April 13, 2012
WASHINGTON - Georgetown University senior right-hander Will Harris (Winter Park, Fla./Trinity Prep) gave up one unearned run over six innings and the Hoyas scored five runs in the middle innings to take a commanding lead before hanging on for a 6-5 win over Villanova in the first of a three-game BIG EAST baseball series at the Ballpark in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
It was the third-straight win for the Hoyas, who even their overall record at 17-17 and pick up their fourth league win of the season, improving to 4-6 in the BIG EAST. Villanova is now 18-17 and 3-7 in league play.
"It was good to get a win to start the weekend," Head Coach Pete Wilk said. "We had a really good outing of Will and we almost gave it away, but this was an important win for us to get."
The win was the first Friday road BIG EAST win for Georgetown since 2008, when the Hoyas beat UConn in the series opener.
Harris improved to 4-2 overall this season with six solid innings of work, allowing one unearned run in the fifth inning, while walking one, striking out one and scattering seven hits. Villanova had runners on base in every inning against Harris, three times with runners in scoring position, but each time he was able to work out of it.
Leading 4-1 in the sixth, the Hoyas extended their lead after an RBI triple from junior center fielder Justin Leeson (Exton, Pa./West Chester) and a run-scoring single from junior third baseman Trevor Matern (Santa Clarita, Calif./Hart).
Villanova scored two runs in the seventh off of senior Pablo Vinent (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit) and added two more in the eighth off of junior James Heine (Chapel Hill, N.C./East Chapel Hill) to pull within a run, 6-5, going into the final inning. Junior Charlie Steinman (Rockville, Centre, N.Y./Chaminade) retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth for his third save of the season.
The Hoya lineup jumped on Villanova starter Kyle Helisek for six runs and nine hits over the first five-plus innings, with junior Paul Bello (Towaca, N.J./Delbarton) going 3-for-3 with a double, two singles and one run, while Matern had two hits and two RBI, senior right fielder Rand Ravnaas (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints' Episcopal) drove in one run and had two hits and senior second baseman Andy Lentz (Farmington Hills, Mich./Brother Rice) had two hits and scored two runs.
Scoreless after two innings, the Hoyas took a 1-0 lead when Ravnaas hit a two-out single to right, scoring Lentz, who had reached on a single and moved to second when Matern reached on a hit. Georgetown extended the lead to 4-0 with a three-run fifth inning. Bello started things with a single up the middle and moved to second on a single to center from Lentz. Attempting to move the runners up, Leeson reached on a bunt, a throwing error brought home Bello and Leeson, pushing the Hoya lead to 3-0. Leeson moved to third on the play and scored when Matern grounded out, making it 4-0.
Harris, meanwhile, kept working his way out of jams. A leadoff walk in the first was followed by a double play started by redshirt junior shortstop Mike Garza (San Antonio, Texas/Douglas MacArthur) and stranded runners on first and second in the next inning. In the third, Villanova had runners on second and third with one out after a hit by pitch and a single, but he retired the next two batters to get out of the jam. He retired the side in order in the fourth and gave up an unearned run in the fifth when an RBI single after a failed pickoff attempt cut the lead to 4-1.
Georgetown responded in the sixth, with junior first baseman Danny Poplawski (Bellevue, Wash./Overlake) hitting a leadoff single, moving to second on a bunt from Bello, stealing third and scoring on Leeson's triple to right. After a pitching change, Matern drove in Leeson with a single up the middle.
The three-game series with the Wildcats continues on Saturday, April 14. First pitch is slated for 1:15 p.m. Junior Neal Dennison (Houston, Texas/Lamar) will start for the Blue & Gray. Dennison, who picked up a win against Louisville last weekend, is 3-1 with a 3.89 earned run average this season.