March 22, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Regular season BIG EAST play begins this weekend and Villanova will travel to Georgetown for a three game series. With the bulk of the early season non-conference schedule now in the books the Wildcats are tied for sixth place in the BIG EAST with 11 victories and have an 11-9 overall mark. The series against the Hoyas begins with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at Noon and will conclude with a single game on Sunday at Noon.
This weekend will only be the fourth time that Villanova and Georgetown have met for a series against each other, as the Hoyas played their inaugural season in 2006 and did not join the BIG EAST until 2009. There have been a total of seven games played between the teams, with the Wildcats owning a 4-3 edge in the all-time series.
Last season Villanova faced Georgetown on the road and swept a doubleheader, winning by scores of 4-1 and 4-3, respectively. The offense was rolling in both games for the Wildcats, who totaled 24 hits in the doubleheader. Senior first baseman Valerie Ortega (Ventura, Calif.) had three hits and a run scored in the opening game and sophomore designated hitter Beth Smetana (San Diego, Calif.) had two hits in both games.
Villanova is coming off an 8-5 loss to Saint Joseph's in a midweek game but has won five of seven overall heading into the weekend. Freshman pitcher Kate Poppe (Downingtown, Pa.) registered her 100th strikeout of the season in the game against Saint Joseph's and has notched a total of 101 strikeouts for the year. Poppe has already notched 11 victories and has logged 85 2/3 innings pitched over 16 appearances, including 12 starts and eight complete games.
Senior catcher Amanda Marquez (Miami, Fla.) leads the Wildcats with a .373 batting average for the season and is one of four everyday players hitting .300 or better. Villanova begins conference play with team marks of a .278 batting average and a .347 on-base percentage. Behind Marquez, who has struck out just twice in 63 plate appearances, Ortega is hitting .338 and Smetana is hitting .310 with team highs of three home runs and five stolen bases. Junior shortstop Ali Lowe (West Palm Beach, Fla.) is hitting .310 and is one of four players who have started all 20 games.
Georgetown is 8-20 this season but has won three straight and four of five entering the weekend. The Hoyas swept a midweek doubleheader from Princeton on Tuesday afternoon, winning 3-1 and 7-6. Junior center fielder Elyse Graziano was named to this week's BIG EAST honor roll after she went 10-for-15 (.667) in five games last week.