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

Hoyas Lose Series, But Record Gains

It was a special weekend for everyone involved with Rutgers baseball.

On a day when Rutgers Head Coach Fred Hill was honored for his 900th career victory, the Scarlet Knights christened their shiny new field turf playing surface by sweeping a three-game series with the Hoyas in the Big East opener for both teams. After Friday’s opening match was postponed due to a steady drizzle, Rutgers (10-10, 3-0 Big East) stole both games of a Saturday double-header from Georgetown (9-14, 0-3) then rallied from a two-run deficit to take the Sunday match 5-4.

“A lot of things went good, actually,” Georgetown Head Coach Pete Wilk said in phone interview Monday afternoon. “We nearly took two out of three games from one of the top four programs in the conference. It wasn’t too long ago that we were going up there and getting blown out. It’s good step for us, but it is still frustrating. “

Senior right-hander Erick Chandler pitched strong early in the first game, striking out six Scarlet Knights. Trailing 1-0, the Hoyas busted out the wood in the top of the sixth inning. After freshman second baseman Derek DiGuglielmo and senior left fielder Derek deGrijs led off the frame with a pair of base hits, sweet swinging junior Matthew Bouchard doubled to deep right field, scoring DiGuglielmo and advancing DeGrijs to the corner.

When an errant pitch flew past Rutgers junior catcher Frank eade, DeGrijs sprinted home, giving Georgetown a 2-1 advantage. Senior catcher Brandon Davis then drove in co-captain Bouchard with a single to right center, which stretched the lead to two heading into the seventh.

Chandler held fast through another frame, but after the first three Rutgers batsmen reached base to begin the eighth, Wilk called junior right-hander Daniel Kennedy’s number from the bullpen. An error by sophomore first basemen Greg Pustizzi allowed Frazier to score from third, and a subsequent single by senior third baseman Tim Querns knocked in another run for the Scarlet Knights.

With the score knotted at three, the game headed into the 10th after anemic offensive outputs by both squads in the final inning. The Hoyas, who have won two nail biters in extra innings this season, would not be so lucky on Saturday. With two out and two on in the bottom of the 10th, senior designated hitter Vic Cegles singled down the right field line, scoring the runner from third and leaving Kennedy and the Hoyas scratching their heads with a 4-3 loss.

“I think our pitchers shut down some pretty powerful hitters all weekend long,” Wilk said. “I think we have a great side of pitchers – I would take any of the three.”

Perhaps the late-inning letdown carried over into the second game, for the Hoyas allowed senior right-hander Steve Healing to get the best of them. The wily veteran made quick work of the Hoyas, pitching a five-hit, complete game shutout.

Senior right-fielder David Williams, who went 3-4 on the day, and the rest of the Rutgers battery roughed up junior left-hander ike Gaggioli for eight hits and three earned runs over seven innings, dropping Gaggioli to 1-2 on the year. Senior righty Mike Hoy spelled Gaggioli in the eighth but fared no better, allowing another three earned runs in the eighth as the Scarlet Knights romped for a 6-0 victory.

“We are going to have to scrape to get runs,” Wilk said of the woeful offense in the second game. “I think there are some guys on the field that are surprised that we are in a position to win.”

Sunday’s seesaw battle saw the two teams swap leads throughout the game, and the Hoyas held close thanks to another solid start from sophomore left-hander Jimmy Saris, who struck out six Scarlet Knights in seven innings of work.

In the top of the fifth, Pustizzi and senior center fielder Mark cLaughlin each hit RBI singles to give Georgetown a 2-1 lead. Rutgers knotted the score in the bottom half of the inning, but a two-RBI double from junior designated hitter Matt Iannetta gave freshman right-hander Jack Bender a two-run cushion when he charged out from the bullpen in the eighth with a pair of Scarlet Knights on base.

Bender stared down Edwards, but he responded with a one-out, three-run homer to right field. Edwards’ dinger helped the home squad regain a lead it would not relinquish thanks to a tandem relief effort from Chris and Kevin Lillis, the senior-freshman pair of right-handed brothers who shut down the Hoyas in the final innings.

“Bender’s done a great job for us all year,” Wilk said. “It’s unfortunate that he couldn’t get done for us. We need to learn how to close out those close games. I think that’s the natural evolution of this program – we used to get our butts kicked, but next year, maybe we win those two.”

Georgetown looks to regain its footing today in a make-up match with George Washington at 3 p.m. on Shirley Povich Field.

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