April 16, 2012
WASHINGTON - Freshman pitcher Jack VanderLinden (Dallas, Texas/Episcopal School of Dallas) made his first career BIG EAST Conference start and delivered for the Georgetown baseball team, and six different players drove in at least one run as the Hoyas beat Villanova, 8-2, in the final game of a three-game series at the Ballpark in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
It was the seventh win in the last 11 games for the Hoyas, who improve to 18-18 overall and 5-7 in the BIG EAST, while Villanova falls to 19-18 overall and 4-8 in the league. More importantly, the victory was the second in three games for Georgetown over Villanova, giving the Hoyas the series win. It was the first BIG EAST road series win for the Blue & Gray since taking two of three from South Florida in 2008.
VanderLinden, in only his fourth career start, went 7.0 innings, giving up only two runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts as he improved to 4-1 this season. He gave up a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI triple from Tyler Sciacca, but escaped further damage when redshirt junior shortstop Mike Garza (San Antonio, Texas/Douglas MacArthur) fielded a ground ball and threw to senior catcher Kevin Johnson (Peabody, Mass./Belmont Hill) for the second out of the inning.
The Hoyas responded in the top of the second with a one-out double to right from sophomore Christian Venditti (Newtonville, Mass./St. Sebastian's) starting things. Venditti scored on a single up the middle from junior first baseman Danny Poplawski (Bellevue, Wash./Overlake). Poplawski stole second and scored on a two-out single to center from senior second baseman Andy Lentz (Farmington Hills, Mich./Brother Rice), giving Georgetown the lead for good at 2-1. Lentz, who moved to second on the throw home, scored when junior third baseman Trevor Matern (Santa Clarita, Calif./Hart) singled to left.
The lead grew to 4-1 in the third when Garza reached third on a dropped fly ball and then scored on a single to center from Venditti. In the fourth, Lentz was hit by a pitch with one out and scored when junior center fielder Justin Leeson (Exton, Pa./West Chester) tripled to right-center.
VanderLinden, meanwhile, got stronger as the game went along. He loaded the bases with two out in the second, but recorded a strikeout for the final out. In the third, he retired the side in order and then had an inning-ending double play after a one-out walk in the fourth. After a two-out single in the fifth, he picked off Villanova's Kevin Wager to end the inning.
The Wildcats cut the lead to 5-2 with a run in the seventh, but the Hoyas responded with one in the top of the eighth and added two more in the ninth. Johnson drew a leadoff walk in the eighth, stole second, moved to third on a fly out from Venditti and scored when Poplawski singled to center, making it 6-2.
In the ninth, Matern and Leeson singled to put the first two runners on base. Garza flew out and moved Matern to third and a stolen base by Leeson put runners on second and third for Johnson, who singled up the middle, giving the Hoyas an 8-2 lead.
Redshirt senior Pablo Vinent (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit) relieved VanderLinden in the eighth and retired the final six batters of the game to close out the game for Georgetown.
Five different players had at least two hits as the Hoyas scored eight runs on 12 hits. Lentz went 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI in the leadoff spot, while Matern went 2-for-5 with one run and one RBI and Leeson was 2-for-5 with one run and one RBI. Those three, the top three batters in the lineup, combined to go 6-for-13 with four runs and three RBI.
The bottom of the lineup, meanwhile, handled itself well, as Johnson (1-for-4, one run, two RBI), Venditti (2-for-4, one run, one RBI) and Poplawski (2-for-5, one run, two RBI) combined to go 5-for-13 with three runs and five RBI.
Georgetown is back in action on Tuesday, April 17, visiting Coppin State for a non-league game in Baltimore. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.