March 30, 2012
WASHINGTON - Backed by a strong pitching performance from senior right-hander Will Harris (Winter Park, Fla./Trinity Prep), the Georgetown baseball team scored five runs in the first inning and never looked back en route to a 13-1 BIG EAST Conference win over Rutgers in the first game of a three-game series on Shirley Povich Field Friday afternoon.
The win ended a seven-game losing streak for the Hoyas, who improve to 12-14 overall and 1-3 in the BIG EAST, while the Scarlet Knights fall to 12-11 overall and 2-2 in league play.
While the Georgetown bats scored 13 runs on 18 hits - the most runs for the Hoyas in a conference game since scoring 17 in a win over Villanova last season - it was Harris' outing that really propelled the team. Harris went 7.0 innings, allowing only one run - in the first inning - on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Redshirt junior shortstop Mike Garza (San Antonio, Texas/Douglas MacArthur) led the offensive output, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a two-run home run, two singles and three RBI, while junior Corbin Blakey (Alpharetta, Ga./Centennial) went 4-for-4 with a double, three singles and two runs, senior outfielder Rand Ravnaas (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints' Episcopal) hit a single and drove in three runs, and junior outfielder Paul Bello (Towaca, N.J./Delbarton) went 3-for-5 with three singles, one run and one RBI.
After giving up a run in the top on the first on a double Pat Kivlehan, Harris settled down. He gave up a leadoff single in the second inning, but retired the next 12 batters - striking out four of them - before back-to-back hits to start the fifth inning. He recorded the first out on a fly ball but then induced an inning ending double to play to get out of the threat.
The Hoyas trailed 1-0 after the top of the first inning, but jumped on Rutgers starter Tyler Gebler in the bottom. Junior center fielder Justin Leeson (Exton, Pa./West Chester) hit a leadoff single, moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt and scored when Ravnaas grounded out, tying the game. The rest of the work for Georgetown was done with two outs, as Garza and senior Kevin Johnson (Peabody, Mass./Belmont Hill) singled before sophomore Steve Anderson (Albany, N.Y./Guilderland) blasted a double to left-center, giving the Hoyas a 3-1 lead. Blakey reached on an infield single, with Anderson moving to third and then scoring on an error. Bello followed with a single to left to put runners on the corners and senior second baseman Andy Lentz (Farmington Hills, Mich./Brother Rice) reached on an error, bringing home Blakey with the final run of the inning.
In the third, Johnson hit a leadoff single, moved to third on a Blakey double and scored when Bello grounded out, pushing the lead to 6-1. The Hoyas added two more runs in the fourth when Garza jumped on the first pitch from Gebler with two out, hitting over the left field wall for a two-run home run, scoring Ravnaas after he reached on a fielder's choice.
Georgetown would add a single run in the sixth when a sacrifice fly to right from Ravnaas plated Leeson, who hit a leadoff double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from junior third baseman Trevor Matern (Santa Clarita, Calif./Hart).
Rutgers went to the bullpen for the third time in the game to start the seventh inning and the Hoyas greeted Sam Hasty with three-straight hits, singles from Blakey and Bello, and a double down the left field line from Lentz that plated both runners, pushing the lead to 11-1. After Matern was hit by a pitch and both runners moved up on a wild pitch, Ravnaas drove both home with a single, closing out the scoring.
The series continues on Saturday, March 31, with first pitch at Shirley Povich Field slated for 3 p.m. Live video of the game will be available on the Georgetown Athletics website - www.guhoyas.com - with Tim Murray calling all of the action. On Saturday, junior left-hander Thomas Polus (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean) is slated to take the hill, while junior Neal Dennison (Houston, Texas/Lamar) will start on Sunday in the series finale. Polus is 1-3 with a 6.47 earned run average, but leads the team innings pitched, while Dennison is 2-1 with a 4.70 ERA.