The Georgetown baseball team is preparing to open its season with a trip to North Carolina to participate in the Wake Forest Invitational this weekend. Georgetown will face Wake Forest, Virginia Military Institute and University of Maryland-Baltimore County over a period of three days.
The team will look to repeat the success it saw last season when it made the Big East championships for the first time in 29 years. With the departure of senior record-setting catcher and designated hitter Nick Collins to the MLB draft, Georgetown will look to gain more consistent offensive contributions from the entire lineup. Collins, an eighth-round pick by the Oakland Athletics, was named the season MVP last year after batting .370 with seven home runs.
Senior catcher Eric Webber, one of the team’s three captains, said that there are several players on the roster who have the potential to have extremely successful seasons.
“I think in general we’ll be more consistent all around,” Webber said. “But I think guys like [junior outfielder] Beaux Hall, [sophomore] Michael DeRenzi in the outfield and whoever ends up playing first [base] — whether it’s [junior] Joe Bialkowski, [sophomore] Alex Bernauer, or [sophomore] Bennett Stehr — all those guys have the potential to have pretty good years offensively.”
Head Coach Pete Wilk expressed his confidence in this year’s team, pointing specifically to Georgetown’s depth among its pitchers.
“I think we have a pretty good chance. Nothing’s a given, and it’s a tough league. We lost a lot offensively last year, that’s my concern. But we’ve never had a pitching staff with this kind of depth, and I think we’re going to defend at a high level. And as everybody knows, if you can pitch and catch, you’re going to be in a lot of baseball games. I like where we are,” Wilk said.
One of the strongest members of Georgetown’s pitching staff is senior co-captain Matt Smith. Smith, who was named to the preseason all-Big East Team by a vote of the conference’s coaches, had an ERA of 2.80 last season to go along with a program record 78 strikeouts.
“Obviously, it makes you feel good,” Smith said. “For me, it’s just a sense of understanding around the Big East that I’m someone not to be taken lightly. Personally, I go out and do what I do best, which is pitch. So, it doesn’t really change my outlook. It’s great, but, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean anything for the season. I’ve got to go out and do my job.”
However, the team’s offseason preparation has been made difficult by the recent spate of bad weather in Washington, D.C. Playing at Wake Forest will give Georgetown the opportunity not only to compete, but to play on an actual baseball field— something they’ve been unable to do as of late.
“I mean the goal is obviously to win. It’s been a tough offseason for us, given the weather. I don’t remember the last time we were out on an actual baseball field. I want the team to go out there and compete, give 100 percent, and I think the rest will fall into place,” Smith said.
Wilk also expressed concern over the lack of on-field preparation, explaining that it might have an impact on the team’s defensive play.
“I’m concerned about how we’re going to get our outfield and infield reads off the bat. I think we’re probably, through no fault of anybody’s, going to be a step slower. Eventually, I think that’s going to be one of our great strengths, the ability to play defense. But, these first couple weekends with our lack of ability to play the ball off the bat in practice, it’s bound to show up,” Wilk said.
“It is what it is, and we’re going to go out and compete with the best we have.”
That will be the mantra for the season as the Hoyas look to build on a memorable 2015 campaign.