Georgetown’s baseball team (16-15, 3-3 Big East) lost a close game to Villanova (13-17, 1-2 Big East) in the final matchup of a three-game series on Sunday, but earned victories in the first two games in Philadelphia to win the series.
The Hoyas’ bats were alive to open the weekend against their Big East opponents, as Georgetown scored nine runs in the first three innings on Friday.
“It was huge, especially playing away, to get that win, especially with the lead we had, putting up all those runs,” sophomore center fielder Beau Hall said.
Senior pitcher Matt Hollenbeck earned the win in the opener by pitching 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs, one earned, and striking out two. Junior pitcher Tim Davis came on in relief and notched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless ball.
“[Hollenbeck] pitched great,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “His command is getting better and better each outing and he’s got stuff that’s going to win at this level.”
On Friday, freshman second baseman Chase Bushor led the offense with three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored while junior catcher Nick Collins contributed two hits and two runs scored. Sophomore third baseman Jake Kuzbel reached base four times with three walks and also crossed the plate twice.
The Hoyas scored four runs in the top of the first and five more in the top of the third, opening up a comfortable lead. Bushor’s RBI double, senior shortstop Ryan Busch’s two-run triple and Hall’s three-run home run highlighted the offensive outburst.
“Early in the count I was just looking for a fastball to drive, and then our two-strike approach has been working really well for all of us as a team,” Hall said.
Villanova scored two unearned runs in the third and another in the fourth but Georgetown’s pitching held the Wildcats in check to seal the 9-3 win.
“[The pitching staff] went out there and pitched,” Hall said. “They did what they needed to do.”
In the second game of the series on Saturday, junior pitcher Matt Smith got the starting nod, going five-plus innings and giving up two runs on five hits. Sophomore pitcher Simon Mathews came on in relief and earned the win with three innings of two-run ball before fellow sophomore pitcher David Ellingson closed out the game by striking out two in the ninth, earning his sixth save of the season.
The Hoyas again scored the first runs of the game by recording three runs in the top of the second.
After pitching five shutout innings, Smith gave up two runs in the bottom of the sixth before Mathews came on in relief and got out of the jam.
The Hoyas picked up one more run in the top of the eighth, but the Wildcats scored two off of Mathews in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at four.
Georgetown’s hitters regained momentum in the ninth when Hall started a rally with a one-out triple. After Hall scored on a single from freshman leftfielder Austin Shirley, the Hoyas recorded another run to give them a 6-4 lead that would hold up until the end of the game.
Defense defined this game, as the Hoyas recorded three double plays and Collins threw out a potential base stealer and picked off a runner at second. Kuzbel also made a diving catch on a line drive down the line to end the eighth inning.
“Any series win on the road in this conference is huge,” Wilk said.
The last game of the series on Sunday was closer than the two that preceded it. Despite the 6-5 loss, Collins and Carter each recorded two hits and two RBIs.
Freshman pitcher Kevin Superko started on the mound and went three innings, giving up three runs. Senior pitcher Will Brown, who was given the loss, also gave up three runs in relief while Davis pitched just over two innings of scoreless relief.
Villanova’s bats struck before Georgetown’s for the first time in the series, scoring two runs in the first two innings.
The Hoyas responded with three runs in the top of the third before the Wildcats tied up the game in the bottom of that inning.
Villanova recorded three runs to take then extend its lead, 6-3.
Georgetown took back two runs in the seventh inning to cut the deficit, but the Hoyas stranded several runners in the final innings and were unable to complete the comeback.
Despite the Sunday loss, Georgetown, Villanova’s first Big East foe of the season, handed its conference rival a losing series to start its conference games.
Up next, Georgetown will return home for a seven-game homestand. On Tuesday, the team will face George Mason (14-18-1, 5-7 Atlantic 10) at 7 p.m.