This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ellee Watson.
The baseball team kept playoff hopes alive Thursday, winning a crucial road match against St. Bonaventure 7-5 in the first of a three-game series.
The win marks the fifth-straight victory for a GW team that is steadily chasing Fordham for the seventh and final spot in the Atlantic 10 Championships, which start next week.
To make the A-10 Championships in St. Louis, the Colonials have in front of them a handful of scenarios that also rely on the play of Fordham and Richmond. After winning twice Thursday against VCU, Fordham currently sits at 13-13 in the A-10 standings with one game left to play. Richmond, which lost to Rhode Island 6-5 Thursday, are 11-12 and have two games remaining against the Rams.
If Fordham sweeps VCU, the Rams are securely in the playoffs. However, if Fordham loses to VCU Friday and the Colonials sweep the Bonnies, GW will earn a spot in the tournament.
The situation is similar with the Spiders. If Richmond wins the final two games against Rhode Island, it will be enough to secure a playoff berth. But if the Spiders drop one or both remaining games to the Rams, coupled with a Colonials sweep of St. Bonaventure, GW will be headed to the playoffs.
Knowing the stakes, the players started strong out of the gate, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. After freshman Joey Bartosic’s single to the pitcher, the Colonials stole two bases and strung together two hits, leading to two runs batted in and a two-run lead at the end of the first.
Starting pitcher Aaron Weisberg struggled to slow down the bats of the Bonnies offense, allowing 11 hits and four runs – two earned – through seven innings. The senior’s go-to pitch of the afternoon was his fastball as Weisberg tossed 94 fastballs out of the 113 total pitches he threw in the outing.
After only scoring one run in seven innings, the Bonnies made a late surge in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored three runs on four hits off of Weisberg. Luke Staub, a senior, relieved Weisberg with one out in the inning and quickly retired the side. Staub also pitched the ninth inning for GW, allowing one run while earning the save and cementing the win for Weisberg.
Although the Bonnies outhit the colonials 14-9, GW capitalized on a number of at-bats with runners in scoring position to secure the win. The Colonials showed a balanced offense Thursday as each of their seven runs were scored by different players.
Head coach Gregg Ritchie dismissed the hit count, saying he thought his team had the better offense.
“We had quality at-bats up and down the lines and had six walks,” Ritchie said. “We executed hit-and-runs, bunts, squeezes, and those were big at-bats.”
Five of the seven starting freshmen – Andrew Selby, Cody Bryant, Kevin Mahala, Eli Kashi and Bartosic – all scored runs for the Colonials. Junior Ryan Xepoleas and senior Owen Beightol boasted the other two runs.
“The top five guys in particular really executed well, and then freshman Jon Steele followed with an RBI ground-out,” Ritchie said.
The Colonials face St. Bonaventure in the second game Friday at 2 p.m.