Georgetown baseball jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Navy Wednesday afternoon but was unable to hold the slim advantage and slumped to their seventh consecutive loss. The Hoyas’ record stands at 11-14 after the 6-3 defeat, while the Midshipmen improved to 11-12.
Sophomore pitcher Alex Baker started for the Blue and Gray, giving up just five hits and striking out three over five scoreless innings. The Georgetown offense mustered little in support of his effort though, going scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning.
In that frame, though, the Hoya hitters finally picked their starter up. Senior catcher Nick Geary led off with a single, got to second on a bunt single by junior left fielder Paul Bello and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from senior second baseman Andy Lentz. A wild pitch allowed Geary to score the game’s first run before junior centerfielder Justin Leeson laced a single up the middle to score Bello.Leeson then stole second as the Hoyas threatened to break the game wide open, but the visitors were able to escape without any further damage.
The Hoyas’ lead was short-lived though, as Navy jumped on Georgetown’s relievers in their next at bat. Junior James Heine was the first Hoya out of the bullpen, and loaded the bases with no outs before being pulled by Head Coach Pete Wilk for Matt Hollenbeck. The freshman couldn’t escape the jam, giving up a bases-clearing double to the first manbases-clearing double to the first man he faced. A wild pitch, walk, run-scoring double play and another walk made it 4-2, Midshipmen, and Wilkreplaced Hollenbeck with redshirt junior Billy Cosmopolus.
Cosmpolus fared marginally better, allowing the inherited runner to score, along with one runner of his own. When the disastrous inning finally ended, the trio of relievers had surrendered six runs on three hits, three walks and a hit batter.
Sophomore pitcher Jack Vander Linden came on to relieve Cosmopolus in the top of the seventh for the Hoyas and stopped the bleeding, pitching three scoreless innings after the bullpen’s sixth-inning implosion. Over his three innings on the mound, Vander Linden allowed only one hit and struck out three batters.
The Blue and Gray offense could muster little in response to Navy’s sudden offensive explosion, although senior right fielder Rand Ravnaas scored in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to three when senior designated hitter Kevin Johnson grounded into a double play with men on the corners and no outs.
The Hoyas went down in order in the ninth, as Navy junior pitcher Joel Rinehart picked up his second save of the year. The Blue and Gray have now lost seven in a row and nine of their last 10.
This losing streak could not come at a worse time, as the Hoyas now enter an important part of their schedule with series against conference opponents Rutgers, Louisville and Villanova all looming.
The first of these series starts tonight, as Rutgers (12-10, 2-1 Big East) travels to face Georgetown in a three-game set at Shirley Povich Field.
If the Hoyas want to snap their losing streak, the offense has to break out of its recent funk. The same lineup that scored double-digit runs in five straight games early in the season has been outscored, 55-22, over the last seven games.
The Scarlet Knights’ lineup is productive from top to bottom, so if the Hoyas want any shot of winning they will need to score more than a few runs in support of their pitching staff.
So far this season, Georgetown pitching has followed a similar course as the lineup: They either throw lights-out or throw batting practice. If the team can find a happy medium and get quality, deep performances from their starters and avoid giving up big innings, then they should have no problem procuring a W. If not, expect this nasty losing streak to go on a little longer.