After a 4-1 weekend where they won the UNC-Charlotte tournament, the Georgetown softball team will head to California to participate in the UCLA/CSUN tournament.
“The west coast, is sort of what used to be the marquis of softball players and teams,” Head Coach Pat Conlan said. “The Pac 12 has won the most world series championships as well, so the fact that we’re getting a chance to go out, play UCLA on their field, be in their tournament and play some really good teams at Northridge as well is exciting.”
The Hoyas (7-7) will open the tournament against Grand Canyon University (9-8). Antelope senior pitcher Stephanie Pesqueira was named the Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week after a four-hit complete game against San Diego, where she posted a 1.00 ERA. In addition to her 3-4 record, she also contributes on offense, leading the team with a .438 batting average.
But Georgetown has its own strong starter as well — junior Megan Hyson. At their last tournament, Hyson was named Most Valuable Pitcher after going 3-0 with three shutouts, including a no-hitter. This season, Hyson has a 1.70 ERA and she also leads the team in batting average at .350 with 12 runs batted in and a homerun.
Hyson was a part of the Georgetown’s strong offensive revitalization last weekend. The Hoyas scored 31 runs over five games last weekend.
“I think they’re seeing a lot of pitches right now, which early on in the season its difficult to take your live at bats in a game because we haven’t had the opportunity to have a lot of bats at practice,” Conlan said. “I think it’s a lot of trial and error early on until we get into a groove. I think we’re in a good place right now and we’ve got to keep it going.”
The Blue and Gray will have a quick turnaround as they play Oregon State later that day. This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams. The Beavers (6-11) had some unexpected rest, as most of their tournament games were canceled due to the rainstorm in California.
Next on the schedule is Cal State Northridge (9-8). The Matadors are coming off doubleheader home opener wins over Portland State and Rutgers this past weekend. This season CSUN is batting .300 and has a 4.38 ERA as a team.
Georgetown will then face University of Nevada-Las Vegas (6-11). Senior outfielder Pauline Monreal had four runs batted in and went .667 from the plate in two games last week.
The Hoyas will face their toughest opponent — No. 3 UCLA. The Bruins are currently undefeated 17-0.
While there is some tough competition ahead, Conlan is not concerned with the team’s opponent and instead is focusing on her team.
“I think as exciting as it is, and the weather’s going to be great, at the end of the day we have to play the game that we’re capable of playing and it doesn’t matter where we’re at, what the zip code is, what the weather is,” she said. “We need to play our game, and I think we’re prepared to do that.”
Junior pitcher Lauren O’Leary will join Hyson in the circle for the Hoyas. This season, O’Leary has a 2.85 ERA and she is expected to trade starts with Hyson. Offensively, senior Alexandria Anttila leads the Hoyas. Anttila has two homeruns and 10 RBIs and is currently riding an eight game hitting streak. She’s reached base in 12 straight games. Senior Hannah Slovacek leads the team with 23 RBIs and has scored nine runs.
“I thought that we hit our stride and four out of the five games, we played very consistently, we brought all phases of the game together, and I thought our energy level was really good,” Conlan said. “We’re in as good a place as we’ve ever been, so I think the hard part now will be to maintain that as we get into the meat of the season.”
In order to be successful this tournament, the Hoyas will have to overcome the effects of the east coast weather. Georgetown has had a tournament, their first home game and numerous practices cancelled because of snow or rain.
The Hoyas will not have to worry about the weather this weekend in Los Angeles, but that is not the only thing Conlan is excited about.
“I like to get out to California once every four years so that the west coast kids can play in front of their home crowd,” she said.