Despite finishing with a losing record in conference play, the Georgetown baseball team’s 2017 season was marked by several success stories and milestones. Nine seniors and two graduate students embodied the values of hard work and dedication, leading the Hoyas (27-24, 4-11 Big East) to their third straight 25-win season.
Among those leaders were graduate student outfielder Zach Racusin and senior infielder Jake Kuzbel, who were both named to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team for their efforts on and off the field. The award is given to student-athletes who maintain a 3.30 GPA or above while also contributing to their team’s performance.
Racusin has served as one of Georgetown’s most consistent hitters, with a .343 batting average through the team’s first 51 games. Racusin was twice selected to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll and his 72 hits currently lead the conference.
For Kuzbel, highlights from the season included collecting four hits on his birthday in a comeback victory against Western Michigan (20-26, 9-12 MAC), winning the Big East Player of the Week Award for the first time in his career and notching his 100th career RBI and 200th career hit as a Hoya.
Most notably, however, Kuzbel maintained an on-base streak for 44 consecutive games throughout the season, the second-longest such streak in the country until it ended with an 0-3 effort against Butler on May 15.
“He’s a great kid with the right priorities,” Head Coach Pete Wilk said of Kuzbel. “He’s had some challenges, he’s had some injuries — certainly a lot of injuries he’s had to play through. He played a lot of positions for us in his four years here, always trying to make sure his bat stayed in the lineup.”
Senior infielder Eric Garza is also enjoying his best year as a Hoya after starting only 22 games last season. To date, Garza is hitting .297 with 12 doubles, three home runs and 25 RBIs. While Garza did not see much playing time to begin the season, the senior capitalized on the opportunities he was given to solidify his role in the everyday lineup.
“I wasn’t playing much earlier in the season; I was just waiting for my opportunity and trying to be a good teammate,” Garza said. “And then I got it, and luckily took advantage of it. It’s just cool trying to help the team, be the best player I can be, the best teammate I can be, and hopefully that helps win games.”
Senior pitchers Simon Mathews and Nick Leonard and senior outfielder Beau Hall were also major contributors to Georgetown’s current winning season. Mathews leads the team with 85 and 1/3 innings pitched and 78 strikeouts, while Leonard ranks first among Georgetown starting pitchers with a 3.61 ERA. Hall has notched three home runs this season, tied for fifth best on the team.
Collectively, one of the Hoyas’ brightest moments came when they defeated No. 15 St. John’s 13-5 on May 6. The Hoyas tallied 13 hits in the contest and capitalized on the Red Storm’s (37-8, 11-4 Big East) four defensive errors to defeat the Big East powerhouse. The win, marked by a potent offense, solid defense and great starting pitching illustrated the strengths of Georgetown’s 2017 team.
Currently, Georgetown’s record remains 27-24 and 4-11 in the Big East, as the Blue and Gray face UMBC and then Xavier in a three-game series to conclude the 2017 regular season.
Although the conference play results have been disappointing for the Hoyas, their season was far from a failure. Terrific talent from position players and pitchers alike, coupled with the leadership qualities illustrated by the team’s nine seniors and two graduate students, combined to create a successful season with even more yet to be achieved.