The Georgetown baseball team dropped two out of three games to Towson University this past weekend, with the first two games at home and the third on the road. The Hoyas (9-12) won Friday’s game 6-2 before losing 10-2 and 8-4 to the Tigers (12-8) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Coming off of back-to-back wins, Georgetown won Friday’s game behind an excellent performance from sophomore pitcher Matt Smith. The Hoyas took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by sophomore catcher Nick Collins and added two more runs in the seventh after Collins stole home and freshman second baseman Jake Kuzbel hit an RBI single. That was more than enough run support for Smith, who gave up only one run in a career high 7 2/3 innings pitched.
“Matt threw very well. We needed that because our pitching staff is pretty banged up right now,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “For him to go deep into a game and give us a chance to win is huge. He’s pitching really well, and I’m really happy with that.”
Saturday’s game did not turn out as well for Georgetown, as it could not create much offensively, scoring only two runs. Freshman pitcher David Ellingson gave up three runs, picking up his first loss in what has been a very promising freshman season. Ellingson, who started the year as a reliever, has been forced into a starting role after the loss of redshirt junior pitcher and staff ace Jack Vander Linden for the season.
“I think with the shape of the staff and the way it is right now, ready or not, I think he’s going to start for us,” Wilk said. “And he’s been throwing the ball really well for us.”
Ellingson was not helped by the bullpen, as sophomore pitcher Felix van der Vaart and freshman pitcher Joseph Bialkowski combined to give up seven more runs. Bullpen struggles were a recurring theme for the Hoyas over the weekend. Relief pitchers combined to give up 11 runs, just one less than the Georgetown offense scored the entire weekend.
“I’m concerned, and it’s not only the bullpen. Our whole pitching staff I’m concerned about,” Wilk said. “It all trickles down, and at some point, like Saturday’s game, it becomes a problem. Somebody had to take it on the chin and that happened to Joe Bialkowski. Unfortunately, we had to leave him in so we were loaded up to go to battle Sunday. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out Sunday. But we’ve got a limited amount of innings, a limited amount of experience.”
In the final game of the series, Georgetown got off to a good start when Kuzbel drove in senior first baseman Steve Anderson to take a quick 1-0 lead in the second inning. However, that lead quickly vanished when junior pitcher Will Brown gave up five runs, two of which were earned, in 3 2/3 innings of relief. Brown’s record for the year dropped to 0-4 with his ERA ballooning to a worrisome 7.66.
“I don’t know if I would say we are worried, but we are concerned that he’s been hit around,” Wilk said. “Will he continue to get the ball? Yes, but I don’t know at what point. Roles are shifting right now on the staff and his might shift as well.”
In a rather quiet offensive series for the Hoyas, two of the lone bright spots were once again Collins and Anderson. Collins, who leads the team with a .337 batting average, had four RBIs over the three games. Anderson added four more RBIs of his own, increasing his team leading total to 16. Those two have led the offense all season, and their impact on Georgetown’s hitting has been huge at times.
“I don’t know if I could describe it. I mean, they are the backbone of what we do offensively. I don’t know where we would be without them,” Wilk said.
The Hoyas continued a disturbing, season-long trend of not recovering from losses this weekend. They have had losing streaks of three, four and three, and currently have a losing streak of two. With Big East play rapidly approaching, Wilk is worried about his team’s consistency.
“We need to limit the self-inflicted damage. If you looked at [Sunday’s] game, five of their eight runs were self-inflicted,” Wilk said. “We walked a guy, hit a guy or made an error that led to runs. We’ve got to reduce those numbers and those mistakes. Our offense isn’t going to put up 10 runs a game, but we should be able to put up enough to win if we can limit our self-inflicted wounds.”