After a disappointing start to conference play, the Georgetown baseball team is looking to turn around its season against Creighton this weekend. The Hoyas (12-17, 0-3 Big East) will travel to Omaha, Neb., to play the Bluejays (15-10-1, 0-0 Big East) in what will be the Bluejays’ first conference series as a member of the Big East.
In its last series, Georgetown lost all three games to Xavier. The Hoyas struggled defensively in the series, committing 10 errors so they will try to improve upon this in their upcoming series against the Bluejays, according to Head Coach Pete Wilk.
“We all know we beat ourselves two out of three games, and we’re generally frustrated,” Wilk said. “We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We’ve got to start playing the game better on the defensive side. In practice we worked a lot on defense.”
Meanwhile, Georgetown’s offense, which was expected to be the team’s strength entering the season, needs to be more consistent if it hopes succeed during conference play. One of the keys to the offense is junior shortstop Ryan Busch, who was named to the Big East Honor Roll on Monday after his performance in the Xavier series. In the three games, Busch hit 9-for-18, with six runs scored, five RBIs, three doubles and three stolen bases.
“I’m hoping that he stays hot,” Wilk said. “He’s done a great job at the leadoff spot this season. He’s healthy this year. That’s the difference between last year and this year.”
Senior first baseman Steve Anderson and sophomore catcher Nick Collins have also been a key part of the Hoya offense. Anderson is leading the team with a .337 batting average, three home runs and 24 RBIs. Collins has kept pace with a .336 batting average and 22 RBIs. Wilk has been very pleased with those three players and wants the rest of his team to start producing at a higher level to match them.
“I don’t think it’s up to those three. Those three are doing their job and more,” Wilk said. “I think it’s up to the rest of the lineup. If you ask those guys to do more than they’re capable of, they will get out of their comfort zone. They’ll start to do too much and expand their strike zone and get themselves out. They’re doing a great job so far. I don’t want them to change their game. I want the rest of the lineup doing their job.”
There are several potential players who can give the Hoyas the needed offensive production. Senior outfielder Patrick Camporini, freshman outfielder Beau Hall and freshman second baseman Jake Kuzbel have all helped lead the team this season. If the Hoyas are going to win series, others are going to have to produce.
“I think our guys collectively haven’t been hitting up to their capability,” Wilk said. “I’m not going to put a name on those guys, but they need to step up.”
Previously playing in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Bluejays will be trying to win their first ever Big East conference game this weekend. Two players to keep an eye on are senior outfielder Mike Gerber and sophomore pitcher Matt Warren. Gerber is leading Creighton with six home runs and 24 RBIs, while Warren is 6-0 with a 2.30 ERA.
Starting for Georgetown this weekend will be sophomore pitcher Matt Smith on Friday, junior pitcher Matt Hollenbeck on Saturday and junior pitcher Will Brown on Sunday. Freshman David Ellingson had been starting the second game in the last few series, but Hollenbeck is getting the nod after Ellingson struggled in his last three starts.
“We’re going to make an adjustment there,” Wilk said. “At this point in time in the season, I think that’s what we need to do with the rotation.”
Friday’s game will be played at 6:30 p.m., Saturday’s game will be at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s game will be at 1 p.m.