Vander Linden Throws Seven Strong, Georgetown Tops West Virginia, 5-3, in Opener
May 11, 2012
Bethesda, Md. - Redshirt freshman Jack Vander Linden (Dallas, Texas/Episcopal School of Dallas) threw seven scoreless innings and Georgetown jumped out to a 5-0 lead before holding on for a 5-3 win over West Virginia in a BIG EAST Conference baseball game on Friday night at Shirley Povich Field.
It was the second-straight win for the Hoyas, who improve to 22-26 overall and 8-14 in the BIG EAST, while the Mountaineers fall to 19-30 overall and 6-16 in league play. Combined with a win by Cincinnati at Villanova, Georgetown is only one game behind Pittsburgh and Villanova for the final spot in the BIG EAST Tournament.
The teams will play again on Saturday night, May 12, with first pitch slated for 7 p.m. Prior to that game, Head Coach Pete Wilk and the baseball team will recognize nine graduating seniors. The series finale will be held on Sunday, May 13, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.
Redshirt junior shortstop Mike Garza (San Antonio, Texas/Douglas MacArthur) went 2-for-4 with a home run, double, two runs scored and one RBI to lead a 12-hit attack for the Hoyas, with senior second baseman Andy Lentz (Farmington Hills, Mich./Brother Rice) going 3-for-4 and driving in two runs.
Vander Linden was outstanding for the Hoyas, throwing 7.0 innings while giving up three runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Vander Linden had been solid through seven innings, but the first three runners reached base in the eighth before he made way for junior Charles Steinman (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Chaminade).
Faced with the bases loaded after consecutive singles and a fielder's choice that loaded the bases, Steinman struck out the first batter he faced, but John Polonius singled to left, scoring one run and making it 5-1. Steinman struck out the next batter, but s single from Billy Fleming plated two runs to make it 5-3.
West Virginia loaded the bases in the ninth inning with one out, but Steinman induced a pop out and a fielder's choice to end the game and earn his fourth save of the season.
The Hoyas had jumped on top in the first inning, scoring a pair of runs with two outs to take a quick 2-0 lead. Garza started things off with a two-out double to left and scored on the next pitch, when senior right fielder Rand Ravnaas (Fort Worth, Texas./All Saints' Episcopal), singled to right. Sophomore first baseman Steve Anderson (Albany, N.Y./Guilderland) followed with a double to right and Ravnaas, running on the pitch, made it all the way around and slid in safely, giving the Hoyas a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, junior Corbin Blakey (Alpharetta, Ga./Centennial) led the fourth inning off with a double to center, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from junior Paul Bello (Towaca, N.J./Delbarton) and then scored when Lentz legged out an infield single, making it 3-0.
The Blue & Gray had another two-out rally in the sixth, with back-to-back singles from Blakey and Bello putting runners on the corners. Lentz struck out, but a wild pitch allowed him to reach first and Blakey to score, pushing the lead to 4-0.
Garza took care of things on his own in the seventh, hitting an 0-1 offering from Mountaineers starter Corey Walter over the left field fence, giving the Hoyas a 5-0 lead.
Vander Linden improved to 5-2 with a 4.10 ERA this season and has thrown at least 5.2 innings in four of his last five starts.
Junior Neal Dennison (Houston, Texas/Lamar), who is 4-3 with a 5.80 ERA, will start Saturday's Senior Day game, with first pitch slated for 7 p.m. After three rough starts during the month of April, Dennison turned things around in his first start in May, throwing 7.0 innings and allowing one run one seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in a 5-4 win over Seton Hall last weekend. In 10 starts this season, Dennison has thrown at least 5.0 innings six times.