A chilly Carolina morning provided the backdrop to a rough start that freshman pitcher Kevin Superko wishes he could get back.
“[During] the first inning, I was a little too excited,” Superko said. “I walked the leadoff guy.”
From there it would have been easy for doubt to creep into the psyche of the young arm from Wellesley, Mass. The Hoyas had dropped their first two contests of the season the day before — one to a formidable VCU squad and the other in a heartbreaker to Delaware due to three costly runs in the final inning.
Instead, the resiliency that Superko demonstrated in the following innings eventually came to represent the entire team’s convincing 8-5 performance against Bucknell (1-1) in the Hoyas’ (1-2) first win of their 2015 campaign.
“[Junior catcher] Eric Webber helped calm me down,” Superko said. “Once I settled down, I was able to find the zone and go after hitters.”
Superko’s performance after his talk with Webber reflected his newfound composure as Superko turned down batters with veteran ease, stringing together five scoreless innings.
The Hoyas’ defense supported Superko, as it only made one error throughout the game.
“The defense behind me just kept making plays,” Superko said.
Superko was also helped by Georgetown’s performance at the plate, especially during Georgetown’s seven-run barrage in the fourth inning. Bucknell pitchers junior Andrew Andreychik and senior Xavier Hammond faced twelve Hoya batters and were shellacked for six hits.
After being held scoreless for 17 innings prior, dating back to the team’s season opener against VCU, the Blue and Gray’s offensive revival was largely in part due to another freshman’s success, shortstop Chase Bushor.
“They brought in a left handed reliever [in the fourth inning] and I had been battling all day, having good at-bats,” Bushor said. “He threw me a change up, hung it a bit and I just took a good cut at it.”
Bushor’s line-drive into the outfield with one out and the bases loaded drove in two runs and kept a rally going that would eventually build a lead too big for Bucknell to topple. When the fourth-inning symphony of Hoya bats finally finished, Superko provided the encore in his final outing as he downed three Bison batters with just six pitches en route to his third perfect inning of the day.
From then on, the Hoyas would remain in control and, apart from a late four-run rally in the sixth inning by Bucknell, Georgetown’s lead remained secure. In their last game of the season-opening Wake Forest Invitational, the Hoyas captured their first win and staved off an all-to-familiar 0-3 record that they suffered last year following the same season-opening tournament.
“I thought this win was pretty big,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “We played in this tournament last year and came back 0-3 — that’s a pretty deep hole to climb out of.”
The Hoyas win over a Bucknell team that qualified for the NCAA regionals last year has Wilk feeling particularly good about this year’s prospects. Apart from its better record to start the year, Wilk claims this year’s team is markedly different than that of 2014.
“Anybody currently in a Georgetown uniform should be able to say with clarity that this is one of the best teams [we’ve had] here in a while,” Wilk said. “There’s no question.”
With freshmen like Superko and Bushor stepping up on Saturday, it’s easy to see where some of Wilk’s certainty comes from. Through the first three games, team captains are already beginning to acknowledge the impact the underclassmen have had on the rest of the squad.
“We’ve got a pretty competitive nature as team with a lot of young guys contending for spots,” senior captain Ryan Busch said. “We need [the underclassmen’s] contributions, but we also need that competitive element on the team.”
Already one win ahead of where they were at this point last year, The Hoyas will attempt to continue fostering an atmosphere of improvement in order to build on the win over Bucknell. Their next matchup will take place later this week when they take on cross-town rival George Washington (1-1) on Feb. 18 on the Colonials’ home field.