The key for the Colonials this weekend was that they weren’t under pressure, head coach Stacey Schramm said.
GW faced two A-10 rivals over four games, but with Temple and Saint Joseph’s also taking on conference standout Fordham over the weekend, their minds’ weren’t on GW, Schramm said.
And the Colonials used that to their advantage to return from Philadelphia with a 3-1 record over the weekend.
“We went into the whole weekend saying ‘there’s no pressure on us.’ Saint Joe’s and Temple, they were also playing Fordham this weekend,” Schramm said. “We were really overlooked this weekend and we definitely took advantage of it. It was evident that Temple and Saint Joe’s thought they were going to sweep us.”
GW started play Friday with its second straight conference victory, grabbing an 11-7 win over Temple. The Colonials (12-24, 3-5 A-10) picked up their first A-10 win over the Owls Thursday, nabbing a 4-2 victory.
Friday’s contest was a slugfest, and one the Colonials hung on to claim with five home runs, including two from junior Tara Fogerty. She went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored, with all three of her hits going for extra bases after she added a double to her pair of home runs. Senior Lauren Wilson, junior Autumn Taylor and freshman Victoria Valos all added homers for the Colonials, who have hit seven home runs in the last two games.
Schramm said her team’s offensive emergence over the weekend was mainly due to GW settling down at the plate. In the practice days leading up to the road trip, the Colonials focused on live batting and situational drills, efforts that helped the team gain confidence during play.
“The game against Temple, we had six errors. That was crazy, usually when a team makes six errors, we lose. There’s no question about it,” Schramm said. “[But] every time we got up, I knew offensively we were going to get those runs back. The pitchers, I’m sure it was awesome for them to not even worry about holding a team.”
Temple took an early lead in the bottom of the first, but Wilson’s two-out three-run home run in the top of the second gave GW the lead. Valos and Fogarty followed with their first home runs of the day, and the Colonials added two scores in the fourth to go up by three. Temple pulled within a run over the fifth and sixth innings, but GW exploded offensively again in the seventh to seal the 11-7 win.
Senior pitcher Kara Clauss allowed seven runs, five earned, over seven hits in six innings of work, and sophomore pitcher Courtney Martin came in to retire the Owls in the seventh. The sweep, Schramm said, was much-needed after the team fell to Fordham and Charlotte early in A-10 play.
“We needed this. Fordham’s a good team, I didn’t expect to beat them. I did expect to at least split with Charlotte. I think the whole team did. I think they really put pressure on themselves,” Schramm said. “Instead of being nice and loose and relaxed, instead of the mentality they had [this weekend].”
GW didn’t record a hit over the first two innings of game one against Saint Joseph’s Saturday, but came to life in the third, adding four runs to the scoreboard. The Hawks answered with two, but at the top of the fourth, the Colonials sent 13 batters to the plate, tallying eight runs on seven hits.
The Hawks recorded a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 12-4, but that was the last time they would score on the game. Martin got the win for GW, pitching a complete game and allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out four.
Game two Saturday afternoon turned out to be GW’s only loss of the weekend, and was the only game where the Colonials’ bats were silenced over play. The team was held to just one run on five hits, all singles. Saint Joseph’s took a one-run lead in the first, and added three runs in the second on four hits. Valos hit a two-out RBI single to put GW on the board in the third, but it was the last run the Colonials would score en route to a 6-1 loss.
“Today we just had four hits in the second game. It was one of those things where we just, three out of four games, we brought our offensive best to each game but the fourth one,” Schramm said.
The Colonials next visit George Mason Wednesday at 4 p.ms.