With runners on first and third in the bottom of the first inning, graduate designated hitter Ubaldo Lopez stepped up to the plate. Having already converted his first home run of the new season in Georgetown’s opening day victory just two days prior, it was no surprise when Lopez drilled the first pitch he saw deep to left-center field for his second, batting in 3 runs in the process. This catalyzed a 5-run first inning, from which the Hoyas would never look back.
After its record-setting 32-win 2022 season, the Georgetown University men’s baseball team (3-1) returned to action with gusto, picking up its 2023 campaign right where it left off with a 2-1 series victory over Presbyterian College (1-2) to notch its first opening weekend series win since 2012.
The Hoyas struck first in the series opener when graduate center fielder and leadoff hitter Zaid Walker tripled deep to right-center field and was brought home by a single driven right up the middle from junior outfielder Jake Hyde, giving Georgetown the early 1-0 advantage. The lead would not last for long though, as Presbyterian’s bats came alive in the third. Center fielder Jay Wetherington doubled for 2 RBIs and first baseman Dalton Reeves singled for 1, leaving Georgetown in a 3-1 deficit that it faced for much of the game.
The Hoyas let it go down to the wire, but they rallied back in dramatic fashion to win the game, sparked by a solo home run in the eighth inning from none other than Lopez, who picked up right where he left off from his record-setting 19-home run campaign last season. Junior second baseman Michael Eze singled for the second run of the inning, and in the ninth, an errant attempt to pick off graduate third baseman Cam Meyer at second base allowed Meyer to steal third. This put him in prime position to reach home when graduate left fielder and transfer arrival Marco Castillo popped a sacrifice fly to left field, the cherry on top of an outstanding team win by the Hoyas.
Graduate pitcher Jordan Yoder was credited with the win after two dominant innings of relief, holding Presbyterian scoreless down the stretch while striking out four of the seven batters he faced, including three straight at the top of the ninth.
Georgetown Head Coach Edwin Thompson, now in his third season, praised the team’s resilience in its opening day victory in a Georgetown Athletics press release.
“The guys just battled all game,” Thompson told Georgetown Athletics. “We really had such great energy as a group and we just never quit.”
In the second game of the series, the Hoyas fell behind early after a 3-run third inning from Presbyterian, which included a run scored from a wild pitch that flew between the legs of sophomore catcher Owen Carapellotti. However, last season’s Big East Freshman of the Year was not fazed. Carapellotti led the way for the Hoyas offensively, batting 2-4 with a solo home run in the fourth inning. Meyer also continued his strong play to start the season with a home run of his own in the seventh inning, but the Hoyas never managed to break through, ultimately falling short 5-2. Despite allowing 11 hits, Georgetown’s pitchers tallied a respectable 13 strikeouts, including 4 from graduate reliever Collin Garner in 1.2 innings of relief.
The final matchup of the series again saw Georgetown get off to a strong start. After Lopez’s 3-run homer, graduate shortstop Austin Kretzschmar singled for his first RBI of the season. Meanwhile, impact first-year left fielder Cody Bowker batted in another RBI in his first-ever collegiate at-bat, an electric start to his promising Georgetown career. Bowker also displayed his defensive prowess, preventing another run from being scored in the second by delivering a pinpoint throw from left field to home.
Presbyterian managed to score the occasional run, but Georgetown remained in control for the rest of the game, cruising to a 5-3 victory. The Hoyas tapped into their bullpen early after sophomore starting pitcher Matthew Sapienza gave up 2 of Presbyterian’s 3 runs in the first three innings, but it proved to be a successful winning formula.
Yoder was again credited with the win, adding 2 more strikeouts without relinquishing a hit in 1.1 innings pitched. Graduate pitcher Tyler Mead earned Georgetown’s first save of the season, pitching the final 1.2 innings with 2 strikeouts as well. Both graduate students are looking to be key contributors for Georgetown’s bullpen moving forward.
Georgetown went on to defeat the Navy Midshipmen (0-4) 18-10 on the road in a Feb. 21 contest. The Hoyas will next face off against Iona University (1-2) on Feb. 24 in Wilmington, N.C., at 11 a.m.