Last Saturday, baseball faced Muhlenberg College in a double header at home. Blue Jay fans were treated to an overwhelming Hopkins victory.
The Jays dominated the Mules in an 11-0 shut out the first game, featuring four home runs — two from senior outfielder Tim Kutcher, one from junior outfielder Chris Festa and one from junior outfielder Nate Davis.
The second game was won by an even larger margin, 19-1. The Jays hit another five home runs in this game, with two from graduate student outfielder Chris DeGiacomo, one from freshman infielder, Jack Pausic, one from sophomore outfielder Mark Lopez and another from Festa. The home runs for Pausic and Lopez were their first of their college careers.
The hitting may have been the big story, but the Blue Jays pitching was also lights out in both games. The News-Letter spoke with senior pitcher Preston Betz about his eight innings of shut-out baseball Saturday, as well as his growth throughout his career, the team’s preparation and their goals for the season.
The News-Letter: You pitched eight shut out innings against Muhlenberg this weekend. How did you get it done and what was going through your head?
Preston Betz: During the week leading up to the game, the pitching coaches and I really focused on throwing my change-up and two-seam fastball more and more, and we got some pretty good results with that work. The whole time I was just focusing on hitting my spots, and it worked out well.
N-L: You have a really strong record right now, 17-5 with a five-game winning streak. How did the team create this momentum and how do you plan to keep it up?
PB: The momentum is made by us just coming out to the field every day, loving the game and wanting to succeed, simple as that. Especially now that we’re in Conference, every game is going to be tough, so we know we have to play our best baseball and that’s what we’re doing.
N-L: What are the team’s goals for the season and how has the off season helped you guys get ready to go after them?
PB: Our goal right now is to be first place in Conference and eventually win the Conference. Then from there, obviously to go as far in the NCAA tournament as possible. We have the talent to win it all, so that’s what we’re aiming for. And as far as the off season goes, it’s been great to see that the work the younger guys have been putting in is really paying off because now a bunch of them are getting playing time and are doing a hell of a job right now.
N-L: What is your favorite moment of the season so far?
PB: My favorite moment of the season so far has to be walking off against Salisbury. There’s no feeling like a walk off, and Salisbury was a great team that we’ve really battled with over the years, so it was really an awesome moment.
N-L: You’re a senior this year. How have you grown throughout your career and how has the program helped you get there along the way?
PB: I’ve gotten to know some really good pitchers while here at Hopkins, and I’ve learned a little bit from each of them which has been amazing. So, in terms of growth I’ve been getting those ideas (whether it be how to hold a pitch or pitching mentality) and shaping myself into the pitcher I am today, which is someone that can help our team win each and every time I’m on the mound. The coaching staff has also been the best in terms of getting me to be a better pitcher and really understand the ins and outs of the game.
The Blue Jays will be back in action on Friday as they take on the Gettysburg College Bullets at 3:30 p.m. on Babb Field.