Xavier (14-25, 1-2 Big East) this past weekend, the Georgetown baseball team (18-20, 3-3 Big East) pitched and defended its way to a 2-1 win against crosstown rival George Washington (17-22, 6-3 Big East) Wednesday.
Four different pitchers took the mound Wednesday, including relief pitchers senior Tim Davis and freshman Jack Cushing, who each pitched perfect innings, as well as closer David Ellingson. Sophomore pitcher Jimmy Swad earned his fourth win of the season and pitched two no-hit innings, giving up just one walk.
“The whole pitching staff has taken it upon ourselves to be a little bit better than we had been,” junior pitcher Simon Mathews, who pitched a complete game against Xavier last Saturday, said. “I tried to reset against Xavier, you know, take it easy, be relaxed, and just go out there and play. The whole pitching staff’s been like that. We’ve been throwing well.”
The Hoyas supported their pitchers’ efforts with strong defensive efforts. Junior centerfielder Beau Hall, along with two sophomores shortstop Chase Bushor and second baseman Jake Bernstein, made key plays over the course of the game.
“The defense has been great recently. That’s another example of guys taking it upon themselves to improve and be better,” Mathews said.
After starting the season with mixed results, the team has now won four out of five games and greatly improved its play since getting swept in a three-game series on the road against the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (28-11, 7-2 Southern) in late March. Since then, Georgetown has avoided getting swept in every series and played to its strengths.
“We’re not beating ourselves,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “The last time we beat ourselves down at UNC [Greensboro] in terms of bad pitching or defense. This last little streak we’ve been on, we haven’t beaten ourselves.”
With the Hoyas playing to their strengths and a memorable stretch of games in tow, the team will now head to Indianapolis, Ind., to face off against the Butler Bulldogs (10-27, 1-5 Big East).
“[Butler is] struggling a little bit. But every game in the conference is a dog fight. If you overlook anybody, they’re going to kick you in the butt,” Wilk said. “Offensively, they don’t have a lot of power. … I like our pitching matchup against their hitters.”
While the Bulldogs face a dearth of power hitters and base runners, they do have some strong arms that can pose a threat to Hoyas’ hitter. Butler junior pitcher Jeff Schank currently boasts a 3.2 ERA with 38 strikeouts this season. Georgetown has two players batting well over .300, Bushor and sophomore outfielder Michael DeRenzi. Six other players are batting over .275.
“They do have a couple of pretty damn good arms. I think we’re going to have to scratch for some runs, but overall, I like the matchup,” Wilk added.
Mathews said the team in its current form is aiming to compete in the Big East Tournament.
“We can make some noise in the Big East Tournament if we keep playing the way we are and keep improving,” Mathews said.
Last season, the team finished 0-2 in the Big East tournament, a double-elimination format competition with four of the top seven teams in the conference, based on in-conference record.
Georgetown is currently tied with Villanova (15-21, 3-3 Big East) for third with a 3-3 conference record, putting it in playoff position as of today’s standings.
For now, the Hoyas are focused on their series against the Bulldogs.
“We preach to the team, one game, one inning, one pitch at a time. I’m not looking past this weekend,” Wilk said. “We have a weekend ahead of us that’s going to be a dogfight.”
The series will take place in Indianapolis, the first game will take place on Friday at 3 p.m. and the second on Saturday at 1 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday at 12 p.m.