After starting the weekend with a monstrous 13-2 win Friday, the Hoyas (11-9) dropped the remaining two games of their series against George Washington (6-12) in heartbreaking fashion. On Saturday, Georgetown saw a slim 2-1 lead slip away, leading to a loss in the 10th inning. Sunday’s game went to extra innings after a clutch hit from senior catcher Kevin Johnson, but the Blue and Gray ultimately fell in the 14th.
Friday afternoon, the Hoyas put up double-digit runs for the seventh time this season, supporting a lights-out pitching performance from junior Neal Dennison.
The first five innings saw little action by both offenses, though the Colonials did manage to run in the second inning. With Dennison spinning a gem on the mound, the offense finally arrived in the top half of the sixth. An RBI double from redshirt junior infielder Mike Garza and a two-run homer from Johnson put the Hoyas on top, 3-1, but they were not done. Over the next three innings, the Blue and Gray would plate eight more runners.
In the seventh, the offensive onslaught continued. Junior outfielder Justin Leeson, senior outfielder Rand Ravnaas, graduate student catcher Jim Laufer and Johnson each drove in a run before the scoring spree was capped off with a three-run bases-loaded double from junior infielder Danny Poplawski. Ravnaas and Garza added two more runs in the eighth, and an RBI from freshman first baseman Nick Gianforte in the ninth put the Blue and Gray comfortably ahead, 13-1.
Dennison threw eight innings and gave up only one run before being relieved in the ninth by junior James Heine. Over the course of his dominant day on the mound, Dennison scattered five hits, struck out five batters and walked only one. Heine surrendered a run in the ninth, but that didn’t stop the Blue and Gray from finishing off the easy 13-2 victory.
Like Friday, Saturday’s matchup was also a pitching duel. Junior Thomas Polus took the hill for the Hoyas and was a fine follow-up act for Dennison. Over 7.2 innings, Polus gave up only two runs while fanning seven.
GW got on the board first in the second inning, but a two-run shot by Poplawski put the Hoyas on top, 2-1. Polus was unable to hold the lead, though, as the Colonials scraped the tying run across in the eighth.
The game remained deadlocked until the top of the 10th, when GW scored two runs off of freshman Matt Hollenbeck and redshirt senior Pablo Vinent to pull ahead, 4-2. In the bottom half of the inning, the Hoyas failed to mount any comeback. The normally potent offense only managed one hit over the final four frames, cementing the 4-2 loss.
In the series finale on Sunday, the Blue and Gray saw their offensive woes disappear, but their pitchers faltered.
The Colonials and the Hoyas traded runs over the first seven innings, and Georgetown entered the eighth trailing, 6-4. Senior Will Harris was the starting pitcher for the Hoyas, surrendering four runs before sophomore Jack Vander Linden came on in relief and yielded two more. Vinent relieved Vander Linden in the seventh, throwing the first of three shutout innings. Heading into the ninth, though, Georgetown still trailed by two and appeared to be finished after starting the inning with two groundouts.
Ravnaas stepped up to the plate and was able to poke a single through the right side. Garza followed with a line-drive single to right field, setting the stage for Johnson once again. Hitless thus far, Johnson cranked a double to right center to tie the game and send it into extras.
With the game on the line, Head Coach Pete Wilk turned to junior reliever Charles Steinman to keep the Colonials off the board. Steinman threw four innings of almost flawless relief before finally running into trouble in the 14th frame. A leadoff double was followed by a string of singles and bunts as the Colonials pushed two runs across against the previously dominant Steinman.
Trailing by two in the bottom of the 14th, Georgetown would again need some magic. Poplawski and sophomore outfielder Max Friedman each reached on singles, but neither was pushed across the plate, giving Georgetown an 8-6 loss.
The Blue and Gray get one more game to correct their mistakes before heading into conference play against USF this weekend. The final nonconference game is at George Mason at 3 p.m. today.