After opening the season by splitting a set of four games, the Georgetown softball team (2-2) will travel to Spartansburg, S.C., this weekend for a tournament hosted by USC-Upstate.
The Hoyas will open the tournament with a game against UNC-Wilmington (1-1) Friday evening. They face George Mason (1-3) and Howard (0-3) in a doubleheader on Saturday and finish the tournament Sunday against host USC-Upstate (3-0).
After an inconsistent showing last season, the Hoyas hope to get into a better rhythm this year. Georgetown scored a total of 22 runs in the opening tournament at Elon but lacked consistency, being outscored by a total of 15-2 in its two losses.
“Consistency is the key,” Head Coach Pat Conlan said. “Our goal is to bring the same effort, energy and intensity to the field each game.”
Wins by large margins last weekend reinforced the idea that the Blue and Gray’s offense has talent. But they will continue to struggle to win games unless they can bring an elevated level of offensive and defensive toughness to every contest.
Georgetown’s pitching staff will need to mimic its performance in the win against North Carolina Central last Sunday, when three pitchers gave three solid performances contributing to the win.
Senior Mackensey Carter leads Georgetown’s pitching staff. Carter has been a key piece for the Hoyas in all of her seasons on the Hilltop and remains the team’s most consistent pitcher. There are also other options on the pitching staff, but the rotation remains in flux.
“We will spend the next few weeks evaluating our pitching staff so we can develop a solid rotation for Big East play,” Conlan said.
To make up for its uncertainty on the mound, Georgetown’s offense will have to step up. Led by senior infielder Cara Savarese, the Blue and Gray have four players hitting .400 or higher after four games.
In order for the Hoyas to come away with wins this weekend, the offense will need to consistently produce runs and give the pitchers the insurance they need.
“If we make solid contact and put the ball in play, we will be able to put pressure on the defense and make things happen offensively,” Conlan said.
The Hoyas certainly have a chance to improve their record this weekend in South Carolina, facing three teams that have struggled at the start of their seasons.
The most challenging game for the Hoyas this weekend will be against the home team, as the Spartans are off to a 3-0 start. USC-Upstate sophomore pitcher Hannah Alexander was key for the Spartans in all three of their wins and was named the Atlantic Sun Conference pitcher of the week.
The other teams appear to be a step down from the hosts. UNC-Wilmington split a pair last weekend with Georgetown victim North Carolina Central. The Seahawks, however, are an experienced team. Their roster includes seven seniors, including infielder Ashley Shingleton, who blasted two home runs in her squad’s first game.
Crosstown rival Howard should be an easier out for Georgetown. The Bison have yet to win a game this season and have been outscored 25-4 in their three games. George Mason’s record is poor, but it may not adequately reflect their talent. The Patriots kept the games close in two of their three losses.
“I expect that we will be better then we were last weekend,” Conlan said. “This season is a marathon, not a sprint, so it is important that we make progress every time we step out on the field.”
The Hoyas start tonight against UNC-Wilmington at 6 p.m.