Like many of their classmates, the members of the Georgetown softball team (4-18, 0-0 Big East) headed south last week. Unlike their peers, however, the Hoyas enjoyed little rest and relaxation during spring break, playing 10 games in nine days over the course of two tournaments.
The first weekend of break found the Hoyas in Kissimmee, Fla., competing in the Citrus Classic at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex. The Blue and Gray opened the tournament with two straight losses to Illinois State (13-12, 0-0 MVC) and Temple (5-9, 0-0 A-10).
The Hoyas recovered to win two games later in the tournament, a 5-0 shutout over Fairfield (7-4, 0-0MAAC) and a dramatic 6-5 victory over Boston College (4-11, 0-3 ACC). Sophomore pitcher Lauren O’Leary took the mound against Fairfield and didn’t give up a run, pitching a complete game and striking out five.
Against Boston College, Georgetown recorded its most dramatic win of the year to date. The Hoyasjumped out to an early 5-2 lead after two innings, but the Eagles battled back and tied the game at five in the top of the sixth. That set the stage for some late-game drama from freshman SamanthaGiovanniello, who hit a solo home run — the first of her collegiate career — in the bottom half of the inning that would ultimately prove to be the game-winner.
Georgetown then traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for its second tournament of the week, hosted by Coastal Carolina. As has often been the case for the Hoyas this season, the team struggled offensively in South Carolina, scoring just five runs in five games.
The lone bright spot of the second tourney for the Blue and Gray was a 4-2 win over lowly Middle Tennessee State (1-19, 1-1 Sun Belt). Georgetown scored two runs in both the first and second innings, and sophomore pitcher Megan Hyson did the rest, striking out 12 Blue Raiders in the victory.
On Wednesday, the Hoyas returned to Guy Mason Field for their long-awaited home opener against Drexel (7-13, 0-0 CAA). O’Leary got the start for the Hoyas and didn’t disappoint, shutting out the Dragons through seven innings and allowing only two hits while striking out ten.
Unfortunately for Georgetown, Drexel’s Tara Konopka matched O’Leary pitch for pitch.
“We let her dictate what we were doing up at the plate,” Head Coach Pat Conlan said. “We swung at a lot of pitches that were out of the zone, and we weren’t aggressive with the ones that were in the zone.”
With neither team on the board through seven innings, the game headed into extras. Although Hyson warmed up during the bottom of the seventh, it was O’Leary who returned to the circle for the Blue and Gray in the top of the eighth.
“I did not [think about pulling O’Leary] at all,” Conlan said.
Conlan’s decision to keep O’Leary in the game did not pay off, however, as Drexel finally broke through in the eighth. A lead-off single and subsequent sacrifice bunt set the stage for the Dragons to take a 2-0 lead. O’Leary then walked the next batter and allowed another single before recording the second out of the inning. In the next at-bat, a pitch got away from O’Leary and hit Drexel catcher Madison Timoteo, forcing in the Dragons’ third run of the inning.
The eighth inning marred what had otherwise been a phenomenal outing for the sophomore pitcher.
“Going through their lineup a couple of times, they started seeing my pitches better and hitting better,” O’Leary said.
Georgetown mounted a promising comeback in the bottom half of the eighth when lead-off singles by junior centerfielder Elyse Graziano (3-for-3 on the day) and Giovanniello and a passed ball put runners on first and third with no outs.
A sacrifice fly by junior second baseman Hannah Slovacek was the best the Hoyas could manage, though, and the game ended with a score of 3-1.
A trip to the UMBC Tournament is up next this weekend in Baltimore, where Georgetown will hope for better fortunes.