This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Josh Solomon.
BRONX, NY – Last time senior Bobby LeWarne pitched against VCU, he threw a complete game, tossing 131 pitches and allowing only three runs.
That was nearly a month ago, when the Colonials still had a chance to take first place. GW lost that outing 3–0, in a shutout at the hands of the to-be Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, Michael Dailey.
From that series against VCU on, GW carried a 4-8 record on its way to the bottom seed in the A-10 Championship.
As the seven seed versus the second seeded Rams, the Colonials needed to win the opening matchup to give themselves a quality chance to win the tournament. With a loss, GW would enter the consolation side of the bracket, making it extremely difficult to go the distance and still have enough pitching to compete.
In the opening round of the postseason, LeWarne earned a rematch with Dailey.
“We were saying if we were VCU, we would be scared to play us,” sophomore Mark Osis said. “That was a bad draw for them and we had a lot of confidence coming into today, knowing we could hang with them. Things just didn’t go our way.”
It turned out to be Dailey’s day.
He kept the Colonials bats quiet for seven straight innings, allowing just one run in the sixth. GW managed a few opportunities at the plate, but ultimately were shut down offensively, losing 5–1.
GW’s game plan against Dailey fell through.
“We didn’t follow it,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “[Our plan was to] stay on the ball. Get good pitches. Stay on the ball. No pull.”
GW rolled over and ground out most of the game, weakly hitting the ball against the Rams ace.
The Colonials were also hurt by a rough fifth inning that LeWarne couldn’t finesse his way out of in his usual fashion.
He gave up a leadoff double and then walked the three-hole hitter on a full count. A wild pitch on a strikeout then moved the runners into scoring position.
With men on second and third, LeWarne tried to intentionally load the bases to create a force out opportunity. On his first pitch on the intentional walk LeWarne was called for a balk by the umpire standing near second base. The run scored and the game started to collapse on the Colonials
“I just left a few pitches up. That balk was embarrassing and I just got to execute those pitches more to get out of that inning,” LeWarne said.
LeWarne threw his second wild pitch of the inning allowing another runner to score.
Then the bullpen entered, starting with freshman Justin Friedman. What followed was a passed ball, an infield single, a base hit and a wild pitch.
Ritchie then handed the ball off to senior Luke Olson who got a ground ball to end the inning, but it was too late. The first three runs had crossed the plate for VCU in the fifth.
Ritchie could have gone to the bullpen earlier, but, as he has done all season, he stuck with his starter.
“Bobby LeWarne is our senior, he’s our guy, who gives us the best effort out of what we got, situationally here,” Ritchie said. “I have no regrets on that whatsoever.”
The game continued to slip away from GW, although the team still had its chances at the plate.
In the sixth inning, the Colonials led off the inning with a walk but then the previously red-hot, junior Joey Bartosic grounded into a double play.
Later in the inning, GW scraped across one run on a two-out double by sophomore Mark Osis, but could not connect for another base hit to drive in anything more.
“I was hoping it would turn the tides a little bit,” Osis said. “I was excited to get my team excited because I could see them on the bench, getting pumped up. But unfortunately we couldn’t string a few more together.”
In the eighth inning after the Rams had gone to their bullpen, GW had its best opportunity all game. The Colonials landed their first two batters on base, but an infield fly by sophomore Robbie Metz and a double play ball by Osis ended the threat.
Finally in the ninth, with two GW runners on base, VCU’s closer finished the game off.
GW will now go onto play tonight at 8:30, taking on the loser of the four-five seed matchup between Saint Louis and Fordham.
The Colonials had lost two-of-three to VCU, but played three close games, while they were swept by both the Billikens and the Fordham Rams this season.
“We all know we have a quick turnaround coming tonight, with our backs against the wall,” Osis said. “So there’s no real time to hang your head. We have to pick ourselves back up and get a ‘W’ tonight.”