In its first game back at home after a weeklong, nine-game trip to Florida, the Georgetown baseball team (9-6) showed no hint of post-vacation blues Wednesday, as a scintillating offensive start led to a 7-4 victory over UMBC.
The Hoyas, after experiencing a relatively disappointing start to the season, seem to have righted the ship in Florida before the team begins the core of its schedule Wednesday.
Prior to the Florida trip, Head Coach Pete Wilk claimed that he would be ecstatic if the team finished 6-3 or 5-4 on the week. The Hoyas met their coach’s expectation, bringing their record 6-3 thanks in part to an epic 15-inning barnburner win over Central Michigan on Sunday in which centerfielderJustin Leeson hit a walk-off single that scored third baseman Trevor Matern
That last-gasp win over the Chippawas, Wilk said in a press release, marked one of his most exciting as a coach.
After experiencing such an emotional high, the Blue and Gray returned to the homey confines of Shirley Povich Field in Rockville, Md., for their second home game of the season. Georgetown was only able to muster one run in its home opener against George Mason Feb. 27, but it found offensive production much easier to come by in the early going on Wednesday.
In the first inning, singles from Matern and Leeson put runners on the corners before second baseman Danny Poplawski and leftfielder Corbin Blakely combined to score three runs on two singles to give the Hoyas a 3-0 lead. Georgetown tacked two more on in the second, as a Matern double and a sacrifice fly from Leeson scored shortstop Curtiss Pomeroy and designated hitter Eric Webber, respectively. With the hosts nursing a seemingly comfortable lead, it was up to freshman pitcher Matt Smith, making his second start of the season, to hold on.
After pitching five scoreless innings, Smith struggled in the sixth, as UMBC scored four runs to nearly close the gap completely. However, the Retrievers could not get that last run, and Smith made his case to become Georgetown’s permanent fourth starter by lasting seven innings and improving his record to 2-0.
With their lead in jeopardy in the sixth inning, the Hoyas responded immediately, stringing two singles together before Justin Abbott scored on a wild pitch. They’d tack one more on in the eighth, as right fielder Christian Venditti drove in a pinch-runner on a single to raise his team-leading RBI total to 14.
In the ninth, closer Charlie Steinman created some drama when he plunked a hitter before UMBC loaded the bases with two outs on a walk and a wild pitch, putting the tying run on the plate. Steinmanrallied, though, and struck out Vince Corbi to end the game and earn his fourth save.
Georgetown will look to keep its two-game win streak going this weekend when it faces Princeton at home in its first conventional three-game series of the season. The Tigers have struggled to start the season, going 1-7 with most of their losses coming by margins. The Hoyas are hoping that the hitting of Leeson (.404 batting average, 12 RBIs) and the rest of the offense, along with solid pitching from likely starters Jack Vander Linden (1-0), Matt Hollenbeck (0-3) and Thomas Polus (1-1) will add to Princeton’s misery.
Georgetown will play Princeton at Shirley Povich Field at 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.