While most of the country is still feeling the effects of winter, mild-weathered Charleston, S.C., is ready for baseball. This weekend the Hoyas — led by preseason all-Big East outfielder Rand Ravnaas — travel to Charleston to kick off their season with a three-game series against Charleston Southern University.
The Hoyas, who finished last season 23-33, will look to Ravnaas to lead the offensive charge against Charleston Southern. The senior outfielder is fresh off a junior campaign in which he posted a team-high five home runs and .352 batting average, along with 37 RBI and 26 stolen bases.
In order for the Hoyas to hit the ground running like last year, when they started 7-3, they will have to rely on some new faces to compliment Ravnaas’s production. With the graduation of Georgetown career home-run record holder Sean Lamont and Washington Nationals prospect Erick Fernandez, Georgetown has gaping holes in the heart of its lineup.
To fill those holes, sophomore Steve Anderson slides into the first base slot while junior Trevor Matern mans the hot corner.
Despite these changes in the middle of the order, Head Coach Pete Wilk still has a lethal threesome atop the lineup. Besides Ravnaas, the Hoyas return junior outfielder Justin Leeson and redshirt junior shortstop Mike Garza. Garza, a Stanford transfer, had an impressive first year for the Hoyas, leading the team with 39 RBI. Leeson had an equally successful season in his first year of full-time action. Hitting leadoff, Leeson offered an impressive combination of agility and power. The viability of the Georgetown lineup will hinge upon these three bats.
This weekend, the Hoyas should have no problem getting their bats going. Charleston Southern compiled a 29-30 record last season, relying on a potent, yet streaky offense. Although their lineup frequently posted double-digit run totals, the pitching staff struggled keep above-average hitters at bay. This season the Buccaneers return most of their big bats but still lack the dominant starter they so desperately need. In order for Georgetown to take this first weekend series, the pitching staff and bullpen will have stand tall.
To counter the Bucs’ batters, Wilk will turn to junior lefty Thomas Polus on Friday and senior righty Will Harris on Saturday. Sunday’s starter has not been announced, but there is chance that the 6-5 true freshman right-hander Will Brown could make his first career Georgetown start. If the Hoyas are in a bind heading into the ninth, expect them to turn to their redshirt senior closer Pablo Vinent, who posted a dominant 1.94 ERA last season.
If Georgetown pitchers can avoid giving up the big innings that have sunk them in the past, the Hoyas should fare well against a formidable Charleston Southern squad.
First pitch for Friday’s game is slated for 2 p.m. at CSU Ballpark.