

He did state, however, that he wanted his team to “compete” in the Big East this year, as last season he felt the team never performed up to par for the conference.

Following this weekend’s still-in-question doubleheader with Duke, the Hoyas travel to Williamsburg, Va., to take on William and ary, before returning to Washington to play host to James Madison Feb. 16. The Hoyas will start Big East play Mar. 18 with a doubleheader against Rutgers.

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