Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

SOFTBALL | Hoyas Sweep Away the ‘Cats

The Georgetown softball team (11-20, 3-0 Big East) completed a series sweep of Big East rival Villanova over the weekend to extend a now six-game winning streak, an astounding turnaround for a team that started its season just 1-12. This weekend’s result marked the Hoyas’ first series sweep since the advent of the Division I Georgetown softball program in 2005.

The Blue and Gray started Saturday’s first game strongly, scoring in the first inning after drawing a bases-loaded walk. Georgetown would get only one more run, a two-out RBI single in the third from sophomore pitcher Megan Hyson.

But that was more than enough, as sophomore starting pitcher Lauren O’Leary went the distance with a nine-strikeout shutout, her fifth consecutive complete game, and the Hoyas won 2-0. She escaped a jam in the third inning by earning a bases-loaded strikeout but had little trouble after that, preventing every other batter from reaching second base.

“We got ahead in the count, made our pitches and our defense played very well, so it was a nice recipe for success,” Head Coach Pat Conlan said.

The Hoyas had little time to enjoy the victory, though, before the second game of the doubleheader.

During the later game, the Blue and Gray again jumped out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the first inning off a two-RBI single from junior pitcher Hannah Slovacek.

Those would be the only runs of the game for Georgetown, but the Hoyas’ dominant pitching iced another win.  Hyson started the game, allowing only one run in the third inning and entering the seventh with a 2-1 lead. In that seventh inning, she allowed a walk and a bunt single to put two runners on base, prompting Conlan to put her ace, O’Leary, in the game.

Just hours after pitching the first game of the day, O’Leary entered with no outs in the seventh and got two quick outs before a Georgetown defensive error loaded the bases. Though Villanova had a chance to tie the game or take the lead, O’Leary remained calm, forcing a line-out to end both the threat and the game, earning the save and giving Hyson the win.

“I thought we did a fantastic job on the mound of controlling a pretty offensive team,” Conlan said.

The Hoyas then returned for game three on Sunday looking for the sweep.

“I think any time you can get two wins under your belt in a three-game series, momentum is on your side, because along with [that] comes that confidence, and we believed that we could come out and win game three,” Conlan said.

O’Leary, perhaps wearied from the previous day’s games, returned to the mound for Georgetown, and Villanova quickly scored two runs in the first inning off a walk and two hits. The Hoyas would answered right back in the bottom of the first, however, as junior right fielder Alexandria Anttila singled in two runs.

After a scoreless second, the Blue and Gray broke the game open in the third. Freshman shortstop Samantha Giovanniello bunted for a single, and sophomore left fielder Sophia Gargicevich-Almeida reached on an error. Senior catcher Shikara Lowe then sent a three-run home run out of the park to give the Hoyas a 5-2 lead.

But the Hoyas weren’t done there, as Anttila came to the plate and launched another ball over the wall for back-to-back home runs and a 6-2 advantage.

“We obviously had our power hitters doing their job today,” Conlan said.

Villanova would score a run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but it was not enough, especially whenGeorgetown added insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth.

With runners on second and third, the Hoyas ran a squeeze play, and Hyson bunted while Anttila raced home from third. The throw to home plate was wild, allowing Slovacek to also come around and score. Georgetown would go on to take it, 8-5.

“You can’t have success at this level unless you can hit through the whole lineup, [and today,] we had table setters, we put some runners in motion [and] we had a squeeze play,” Conlan said.  “We did a lot of little things that don’t necessarily go down in the scorebook but helped us win that game.”

O’Leary recorded the win and Hyson came on for the save in a role reversal from the Saturday’s second game.

With the sweep, Georgetown moves to a three-way tie atop the Big East. Its next challenge will be nonconference games at local foes George Mason and Towson.

“I’m excited, and we’re ready to go. It’s a good start for us,” Conlan said.

Georgetown will play George Mason at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Fairfax, Va., before facing Towson at 2 p.m. Thursday in Towson, Md.

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