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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

BASEBALL | ‘It’s Just Baseball:’ Hoya Baseball Coach Unfazed by Winless Weekend

The Hoyas’ baseball team opened their season at the MLB Desert Invitational in Arizona, going winless, but remaining optimistic for the rest of the year.
Instagram @hoyabaseball | Graduate right-hander Carson Frye winds up for a pitch against Grand Canyon at the MLB Desert Invitational.

At its first-ever Major League Baseball (MLB) Desert Invitational in Phoenix, Ariz., the Georgetown University baseball team went 0-3 in its opening weekend, losing 5-2 to Grand Canyon University on Friday, Feb. 16, 12-3 to University of California Berkeley on Saturday, Feb. 17 and 7-6 to Kansas State University on Sunday, Feb. 18.

The MLB Desert Invitational is an annual eight-team tournament showcasing some of the top collegiate baseball programs in the nation. Georgetown was one of six schools participating for the first time in the event, which is being held for the fifth time. 

When playing the GCU Antelopes (4-0) on Friday, the Hoyas (1-3) spent 6 innings facing one of the top pitchers in college baseball, Daniel Avitia. The junior right-handed pitcher, who was named an All-American player as a first-year and ended his sophomore season with 192 career strikeouts, tallied 5 strikeouts and allowed only 1 earned run. 

Nonetheless, the Hoyas put up a good fight. Georgetown’s first-year left-handed pitcher Marcello Mastroianni made his college baseball debut against GCU, finishing with 5 strikeouts and 1 earned run in 4 and 2/3 innings.

“To have that be my first game is something that I’m very, very grateful for,” Mastroianni told The Hoya. “I felt good, I was confident in myself and I felt that my team felt confident in me.” 

“The main thing is just remembering to try not to be too perfect,” Mastroianni added.

In the first inning against GCU, Georgetown senior right fielder Jake Hyde doubled to center, allowing graduate outfielder Derek Smith to score and giving the team an early 1-0 lead. This was not the only early lead for the Hoyas over the weekend, as they also entered the top of the second inning against Berkeley (3-1) up 1-0.

However, the Hoyas did not score again until the ninth inning against GCU, when senior first baseman Christian Ficca’s double brought in senior shortstop Michael Eze to narrow GCU’s lead to 5-2. 

Head Coach Edwin Thompson said the team’s inability to close the run gap in prime opportunities ultimately cost them valuable wins over the weekend.

“There are no excuses, and we need to find a way to get more runs,” Thompson told Georgetown Athletics. 

“We didn’t score with runners in scoring position,” he added in an interview with The Hoya. “I don’t think it’s a weakness, it’s just baseball.”

Yet, Thompson said he remains unconcerned about scoring woes affecting the rest of their season. 

“We know we have a good team,” he explained. “We take areas that we need to work on and we work at those. We’ll continue to improve and get better.”

Instagram @hoyabaseball | The Hoyas will look to improve as this young season continues.

On Saturday, the UC Berkeley Golden Bears gave the Hoyas another run for their money. Despite Georgetown’s early lead, the Golden Bears rallied with 4 runs in the fourth inning and 5 additional runs in the fifth. 

“We had chances early in the game to punch some guys out and unfortunately, we didn’t do it and that is something we have to get better at and will get better at,” Thompson told Georgetown Athletics. 

Coming off the harsh loss against UC Berkeley, the Hoyas concluded the tournament with a nail-biting 7-6 loss against KSU (2-2). Down by 3 runs entering the top of the ninth, Georgetown scored 2 runs off a clutch home run by graduate second baseman Josh Rolling, needing only one more to see the game continue into the bottom of the ninth.

Unfortunately, the Hoyas were unable to bring one more run home, resulting in the tough loss. 

Sunday’s notable pitching performances included 3 strikeouts by junior Andrew Williams and 4 strikeouts by senior Everett Catlett. In addition, two of Georgetown’s graduate students dominated offensively, with third baseman Joe Hollerbach hitting his first Hoya home run and going 1-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch, and Rolling going 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs, a 2-run home run and a walk.

Thompson said the combination proved effective and that he was glad to see the graduate students’ strong performances.

“It’s always good to get the first one,” Thompson told The Hoya. “Once you get one, it’s easier to get two. In the time that they did it, we needed them to do it. Really happy, really proud of them.”

Thompson remained optimistic about the team’s outlook this season, especially as Georgetown begins home play at Capital One Park in Tysons, Va. in March.

The Hoyas’ baseball continues to get better as the year goes on. We have easy metro access to the field. As the year goes, come out and watch,” Thompson said. 

Georgetown finished off a comeback against Navy (2-2), playing well and winning 5-3 on Feb. 21. They will look to add another tally to the win column in their next away game against Virginia Military Institute (2-3) on Feb. 23 in Lexington, Va.

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