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

GU Drops Heartbreaker to UConn

Frustration. Elation. Disappointment.

Series-deciding games are usually fraught with emotion, but rarely does a team experience such dramatic highs and lows as the Georgetown baseball team did over the span of two innings in its third game against Connecticut last weekend.

For nearly the entire game, Husky junior left-hander Brendan cGinn stymied the Hoya offense, keeping Georgetown scoreless through eight innings. After giving up a run in the top of the ninth, McGinn left the game with a 4-1 UConn lead only to see Georgetown unleash its pent-up offense when freshman righty David Erickson took the mound. By the end of the inning, the Hoyas had tied the game up, 4-4.

The Georgetown rally started while McGinn was still pitching, with two outs and two runners on base. Junior center fielder Tim Jones, who reached on an error by UConn sophomore shortstop Dennis Donovan, was on second and senior designated hitter Andrew Cleary was on first after he walked. Junior first baseman Ryan Craft then stroked a single down the left-field line to score Jones.

At this point, Erickson entered the game. Junior Drew Dargen got a pinch-hit single, loading the bases for pinch-hitting senior Jim Supple, who walked, forcing Cleary home. Sophomore catcher Brandon Davis then put another single into left field, plating Craft and Dargen for the third and fourth runs of the inning.

“That comeback was really something special,” Georgetown Head Coach Pete Wilk said. “The whole team was involved in it.”

Connecticut froze in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game into extra innings. Georgetown did not fare any better in the tenth, though, as Erickson got all three Hoya batters to ground out.

But the game ended like so many other heartbreaking Hoya losses have, on a walk-off home run. This time Husky senior first baseman Jeff Hourigan was the culprit as his solo shot to right-center field started and ended the bottom of the 10th inning.

“It’s the old elation and rollercoaster ride that the game can sometimes be,” Wilk said. “You’re up so high because you just got four runs with two outs, and fifteen minutes later somebody kicks you in the stomach, it feels like. It’s frustrating because the kids fought back – never quit.”

Erickson (1-1) ended up getting the win with Georgetown reliever ike Halloran (5-3), a senior left-hander, taking the loss after the starter, senior right-handed pitcher Tom Braun, struck out nine in 7.2 innings.

“Braun is the best pitcher we’ve faced in the conference all year,” Connecticut Head Coach Jim Penders said. “He threw strikes that kept us off-balance all game.”

The series at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs, Conn., featured two teams headed in opposite directions as Connecticut (28-18, 8-9 Big East) was riding a four-game win streak while Georgetown (22-25, 6-13 Big East) had dropped four of its last five. The team’s momentum did not have much of an effect, though, as all three games were close, low-scoring affairs.

“I thought it was a really hard-fought series,” Penders said. “We pitched well. They pitched well. You’re going to have low-scoring games when that happens.”

The Hoyas got started with a 5-3 victory, the first time that Georgetown began a Big East series with a win. In a pitchers’ duel between Georgetown senior right-hander Eddie Pena (3-5) and UConn sophomore lefty Rich Sirois (5-4) both threw complete games. The pair’s statistics were mostly comparable – Pena struck out five and yielded one walk while Sirois got four strikeouts without issuing any free passes – but hits made the difference as Pena gave up four to Sirois’ seven.

The Huskies had gotten out to a 1-0 lead in the first after senior center fielder Russ D’Argento doubled, then scored on two wild pitches.

But the Hoya bats warmed up in the fourth inning as Georgetown tacked three runs to the board. Senior right fielder Bill Quinn led off with a single, and Cleary followed with a base hit of his own. Hit by a pitch, Craft loaded the bases for Jones, who stroked a single to center field, scoring Quinn and Cleary.

After senior first baseman Jim Supple bunted to move the runners over, Donovan committed an error at short, allowing Hoya junior shortstop Matt Johnson to reach base while Craft scored. Freshman third baseman Matthew Bouchard flied out to right before Johnson was picked off at second to end the inning.

Senior right fielder Bill Quinn then blasted a two-run home run, his eighth of the season, to left-center field in the fifth to widen Georgetown’s lead to 5-1.

Connecticut answered back in the bottom of the inning with two runs of its own. Sophomore right fielder Josh Farkes made his way around the bases on a single, a stolen base, a single from Donovan and an error on Cleary, who was trying to throw out the base-stealing Donovan. Sophomore third baseman Matt Untiet then scored Donovan on a single.

Those would be the last runs of the game, and the final stood at 5-3, Hoyas.

The Huskies, however, closed out Saturday’s doubleheader with a 3-2 win, despite stormy weather that forced a rain delay that lasted over an hour between the second and third innings.

UConn got out to an early start with two runs in the first, but there would be no more runs until they scored one more in the bottom of the seventh. Georgetown finally woke up and put two runs on the board in the eighth, but they couldn’t eke out any more and took the 3-2 loss.

“The one thing that I knew – we were not going to be back on our heels after losing the first game,” Penders said. Connecticut has not won the first game of any of its six Big East series so far this year, but it came back to win three of them and split one.

“We were in familiar territory after having lost game one,” Penders said. “Too familiar territory.”

Husky junior right-handed pitcher Norton (2-0) pitched a complete game, striking out 10 and allowing six hits with no earned runs. The Hoyas’ freshman lefty Mike Gaggioli (3-5) went for six innings, getting five K’s but giving up nine hits.

Looking back on the series, Wilk said, “If you get down to it, [the Huskies] made less mistakes than we did. Not by much, but they did. We really, really, really had to scratch and claw for our runs.”

Connecticut is in sixth place in the conference after the series, but only the top four teams go on to the Big East championship on May 26-28.

“[The series] was very important,” Penders said. “We really had to win it to stay in contention for the Big East tournament spot.”

Georgetown is in eighth place, but it is just three hundredths of a point above West Virginia and Seton Hall, who are tied for last place in the Big East.

Georgetown has two games against local rival George Washington (30-13, 10-5 Atlantic-10), who sits on top of the standings in the A-10, on Tuesday and Wednesday before the Hoyas break until May 14 for final exams.

“We’re back to playing pretty good baseball again,” Wilk said. “We’re getting outstanding pitching on the weekend. We’ve got to score some runs midweek, but we’re trying to finish strong here.”

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