With its walk-off 8-7 win Wednesday night, Georgetown’s baseball team (20-17, 3-3 Big East) extended its win streak to four games by sweeping the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (13-26, 11-7 MEAC) in a doubleheader. The team now sits three games above .500, exactly where Head Coach Pete Wilk wanted it to be.
“I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way, but we’re a good baseball team. I expect to be over .500 with this squad and the talent that we have on the field,” Wilk said. “Any time you put a four-game winning streak together is good. I don’t care who you’re playing.”
Following a decisive 10-1 victory over Stony Brook (20-12, 9-2 American East) on Sunday, the Hoyas beat a weak Coppin State team (3-31-2, 2-16 MEAC) on Tuesday thanks to an impressive performance that affirmed Wilk’s confidence in his team. Four Georgetown pitchers, including sophomore starter Nick Leonard, combined to limit Coppin State to just one hit and four walks. On offense, a season-high 22 hits — including at least one by every starter — led the way to an easy victory.
The Hoyas followed up that win with a much less convincing performance against University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the first of a pair of seven-inning games played Wednesday. Georgetown jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 2nd and did not trail for the rest of the contest, but also never led by more than one run until its last at-bat. A pair of runs in the bottom of the 6th resulted in a final score of 5-2.
All five RBIs went to the 7-8-9 hitters in Georgetown’s lineup, and the 1-3 spots combined to go 0-10 in the game. For Wilk, the ability of the bottom lineup to produce when top hitters do not is crucial in putting together a winning season.
“[Junior outfielder] Evan Ryan and [redshirt sophomore second baseman] Charlie Dillon had four two-out RBIs. That’s tremendous,” Wilk said. “Nights like this when [junior catcher Nick Collins] struggles, good teams have others to pick them up.”
While Georgetown’s offense in Wednesday’s first game gave the Blue and Gray valuable insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, it needed sixth-inning runs to jumpstart a six-run comeback in the second half of the day’s doubleheader. The Hoyas trailed 7-2 after redshirt senior pitcher Jack Vander Linden and senior pitcher Matt Brown combined to allow seven runs in 5.1 innings pitched.
The comeback did not include a single extra base hit. Singles, walks, errors and bunts led to six runs over the last two innings for the Hoyas.
“We can’t sit back and wait for somebody to hit the ball out of the yard. It’s not who we are. … That’s today’s college baseball game, especially on this club with us. You’ve got to manufacture runs, and that’s what we do,” Wilk said.
Manufacturing runs is exactly what Georgetown did in the bottom of the 7th to complete the walk-off victory. The Hoyas only hit the ball out of the infield once on their way to three runs and a final score of 8-7.
A bunt by freshman outfielder Jake Bernstein with runners on the corners and one out plated one and advanced the game-winning run into scoring position. Bernstein’s bunt was one of the key plays in the inning.
“[Bernstein’s bunt] was [Coach Wilk’s] call. It put some pressure on the defense. They had a pitcher on the mound who was a little suspect fielding his position, so it put some pressure on him,” Dillon said.
The pressure on the defense paid off. The Hawks committed five errors in the second half of the doubleheader, including two by redshirt sophomore shortstop Jordan Martin in the bottom of the 7th. The walk-off run scored on the second of his errors. Georgetown had four errors in total Wednesday, with a fifth being taken off the board after the game.
“I think both teams were a little tired. Playing two games, you go balls to the wall in the first game and then have to come out and play another one,” Dillon said.
With the two wins, Georgetown improved to a 20-17 record and 3-0 on the season against UMES. With an upcoming three game away series against a struggling Xavier team (10-31, 1-8 Big East), the Hoyas will look to continue to build ontheir performances during the week.
“[The wins] feel pretty good, man. That’s what you want, to put together a winning record. We didn’t exactly play well the second game today, but we pulled it out. That’s what good teams do, so we’re happy about it,” Dillon said.