March Madness was not the only source of drama for the Villanova and Georgetown athletic teams this weekend, as the two schools’ softball teams squared off in a three-game series at Guy Mason Field this past weekend. The Georgetown softball team won two out of three games against Villanova in a dramatic fashion during its first series of Big East play.
The Hoyas (12-15, 2-1 Big East) clawed their way back from a significant deficit in game one. Though they led 2-1 in the early innings, the Wildcats (8-13, 1-2 Big East) shot out to a 7-2 lead by the fifth. When Georgetown failed to capitalize on its opportunities in the sixth inning, it seemed that the game was essentially over. The Hoyas would have to score six runs to win.
And they did just that.
“One of the things that we’ve been talking about as a team is just believing in each other, staying tough and being willing to play the game hard. And I think in that last inning, we just believed,” Head Coach Pat Conlan said.
The Hoyas’ rally began with a two-RBI double from junior second baseman Samantha Giovanniello, who later came around to score, bringing the Blue and Gray within three. Another run came in on a groundout, and with two on and two out, sophomore first baseman Alessandra Gargicevich-Almeida hit a walk-off single to left field, bringing in two runs and completing the six-run comeback.
“In the middle of it, we just knew that we could do this,” Conlan said. “I think we just proved to ourselves that we can do anything at any time.”
But Georgetown couldn’t sustain that momentum for the second game that immediately followed. The score was 0-0 until the fourth inning when Villanova scored two runs, followed by two more in the fifth.
The Wildcats continued their roll into the sixth inning with another four runs and won 8-0 after the Hoyas could not respond with a comeback.
“I think they had a great pitching effort. I think [Villanova’s sophomore pitcher] Brette Lawrence threw a fantastic game against us and we could just never put anything together,” Conlan said. “And I’ll tell you what, I think Villanova has some great hitters through their lineup, so they were a tough team.”
Following the ups and downs of the weekend, Georgetown looked like an entirely different team in the rubber game on Sunday.
The Hoyas jumped ahead early, scoring one run in the first inning and adding two more in the second to build a solid lead against the same pitcher who had dominated them the previous afternoon.
“Anytime you can get on the board first, it just sets the tone,” Conlan said. “I knew [senior pitcher Megan Hyson] was going to throw a good game today by the first inning we had, and I knew we just needed to give her a couple of runs for support, and she would do the rest.”
With the lead, Hyson pitched the Hoyas through five innings with the score 4-1 in their favor.
“It makes it a lot easier especially if you’re ahead because then you can go after certain batters,” Hyson said.
But Villanova threatened Georgetown’s lead in the sixth, scoring two runs as the Hoyas made two costly defensive errors. Georgetown got out of the jam and scored another run of its own in the bottom of the inning to make the score 5-3.
“Picking up that fifth run in the sixth inning was huge,” Conlan said.
The Wildcats scored one more run in the seventh inning, but the game ended on a line out to first base as the Hoyas took the win and the series.
“We just like to make our games a little more exciting than I like them,” Conlan said. “But I think at the end of the day, we just had to keep our composure and make the right pitches and settle ourselves down defensively.”
Hyson picked up her ninth win of the season, striking out four while helping her own effort by tallying three hits and two RBIs. Freshman left fielder Theresa Kane had two hits while scoring two runs.
While Georgetown still needs to find the consistency that will help it avoid situations like the eight-run deficit in game two, the series victory puts them in a good spot as they begin conference play and seek a berth in the Big East tournament.
“It’s really hard to sweep a team in conference, so your goal is to always just win the series,” Conlan said. “If we can come away with two wins every weekend, we’re going to be in a really good place at the end of the year. And that’s our focus.”
The Hoyas’ next game is against Drexel (7-7, 1-1 Colonial Athletic Association) at Washington National’s Youth Academy on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.