The Georgetown baseball team took two out of three games from Grambling State on the road this past weekend. The Hoyas (11-13) won Saturday’s game 6-1 against the Tigers (7-20) and in Sunday’s doubleheader, they lost the first game 8-2 before winning 5-3 in the nightcap to take the series.
Sophomore pitcher Matt Smith led the Hoyas on Saturday, giving up only one run while striking out eight batters in a career-high eight innings pitched. Smith had set his previous career high in his last outing with 7 2/3 innings pitched.
“[Smith] keeps getting better every week. Towson was a good test for him,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “Grambling was a decent test.”
Smith was helped out by senior first baseman Steve Anderson, who had two base hits, including a three RBI triple to break a 1-1 tie; in the top of the eighth inning. Anderson, who has been Georgetown’s best hitter this season, had five hits and five RBIs in the three-game series against Grambling State, increasing his team-leading RBI total to 21.
“He continues to produce when the lights are on,” Wilk said. “One of the things about a good leader is he steps up when the team needs him, and Steve did that all week for us. He’s been great. I could not be happier with him. He’s done a great job of leading this team, and he’s come up with some huge hits.”
After his weekend performance, Anderson was named Big East Player of the Week.
“It’s pretty cool,” Anderson said. “It’s a little surreal so far, but it’s nice to add that to my name as my last year comes to a close. But I’m [happier] with the two wins this week and hopefully moving on to conference play.”
In the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Hoyas could not get much going offensively, scoring only two runs while freshman pitcher David Ellingson gave up six. He was replaced after five innings by freshman pitcher Chris Giordano, who allowed two more runs in the losing effort. The only offense the Hoyas could muster was a run-scoring groundout by junior shortstop Ryan Busch and an RBI single from junior catcher A.C. Carter. Outside of that, the Hoyas were stifled by Grambling State’s senior pitcher Colby Martin, who threw a complete game.
Georgetown was able to turn things around in the second game of the doubleheader, despite the loss of freshman pitcher Nick Leonard after facing only two batters. However, three relief pitchers combined to give up only two runs in nine innings. Most important was junior pitcher Will Brown, who came in to pitch 6 1/3 innings of solid relief. Brown had previously been a starter, but after a few shaky starts, Head Coach Pete Wilk decided to put him in the bullpen. The moved paid off on Sunday as Brown shut down Grambling State.
“His outing was huge,” Wilk said. “I think he needed it and I think we needed it. He pitched great on Sunday. He threw the ball very well and I was very happy to see that. I don’t know how we’re going to approach the rotation yet.”
Anderson once again led the offense. He hit a two-run homerun in the first inning, driving in sophomore catcher Nick Collins, who had reached base on an error. Collins and Anderson have combined to produce a significant portion of the team’s offense this season, and the final game of the Grambling State series was no different. Although he did not have a base hit, Collins still drove in three runs. He had an RBI which plated Busch in the third inning and drove in freshman second baseman Jake Kuzbel twice with productive outs.
“I think that me and Nick being able to put a spark in the lineup is huge,” Anderson said. “It’s great to have a hitter like Nick in front of you, and the guys behind me have been doing a great job as well. But me and him in the lineup next to each other really allows us both to see good pitches because they can’t walk Nick to get to me. It’s been nice to have Nick in front of me. He’s a great player and we’re just seeing the ball well right now. Hopefully, that continues to happen in conference play.”
Georgetown’s next game is Tuesday against George Washington at 3 p.m., whom it beat 7-6 earlier in the season. After that, it moves on to Big East play next weekend.
“I think that our year so far has been a little up and down, but we’ve really grown from the first day,” Anderson said. “We’re kind of a young team. I hope we see that combination of everyone coming together and uniting under the same goal of making the Big East tournament and hopefully winning it. I think the guys have realized that goal and are putting everything together.”
Although Georgetown is midway through the season, Wilk is not willing to commit to his starting rotation.
“Unfortunately, we are halfway through our season and I’m not sure who is going to start,” Wilk said. “That’s not a good spot to be in but unfortunately it’s where we are sitting.”