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Dan Henry, a senior and captain of the rowing team, speaks at athletics commencement. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Dan Henry, a senior and captain of the rowing team, speaks at athletics commencement. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

In the first ceremony of Commencement week, graduating seniors from the men’s rowing team received their degrees and were recognized for their accomplishments at Tuesday’s athletics commencement.

When the rest of the Class of 2016 is graduating, the men’s rowing team will travel north to Worcester, Mass. to compete at least one last time in the Eastern Sprints.

Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman, men’s rowing head coach Mark Davis and team captain Daniel Henry all took to the podium to recognize the obstacles the athletes overcame on their way to graduation that should inspire them to keep going.

1. GW is like water

After Maltzman welcomed the family and friends of the athletes he shifted his focus to one of the few examples of rowing in the spotlight and New York Times bestseller, Boys in the Boat.

He quoted George Pocock, who built racing shells, and applied his words to the graduating seniors’ experiences throughout college.

“It is hard to make that boat go as fast as you want it to,” Maltzman said, quoting Pocock. “The enemy of course is the resistance of water, as you have to displace the amount of water equal to the weight of the men and equipment. But, that very water is what supports you and that very enemy is your friend.”

Maltzman said he wanted the graduates to remember that just like in rowing, challenges can become strength in life.

“I hope your experience at GW is sort of like water. We ask you to take classes that were outside of your comfort zone, to live in a diverse community and even have a roommate. These are experiences that make you better,” said Maltzman. “Like water, you time at GW should also be your friend. If you accept the lessons you have learned, I have no doubt that you will go faster and further because of GW. “

2. Missed, not forgotten

In his seventh commencement speech to his team, Davis reflected on the inevitable process of rowers coming and going, and said it doesn’t get any easier.

“We treat our team like a family, so it is never easy to let go. I have had the privilege to coach these six men for the past four years and have them as a part of our family,” said Davis. “You will be missed but you will never be forgotten.”

He told the graduates the intensity of their sport will prepare them for the future.

“Nothing I can say right now can come close to what you’ve learned about yourself and each other for the past four years on the river,” said Davis. “You know hardship, frustration, perseverance, joy – and that was just in this morning’s practice.”

3. Remembering a teammate

As the team captain, Henry spoke at the podium about his fellow graduates, highlighting the team’s perseverance after one of their teammates died in September.

“At that time I spoke about the strength of bonds and mutual respect that rowing creates between teammates. It is those bonds, that trust and our relationship as a team that carries us through tough times like that and makes sharing achievements like today even more gratifying,” Henry said.

 

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at: www.hatchetphotos.com

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This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Josh Solomon.

BRONX, NY—The eighth pitcher of the day for the Colonials stood on the mound with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and the winning run standing 90 feet away.

The pitcher for GW: sophomore Robbie Metz.

The situation for the Colonials: lose and fall to .500 in the conference and, more importantly, risk being on the outside of the postseason picture looking in.

With the outfield not all the way in but closer than normal, Fordham stroked a fly ball into the hard-blowing wind, which was whipping all game. The ball went over the heads of junior outfielders Joey Bartosic and Andrew Selby to score the game winning run.

The Rams won 8–7 to improve to 12-6 in conference play. GW dropped to 9-9.

The two teams entered the weekend tied, toward the top of the bunched-up standings. Now the Colonials sit tied for seventh. Seven teams make the A-10 Championship.

With two weekend series to play, one against Richmond (11-10 A-10) at home and another at Saint Louis (10-8 A-10), GW has control of its own destiny, but it won’t be easy..

“It’s a tough loss, but we have to get ready for next weekend,” junior Bobby Campbell said after the game. Campbell went 1-9 in the series, but drove in nearly half of the team’s total runs.

After two losses Saturday, the team held onto a firm belief that they were better than the Rams. Luck had certainly not gone their way. Their bats were cold for only the second team all season for an extended stretch.

Headed to the bottom of the seventh, it appeared GW’s belief would be confirmed. The team was up 6–2 on Fordham, after playing an all-hands-on-deck style. Head coach Gregg Ritchie said after Saturday’s loss that he would treat the game like a must-win situation.

How did he do so? Ritchie seemed to approach it from an inside-out mentality: Middle reliever, do-it-all bullpen guy, senior Luke Olson started the game and he recorded one out; starter, junior Shane Sweeney came in as a lefty specialist, to strike out the one batter he faced; typical setup man, freshman Justin Friedman then recorded the third out of the first inning; with two outs in the third inning, closer, junior Eddie Muhl came in to pitch with a one run lead; then expected starter Brady Renner entered in the seventh inning in a save situation.

“I just knew today was a must-win game and coach Ritchie told us for everybody to be ready,” Muhl said.

Muhl hit the first batter of the seventh. He then walked the next. Over the 50-pitch mark, a week after throwing 94 pitches in 6.1 innings against VCU, Muhl said he felt fine.

“I was going to go as hard as I can for as long as I can and just try to pass the torch to put us in a good spot,” Muhl said.

He was then tagged with a double to left center, and one run scored. Ritchie then brought in sophomore Brady Renner, who has been the typical Sunday starter in conference play.

Renner recorded one out on a successful safety squeeze, but he also gave up three singles, the final of which gave Fordham the lead for the first time all day.

However, GW fought back to tie the game. In the eighth inning, the Colonials scored one run on a smart play by Selby. With two outs and the tying run at third, he caught the Rams off-guard bunting on an 0-1 count. Selby would make it to second on a poor throw to get him out but they couldn’t drive him in.

In the eighth inning, sophomore Tyler Swiggart started the frame off with a hit-by-pitch that grazed the Fordham batter. That would be it for Swiggart, who would be relieved by sophomore second baseman, and former weekend starter, Robbie Metz. He retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning.

It was the ninth inning where Metz ran into trouble. A one-out ground rule double down the right field line setup Fordham for the win. A ground-out moved the base runner to third. The leadoff hitter, junior Matthew Kozuch, who dominated in this series batting 5-14, was intentionally walked. GW elected not to hold the runner on, allowing him to take second base on defensive indifference.

The next batter, with two outs, singled over the heads of Selby and Bartosic, who sprinted for the ball, but the wind carried it too far, ending a game in which GW did everything to win.

“I think we pitched admirably,” Muhl said. “We all tried to do our best to give us a chance to win.”

Bad breaks plagued the Colonials all weekend, but the team’s calculated, risky moves – which normally pay off – did not factor into wins.

Instead GW enters the week with a non-conference game on Wednesday at Delaware State, and will play its final homestand against Richmond during graduation weekend.

Every game will seem to weigh more heavily now, with a chance to qualify for the A-10 Tournament now on the line.

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This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Josh Solomon.

BRONX, NY—They say hitting is contagious.

If one believed in that maxim, they’d diagnose GW’s offense with a cold.

As the sun came out at Fordham’s field, the bats did not. Across their last two games, the Colonials have scored just three runs.

Saturday afternoon, GW (9-8) fell to the Rams (11-6) 3-1, dropping the series to a team that they went into the weekend with tied, near the top of the Atlantic 10.

Now the Colonials’ season goal of a conference championship is more in question than ever. Sunday’s game will be GW’s chance to avoid falling to .500 and near the cutoff for qualifying A-10s, which will be played at the end of May at Fordham.

“You got to do a gut check and say,’ ‘Hey, can we find a way? And if we can, we’re going to be set up for playoffs.’,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said.

Heading into the series, GW struck out on average 4.4 times a game in conference play. Friday, the Colonials struck out 12 times and 10 times Saturday.

For junior shortstop Kevin Mahala it was a long day at the plate. Batting in the five-hole, leading the team in RBI this season, he struck out twice, including the final out of the game.

“I’m not really sure what it is exactly. I know taking a lot of pitches early in counts is definitely contributing to it. Hittable pitches,” Mahala said. “Something we need to adjust as a whole team.”

His play at shortstop, normally smooth and solid, was choppy and error-filled on the day.

In the third inning, a leadoff walk followed by a one-out single set up a double play opportunity. A ground ball to junior Eli Kashi was booted to load the bases. Then a groundball up the middle was botched by Mahala – his second error of the day, after misplaying a ball in the second inning – as he looked up to the bag while trying to field the ball. The ball ricocheted into the outfield to allow two runs to score, which would be all Fordham would need to win.

“It starts with the defense,” Mahala said. “We struggled defensively today, especially me. We got to be better there. Jake pitched great all day. It’s just a shame we couldn’t pick it up for him defensively.”

It was an outstanding pitching performance by senior Jacob Williams, who got his first start since before conference play (he had been piggy-backing GW’s other starts during weekend play). Ritchie liked the matchup, with Williams’ history against Fordham.

Williams threw seven-plus innings, scattering eight hits, allowing three runs, one earned and striking out six on 111 pitches. He would be the tough-luck loser on the day, however.

“It’s obviously nice to get the start again, especially as senior and the season’s winding down,” Williams said. “Like I said though, I don’t mind pitching out of the pen or starting. Whatever it takes to help get the team a win.”

Perhaps the best chance to support Williams came in the seventh, when Mahala happened to reach on an error. Junior Andrew Selby singled on a bunt. Then came to bat backup catcher, senior Matthieu Robert, who entered for sophomore Brandon Chapman who had struck out twice on the Fordham starter’s curveball.

Robert attempted to bunt but fouled back three pitches for an out. Sophomore Eric Ramsey then lined out to third base. The inning ended on a failed double steal on a 2-2 count, which Ritchie said was only given if the baserunners got a good jump. Mahala was thrown out at third.

“Obviously there’s a little frustration, but everybody has the same feeling that we know we’re better than the way we’ve played lately,” Williams said. “It’s definitely not a panic, we just need to start playing up to our potential and we have full confidence we can do that.”

Sunday GW will get a chance to respark its sputtered offense. Sophomore Brady Renner is the likely starter, but junior Shane Sweeney could start instead. Regardless of who pitches, the Colonials will need to find their offense to avoid losing control of their own postseason destiny.

“You got a chance to put it in your own hands right there and now you make it tough,” Ritchie said. “It’s still possible. It’s still in our hands really. You have to go out and win some series. Tomorrow for me is a must-win game. It’s an absolute must.”

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This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Josh Solomon.

BRONX, NY— Like the offense of a particular major league team in the Bronx, GW’s has sputtered of late.

Heading into the weekend series against Fordham, the Colonials offense averaged 3.7 runs a game in the prior two Atlantic 10 series. The two before that, GW had scored an average of 7.5 runs a game.

And last week GW struggled to score with the team’s ace on the mound, senior Bobby LeWarne. He pitched a complete game, giving up three runs but the Colonials were nearly no-hit against VCU.

At Fordham Friday afternoon, LeWarne saw nearly no help from his offense again. He gave up two runs in a long first, one run in the third, and gave back three runs after GW scored two in the top half of the fifth.

The Colonials would lose 7–2, leaving 11 runners on base over the course of the game – and striking out 12 times.

“Ugly,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said to start his comments on the game.

“It was not a performance that I think as a group we would be completely proud of,” he said. “It was kind of lackluster a bit. I think it should be a wakeup call to finish this season outright. We’re way better than what we showed.”

LeWarne earned the loss, leaving in the fifth, going 4.1 innings, giving up six runs, all earned, on 12 hits and two walks. He was unable to locate his pitches, missing up in the zone often.

Bobby “The Bull” looked like he was going to live up to his nickname, after escaping a potential early exit in the second inning. LeWarne stranded the bases loaded with no outs after striking out his one batter of the day and then working a 1-2-3 double play on a come-backer to him.

LeWarne would give up one run in the third, but seemed to settle in. In the fifth inning, Fordham led off with a solo home run – as the Rams (24-23, 10-6 A-10) also did to start the first inning – which doubled LeWarne’s home run total on the season to four. The inning quickly unraveled from there, with GW’s starter only able to record one out in the inning before given the hook.

“Oh no, that game is on me,” LeWarne said. “If I throw up a zero after we put up two runs there the game would be completely different.”

The only support LeWarne received though during his outing was courtesy of two runs in the top of the fifth. GW (20-26, 9-7 A-10) put runners on second and third with one out. Junior Bobby Campbell singled back up the middle to drive in two runs, but those would be the lone runs for the Colonials.

“Their guy was tough,” junior Kevin Mahala said. “He was down in the zone consistently throwing strikes, mixing. He made it a little tough for us.”

In the seventh, GW seemed that they would be able to cut the lead back down to two after once again advancing runners to second and third with one out. This time Campbell could not drive in the runs, striking out on a check-swing, while junior Kevin Mahala popped up to first base to end the inning.

“We counterpunched a couple times but we couldn’t come up with big at bats,” Ritchie said. “There were too many panic at bats in situations where you had a chance to put the ball in play and do something.”

GW would also commit two errors on the day. The slick turf field from the morning’s rain caused issues for the Colonials, despite being used to playing on turf at home.

The third run of the game scored on a hard ground ball through the left side of the infield, which was slowed down when it plopped in a puddle of rain and turf, ending a chance to throw out the runner heading home.

The field may remain wet with expected showers Friday night and Saturday morning. The second game of the series is scheduled for 2 p.m. Junior Shane Sweeney (2-3, 4.56 ERA) is the anticipated starter for the Colonials.

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Friday, May 6, 2016 4:29 p.m.

Sophomore forward Cimino to transfer

Sophomore forward Matt Cimino will transfer out of the men’s basketball program, according to a tweet by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein Friday afternoon.

Cimino was forced to redshirt his sophomore season after suffering a foot injury during practice just three games into the season.

As a freshman, the Falmouth, ME native averaged 0.2 points in just 2 minutes of play per game, shooting 36 percent on the year.

After high school, Cimino was given a 78 overall grade by ESPN and was the most highly touted player arriving in Foggy Bottom.

Cimino now becomes the third Colonial in about a month to announce an early departure from the team. Fellow sophomores Anthony Swan and Paul Jorgenson declared their intention to transfer early last month.

Only six players will return as Colonials at the start of next season.

The 6-foot-10 forward’s exit opens up even more room for incoming freshman Kevin Marfo and Arnaldo Toro to get valuable time in the front court.

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This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Josh Solomon.

Mike Lonergan looked like mayor of The Tuck for the day.

Everywhere he turned, the full crowd for Saturday’s doubleheader against VCU greeted him. He was shaking hands with the Tucker Field faithful and baseball players’ family members – all there to see if the Colonials could sweep the two games and potentially move into first place in the conference.

Sitting quietly in the stands were also men’s basketball junior guard Matt Hart and National Invitation Tournament MVP Tyler Cavanaugh.

It was somewhat an uncomfortable reminder though, of how important a conference game can be, particularly against a league-leading team like VCU. The basketball Rams are March Madness regulars and the baseball Rams made it to the NCAA Super Regional last year.

Though of course the men’s basketball team finished its season on such a high-note, it was games like these where if the game had had a more positive outcome, the Colonials might have been dancing in the NCAA Tournament instead.

And with a season goal for the baseball team of winning the Atlantic 10 Championship, and in turn the College World Series, GW could have benefited from a series win.

If the Colonials lost the series to VCU, it wouldn’t be the end of their hopes to win the A-10 Championship – but it would toughen their chances of winning the regular season and put them in a tight spot in the final three series to end the season, jockeying for a good seed in the conference tournament later in May.

“It’s tough because a team like VCU, they make a Super Regional and you really want to beat them,” closer, junior Eddie Muhl said. “Most of the time we try not to be result oriented. We battled our hearts out and we left it all out on the field and I’m really happy with how we played.”

And so GW played the series like each game was the final game of the season.

After Friday’s 3-0 loss, in a game in which they were one out away from being no-hit, head coach Gregg Ritchie was still planning to win the game until the final out.

“Make no doubt about it, the single game we won is huge. It’s utterly huge,” Ritchie said of the win and of the doubleheader. “The big things these guys need to know is what they did is special. It’s a special game they played, to be a part of something like that. Let it propel you forward with confidence into next week and the next series.”

And that’s why Saturday you saw something you probably have and may never see again (among an array of baseball novelties) – the team’s lockdown closer coming in the game for 6.1 innings, throwing 94 pitches from the seventh to the 13th and final inning. Convention went by the wayside; winning went to the forefront.

Muhl went back out every inning. Occasionally a pitcher would be up in the bullpen to warm up. At other times, it seemed sophomore Robbie Metz would come in from second to pitch, since there is no midweek game this coming week for him to start.

“I was going to go until win or lose,” Muhl said. “I just tried to give us a chance to battle and I was going until they took the ball out of my hand.”

Nevertheless, Ritchie went for the win and Muhl felt fine. He would finally give up the go-ahead run in the top of the 13th on a bases loaded infield single, in which the batter just beat a throw from across the diamond by junior Kevin Mahala.

Back in the first game of the doubleheader – a day in which the first pitch was thrown at noon and the final pitch was thrown at 8:55 p.m. – Ritchie used 16 different position players in an effort to find the right combination, whether it was the perfect person to bunt, run, or blast, he did everything he could to find the perfect fit. In that game, he did. GW took the 10-inning contest 4–3.

In the second game, both teams had missed opportunities to win the game throughout extra innings, as so often is the case, but this one went the way of VCU, whose corner outfielders made diving catch after diving catch to help secure the eventual win.

But Ritchie said he recognizes the importance of every game to help his team achieve their team goals, with the rigors of the regular season baseball schedule.

“You need to reflect in the right way,” Ritchie said. “It’s a matter of clarity in those situations. And there are sometimes when they don’t trust the plan. We did so many things, it’s really hard to say, what about this, what about, c’mon, it’s 13 innings of just getting after it, back and forth, back and forth. That’s just the game. That’s the way it goes, you can’t be perfect.”

For now, it’s nine A-10 games until the conference tournament against Fordham (9-6), Richmond (9-9) and Saint Louis (10-5).

GW (9-6) is currently tied with Fordham and Saint Joseph’s and sits one game back of league leaders VCU (12-6), Rhode Island (10-5) and Saint Louis. First place might not be GW’s right now, but it certainly is still attainable.

“Could’ve done it today, just right there, that game,” Ritchie said. “So it’s going to be nip and tuck the rest of the way with six or seven teams.”

And a future meeting with VCU could be in store. If that happens, how does Ritchie feel?

“I feel we’re better and that’s the truth,” he said.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Pete Hoegler.

Saturday provided a little bit of everything one could want in the sport of baseball: a walk-off, extra innings, two suicide squeezes, GW’s closer pitching five innings and a manager getting ejected.

But after 23 total innings, GW split its doubleheader against first-place VCU, dropping the series two games to one despite a thrilling final day of play.

Game 1

Down 3–2 with two outs and two on in the bottom of the tenth, junior Kevin Mahala had a full count against one of the best closers in the country in VCU junior Sam Donko.

“With two strikes you just got to battle,” said Mahala. “You can’t get beat.”

And he didn’t. Mahala finally got hold of an inside fastball and drove it up the middle. VCU’s shortstop dove, kept it from getting into the outfield, spun, and gunned it over to first–not realizing sophomore Mark Osis was coming around from second base for the game-winning run.

The 4–3 victory kept GW (20-25, 9-6 A-10) from slipping in the Atlantic 10 standings, and with only three series’ left, the Colonials will be looking to stay within at least the top-four to avoid a play-in game at the A-10 Tournament in late May.

“Both sides came to play today,” head coach Gregg Ritchie, said after the game. “We came up big in the first game, and they did in the second. A lot of our guys stepped up.”

Before Mahala’s late-game heroics, junior starter Shane Sweeney had put GW in a 2–0 hole early after giving up a home run in the top of the third.

Ritchie knew his club had to have this one, so after seeing Sweeney get hit hard early, he went to his senior, Jacob Williams, who went the rest of the way giving up only one runs on five hits.

The Colonials got on the board in the bottom of the seventh after two doubles from Mahala and sophomore Brandon Chapman. But after leaving Chapman in scoring position in the seventh, and getting nothing together in the eighth, GW put everything on the line in the ninth against the nation’s leader in saves.

With one out, junior Cody Bryant knotted the score at two with a base-knock to right, scoring junior Larry McCabe, who pinch-ran for slugger Bobby Campbell. Sophomore Robbie Metz grounded out on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded to end the inning.

In the top of the 10th, senior Eddie Muhl could not hold the tie–giving up a single up the middle to put VCU (30-15, 12-6 A-10) up 3–2 before the Colonials took the decision in walk-off fashion.

Game 2

Despite riding high off energy from game one’s finish, GW was not able to overcome another comeback win against VCU, falling in 14 innings, 8–7.

Once again Ritchie did not get much from his starter, sophomore Brady Renner, who went two and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits. After Ritchie went to his bullpen, VCU continued to come up with solid contact and added two more runs in the fourth to stretch the lead to 6–0.

GW responded with two runs in the bottom half of the frame after an RBI single by Campbell and an RBI groundout by junior Cody Bryant.

In the fifth, junior Andrew Selby led things off with a double roped down the right field line. Although Bartosic missed the suicide squeeze after Selby moved over, he was able to convert on an RBI single through the hole later in the bat. Mark Osis connected on an RBI single with two outs to cut the VCU lead to 6–4 later in the inning.

GW completed the comeback in the seventh inning, tying the score at seven. After a leadoff double by Metz, a single by Bartosic, and a nine-pitch walk from Campbell, Mahala laced a two-RBI double down the left field line.

Into extra innings, Ritchie elected to go with closer Eddie Muhl, who pitched 5.1 innings of scoreless baseball. Though he ran into a jam in the twelfth, Muhl pitched his way out of it, leaving runners at first and third.

When asked why he let his closer go like that, Ritchie said, “We just kept sending him out there, and he kept doing his thing.”

“This was the most I’ve pitched since high school and I can honestly say that my arm feels great,” Muhl said.

GW had an opportunity to win the game in the tenth inning with runners in scoring position, but Metz’s line drive was caught by a diving VCU right-fielder to close the frame.

“Our guys grew a lot this game,” said Ritchie. “We knew it was going to be tough to win both, but we’re confident we’re the better side, that’s the truth. I’m proud of this group.”

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Robby Metz (left) and Joey Bartosic (right) fist bump teammates prior to a game last weekend. On Friday, the Colonials lost their series opener 3–0 to first-place VCU. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Robby Metz (left) and Joey Bartosic (right) fist bump teammates prior to a game last weekend. On Friday, Bartosic ended a no-hitter in the ninth inning, but the Colonials lost their series opener 3–0 to first-place VCU. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Josh Solomon.

Senior, ace of the staff, Bobby LeWarne pitched nine innings in GW’s series opener against VCU.

A chance to take over first place in the conference was at stake.

LeWarne threw up zeros from the third inning on. But that didn’t matter when the other side was throwing a no-hitter.

The Rams’ freshman Michael Dailey held the Colonials hitless into the ninth. GW brought up two pinch hitters to start the inning. A sinking line drive was caught on a head-first diving catch by the left fielder. A ground ball out took care of the second.

GW’s speedy leadoff hitter, junior Joey Bartosic then grounded a ball to short. He beat the throw, with no complaints from the VCU bench. And with that, Dailey exited the game.

But GW was down three after LeWarne gave up one run in the first and two in the second.

So the Rams sent in their closer, who leads the country in saves, to record the final out. He got sophomore Robbie Metz to pop up to second base to end the game, misexecuting the gameplay. Sophomore Mark Osis loomed on deck.

“We were absolutely trying to win it,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “You’re looking for Osis to come in against that guy, who’s going to [throw a breaking ball], right back into the barrel, leave the yard and all of a sudden we have a tied game. I was thinking that the whole way.”

VCU (11-5) won 3-0, but there was no, no-hitter Friday afternoon under the lights on a cool, overcast day at The Tuck.

There was also no win by GW (8-5), which will make a series win over the Rams difficult. The two teams will square off in a doubleheader Saturday, starting at noon, because of the expected inclement weather Sunday.

“I have a lot of confidence in our team,” LeWarne said.”But sometimes the game just doesn’t go your way.”

Bobby “The Bull” ran into an issue in the first, eventually loading the bases with one out. He forced a fly out to right. The strong relay throw in hit the cutoff man and was directed to third base, where the Colonials picked up the third out of the inning, but not before VCU scored one run.

The inning was helped by a hit by pitch call. After LeWarne hit the batter, Ritchie went out to discuss the call. The batter may have been over the plate, and not within the confines of the box, of which the details of the official rule have changed in the past few years.

“It’s a hard rule for everybody,” Ritchie said. “It’s not the umpire’s fault, it’s not the coach’s fault. It’s a tough rule that I think we need to continue to look at.”

Regardless a run scored and then LeWarne gave up another two in the second, in part because of an error on a pickoff play to second. The two runs were brought in on a double off the left center field wall, which today’s left fielder, junior Eric Ramsey bobbled for a moment eliminating a chance for a relay throw to get the second out. Sophomore Mark Osis, still plagued by a hamstring injury, was at designated hitter instead of in left again.

“I just wanted to get on the mound and keep throwing zeros,” LeWarne said. “Give us a chance to win.”

GW did not get lucky during the game though. Often a hit or two will sneak through the infield or bloop in front of an outfielder, particularly when the team has been playing well.

As the innings rolled on, it was clear that the couple hard hit balls junior Bobby Campbell hit and the ball junior Kevin Mahala hit to the warning track in center were not going to land for hits today. A bunt attempt by junior Andrew Selby went foul. A hit and run by junior Eli Kashi failed.

“He’s a consummate strike thrower,” Ritchie said. “You’re going to get pitches to hit. It’s whether hit stuff is working and whether you’re on the ball.”

Ritchie cited too many fly ball outs as an issue for them today. The approach at the plate wasn’t what he had wanted, knowing his team needed to put the ball on the ground to use their speed to their advantage.

Mahala weakly hit the first pitch of his at bat to lead off the eighth inning, after making a specular sliding, spinning and twirling throw from the hole at short to end the top half of the inning. It seemed to be a chance to shift momentum, with a lively bench ready to react to anything

“To take a not-your-swing type swing on the first pitch with nobody on, leading off is just a wasted opportunity,” Ritchie said.

And if it was wasn’t for Bartosic’s hustle two-out, ninth inning single the game would have entered the conference record books.

Tomorrow, GW will gear up to play two. The bullpen is fresh, without a midweek game this week because of a rainout against James Madison, and LeWarne’s complete game.

Who will start game one though, junior Shane Sweeney, the usual Saturday starter, or sophomore Brady Renner, the typical Sunday starter still being stretched out from his shoulder strain?

“Don’t know,” Ritchie said.

When will Ritchie know?

“I’ll know when he gets in the bullpen.”

Who?

“Whoever it is.”

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Friday, April 29, 2016 1:55 p.m.

Preview: Baseball vs. VCU

Hatchet File Photo by Andrew Goodman | Senior Staff Photographer

Hatchet File Photo by Andrew Goodman | Senior Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Josh Solomon.

What: Baseball (8–4 A-10) vs. VCU (10-5 A-10), Conference Series

Where: Tucker Field at Barcroft Park, Arlington, Va.

When: Friday, April 29 at 3 p.m.; Saturday, at 1 p.m.; Sunday, at 12 p.m.

It’s first place versus second place.

Well, one of five teams in second place. All five of those Atlantic 10 teams also have fewer losses than the first-place Rams – who have more wins than any other team in the league.

It’s VCU versus GW this weekend: a matchup at home that the Colonials certainly have had circled on their calendars all season. It’s their final home series before Commencement weekend, and they’re up against the top team in the A-10.

GW is fresh off a series win at Dayton, which has moved them into a five-way tie for second place. The home series against the Rams is vital, not only for the Colonials’ record and chance to make a move to the top of the conference, but also as a potential mental win.

Case for the Colonials:

If GW has been loud on the bench during the last few series, this week should be even louder at the Tuck.

If the Colonials want to take the first-place spot, starting pitching is vital.

Senior Bobby LeWarne has been cruising during A-10 play (tied for the lead in A-10 wins, four), but will face a tough VCU lineup. Junior Shane Sweeney has pitched well but has was a bit of a tough-luck loser last week. Sophomore Brady Renner, still rehabbing his injury, should continue to get closer to throwing a normal game – while senior Jacob Williams continues to excite out of the bullpen.

GW has averaged a little less than half a run per game in conference play than VCU this season: GW’s 4.83 runs per game to the Rams’ 4.4. Since getting their big guns healthy – in sophomore Mark Osis (batting a team-high .379) and junior Kevin Mahala (driven in a team-high 37 RBIs) – the Colonials have averaged 5.83 runs per game. With that run production, GW should be able to win.

Case for the Rams:

Last year VCU won the A-10 Championship. They went on to the College World Series, winning their way to the NCAA Super Regionals. It was an impressive run, and this year they have rebounded off of last year’s success.

The Rams boast a 27-14 record, on top of their conference leading 10-5 record. They defeated Georgia Tech, Virginia and William & Mary this season. VCU opened A-10 play with a sweep of St. Bonaventure, followed by a series win over Dayton, before suffering their first A-10 series loss to Rhode Island.

The Rams rebounded from that road loss with a road sweep of La Salle.

Last weekend VCU lost two of three to their crosstown rival, Richmond. Following the Rams’ previous series loss, they rebounded a series sweep on the road. The team has shown its resiliency all season long.

VCU has the second-best ERA in conference, at 2.51 – with GW just behind in third at 3.00. And the team’s pitchers average a league-high 7.84 strikeouts per nine innings. Junior left hander, Brooks Vial leads the league in the strikeouts per game at 10.69.

The only closer to have more saves in the A-10 than GW’s junior Eddie Muhl (5) is VCU’s junior Sam Donko (6).

Junior Matt Davis leads the team and is second in the conference with his .429 batting average.

The bottom line:

Expectations of a sweep this weekend would be pretty high for GW. Expectations of a series win, with a preseason expectation of an A-10 Championship, should not be surprising.

With the excitement of playing at home and with a chance to claim first place, the Colonials could show the conference that they are the cream of the crop. A healthy GW team should be able to win against any other team in the A-10, and this weekend could be a testament to that, with a now more potent offense and stable starting staff.

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Harvard transfer Patrick Steeves has committed to the men’s basketball program according to a report from CBSSports’ Jon Rothstein Friday.

Steeves becomes the newest member of a Colonials team that finished its 2015-2016 season as NIT Champions. He joins the 2016-2017 squad that is returning starters sophomore Yuta Wantanabe and redshirt junior Tyler Cavanaugh.

The Montreal, Quebec native sat out his first three years with the Crimson due to recurring injuries to his foot and knee.

After graduating from Harvard this spring, Steeves will be able to join the Colonials immediately with two years of eligibility remaining.

As a 6-foot-7 forward, Steeves did not start this past season but was an important contributor at Harvard down the stretch and in conference games. He averaged 9.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his senior year.

Steeves’ 45.8 percent shooting from three-point range should prove useful for the Colonials after the loss of sharpshooter and fellow Ivy League transfer Alex Mitola.

 

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