Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

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.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments
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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

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.

 

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Hosts from left to right: Chelsea Raineri, Rob Craven and Lauren Chase open the fifth annual Georgey Awards. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Hosts from left to right: Chelsea Raineri, Rob Craven and Lauren Chase open the fifth annual Georgey Awards. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Student athletes, coaches, athletics staff and special guests gathered at Lisner Auditorium Tuesday night for the fifth annual Georgey Awards.

The ceremony, co-hosted by gymnastics junior Chelsea Ranieri, women’s basketball graduate student Lauren Chase and cross country/track senior Rob Craven, honored and celebrated the greatest achievements in GW sports of the 2015-2016 academic year.

Juniors Andrea Bolognesi and Tyler Cavanaugh shared the Georgey for Male Athlete of the Year, as swimming and diving’s first-ever All-American and men’s basketball’s leading scorer, respectively.

“I want to thank my family for the love and support they’ve given me all of these years,” Bolognesi said. “I’d also like to thank my second family, my team. This year everyone of you guys, by working and giving 100 percent in every single practice, motivated me to give my 100 percent. Without your motivation, passion and support everything I did this year could not have been possible.”

The Georgey for Female Athlete of the Year went to women’s basketball senior Jonquel Jones, recently acquired by the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.

“Being at GW has been a humbling experience, it’s been an experience I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life,” Jones said in a video acceptance speech. “I’ve given a lot to the University, but I’ve also gained so much in return.”

Men’s tennis took home the Team of the Year award after capturing its third consecutive Atlantic 10 title earlier this month, while men’s basketball’s NIT Championship victory won Best Colonials Moment.

The night also featured a musical tribute performed by junior Connor Barrett, a fellow teammate and friend of the late Nick Upton, a member of the men’s rowing team who drowned while studying abroad at Cape Town University last August.

GW Board of Trustee member Ave Tucker accepts the "Raise High Award" at the Georgey Awards. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

GW Board of Trustee member Ave Tucker accepts the “Raise High Award” at the Georgey Awards. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Trustee and GW baseball alum Ave Tucker, who donated $2 million to the University in October 2014, half of which went to the athletics department, was also honored with the Raise High award.

“GW is a place that gives opportunities to people, and they gave a lot of opportunities to me and my family,” Tucker said. “I encourage all of you to do what you can when you leave here to stay close to the University, mentor athletes, give them advice, hire athletes and if you’re lucky enough to support it, help with continuing to make the University and the athletics department great and greater.”

Here’s a complete list of Tuesday night’s winners:

Rookie of the Year (Male): Logan Lowe, Golf

Rookie of the Year (Female): Sofia Pavon, Women’s soccer

Raise High Our Community award (Male): Ben Fitch, Swimming and Diving

Raise High Our Community award (Female): Emma Gaquin, Swimming and Diving

Raise High Our Community Team award: Gymnastics

Female Team MVPs: Brooke Stoller (Soccer), Maddy Doyle (Volleyball), Miranda DiBaisio (Cross Country and Track), Megan Linn (Softball), Scarlett Hallahan (Water Polo), Elyse Pengeroth (Rowing), Marie-Louise Decamps (Tennis), Breanne Flynn (Squash), Emily Zhang (Swimming and Diving), Lauren Chase (Basketball), Jillian Winstanley (Gymnastics)

Raise High award: Ave Tucker, Baseball alum

Best Athlete in a Supporting Role (Female): Brooke Bean, Women’s soccer

Best Athlete in a Supporting Role (Male): Matt Robért, Baseball

Colonials Fan of the Year (tie): Kate Bell and Jon Hering

Male Team MVPs: Pierce Deamer (Water Polo), Ryan Tucker (Cross Country and Track), Tyler Cavanaugh (Basketball), Garrett Heine (Soccer), Andrea Bolognesi (Swimming and Diving), Jordan Tewksbury-Volpe (Rowing), Logan Lowe (Golf), Chris Reynolds (Tennis), Moudy Abdel-Maksoud (Squash)

Dan Black award: Lauren Chase, Women’s basketball

Outstanding Academic Achievement: Colin Kennedy (Sailing), Jen Nichols (Women’s rowing), Maddie Brown (Volleyball) , Taylor Brimberg (Sailing), Christopher Shaffer (Cross Country and Track), Marie-Louise Decamps (Women’s tennis)

Distinguished Scholar: Lana Robins, Women’s tennis

All-Americans: Anna Porras (Women’s squash), Jonquel Jones (Women’s basketball), Andrea Bolognesi (Men’s swimming and diving), Breanne Flynn (Women’s squash)

Female Academic Team of the Year: Women’s tennis

Male Academic Team of the Year: Cross Country and Track

Red Auerbach award (Female): Maggie Skjelbred, Volleyball

Red Auerbach award (Male): Patricio Garino, Men’s basketball

Team of the Year: Men’s tennis

Male Athlete of the Year (tie): Andrea Bolognesi (Swimming and Diving) and Tyler Cavanaugh (Men’s basketball)

Elana Meyers Female Athlete of the Year: Jonquel Jones, Women’s basketball

Best Colonials Moment: Men’s basketball winning the NIT Championship

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Sophomore Morgan Rinehart hits the ball in a game against Fordham earlier this season. Rinehart was one of seven Colonials with an RBI in GW's 13–11 victory at Georgetown Wednesday night. Hatchet File Photo by Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Sophomore Morgan Rinehart hits the ball in a game against Fordham earlier this season. Rinehart was one of seven Colonials with an RBI in GW’s 13–11 victory at Georgetown Wednesday night. Hatchet File Photo by Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

GW had led by as much as six runs in its non-conference finale with Georgetown Wednesday night. However, after some late-game struggles on the mound, softball found itself tied 10–10 heading into the final frame.

But head coach Stacey Schramm was never nervous. Her team had been hitting the ball all night long.

Freshman left fielder Riley Tejcek, starting in place of junior Monica Macchiarulo, out with an injury, led off the top of the seventh with a triple.

Her powerful blast to right field, Tejcek’s career-high fourth hit of the game, sparked a four-hit, three-run inning that clinched a 13–11 road win over the Hoyas.

GW (21-20, 8-6 A-10) also put up a season-high 17 hits while matching its season-high runs total (13) in the two-run decision, which handed the team its third straight victory as it gears up for the final leg of Atlantic 10 play.

“With a cross-town rivalry like that, people want to show up and play, so for us to come out and hit the way we did–we just had a blast tonight,” Schramm said. “It really kind of gives us momentum heading into this weekend, knowing we can score runs and even let some runs up but that we can still overcome.”

The visitor’s bats were red-hot out of the gate. The Colonials jumped to a 4–0 lead in the top of the first as sophomore Alana Anderson, seniors Morgan Matetic and Carlee Gray, and Tejcek all batted in runs.

Freshman starting pitcher Jayme Cone (2-6), making her 11th start this year, let up two runs in the bottom half of the inning, but the Colonials’ offense responded in a big way.

A lead-off double from sophomore Rochelle Draper and a single from junior Megan Linn, the team’s leading-hitter on the season, got the second inning started. Junior Paige Kovalsky followed with her third home run of the year to put GW up 7–2.

“I thought it was going to be over early,” Schramm said. “[The early lead] was huge. It reassured the team that if [Georgetown] scored some runs, so what? We scored seven in two innings. In the past my team would probably press a little bit tied up going into the seventh inning, but it was just so loose and that had a lot to do with it, just being able to manufacture runs so easily.”

Tejcek continued to impress at the plate in the top of the third. The rookie connected for her first career homer, pounding the ball deep to left center on a solo shot that put her team ahead by a commanding six runs less than halfway through the contest.

Tejcek ended the day as GW’s top hitter, going 4-4 with two runs and tying Kovalsky with a team-high three RBIs.

“We had a player go down, Monica [Macchiarulo], so Riley [Tejcek] is stepping in and filling her shoes, and [today] she killed it,” Schramm said. “So it might be a blessing in disguise for her to able to showcase what she can do. I’m so happy for her. She’s been working so hard.”

Despite two scoreless innings from Cone in the second and third, the first-year pitcher lost her edge in the bottom of the fourth. Off four hits in the frame, the Hoyas (8-30) climbed back into it with a big-time five-run inning. Kovalsky (7-6) came in to relieve Cone, who finished her outing after just 3.2 innings pitched, giving up eight hits, six earned runs and four walks.

Tejcek and Linn picked RBIs behind two GW hits in the fifth to regain a 10–7 lead.

Kovalsky threw a scoreless fifth, but let Georgetown back in the game once more in the sixth conceding three runs on four hits but escaped with two runners left on base with the score knotted at 10.

Aided by three GW runs in the seventh, brought in by Linn, sophomore Morgan Rinehart and Anderson, Kovalsky closed out the contest, allowing just one run to thwart Georgetown’s hopes at a comeback.

In 3.1 innings of action, Kovalsky picked up the win, allowing four earned runs on six hits.

“[Kovalsky] is just such an all-around asset for us as a team,” Schramm said. “I love her at third base, and she’s a great hitter, but to be able to switch gears and come in and shut a team down like that is just phenomenal. That’s what my team is all about. Whatever they need to do to pick their teammate up is what they do.”

With the win, the Colonials move above .500 with an overall 21-20 record. GW returns home Saturday to kick off a three-game series with conference foe Massachusetts.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 11:15 p.m.

Preview: Baseball at Dayton

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

Updated: April 21, 2016 at 12:25 a.m.

What: Baseball (6–4 A-10) vs. Dayton (4-8 A-10), Conference Series

Where: Woerner Field, Dayton, Ohio

When: Friday, April 22 at 3 p.m.; Saturday, at 1 p.m.; Sunday, at 12 p.m.

The tides have turned for the Colonials.

Last weekend, GW swept George Mason at home, showing off their recently healed lineup, a fairly dominant bullpen and the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack.

GW picked up a team anthem while on its bus ride back from Davidson the previous weekend. Against GMU, the Colonials talked up a storm on the bench, sounding at times more like a Little League team than a Division I college team. But that’s a good thing for them, because for the first time all season, it seems like they are consistently having fun.

“The college season is a little dissimilar to the pro, where in the pro it’s just every single solitary day,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said, after Sunday’s sweep over the Patriots. “We got a weekend. We can get you fired up for a weekend.”

The team’s starting shortstop, junior Kevin Mahala, is back on the field after working through a hip flexor injury (and homering in Tuesday’s 7-2 win against Towson) and the team’s top hitter this season, sophomore Mark Osis, is back in left field after recovering from a pulled hamstring.

“They’re two guys that the team has looked to for probably the better part of 25 games,” Ritchie said. “To be guys that lead the team a little bit by their actions and by their performance. It was huge to have them back. It had an effect.”

Finally looking like the team they set out to be, the Colonials head to Dayton with another chance to win an A-10 series and maybe even sweep the Flyers.

Case for the Colonials:

Set aside the additions of two of GW’s top hitters, Mahala and Osis – the Colonials still have had one of the best hitters in A-10 play in their lineup all season.

Fresh off of an A-10 Player of the Week award, junior Bobby Campbell is red-hot. He leads the conference in on-base percentage (.524) and ranks fourth in batting average (.455). Also, Campbell is tied for third in the conference in RBIs (10). The Colonials first baseman showed his consistency after another two-RBI day Tuesday against Towson.

GW’s deep lineup bodes well against a Dayton pitching staff whose team earned run average in conference games is 4.08.

The Colonials bullpen is in a good spot after using only seven pitchers last weekend. Against Towson earlier this week, they used another two – sophomore Robbie Metz going an impressive 7.0 innings – yielding eight hits and one run, and sophomore Tyler Swiggart finishing it out.

The Colonials dropped their Wednesday night game 2-1 at Georgetown, but the bullpen proved to be solid. Sophomore Chance Malek, junior Jordan Sheinkop and junior Eddie Muhl combined for five innings of hitless baseball in relief.

GW, now winners of five of their last six, bring a hot lineup and strong bullpen into Ohio.

Case for the Flyers:

Dayton needs to not commit errors if the Flyers want to come out on top.

The team ranks dead last in fielding defense in the conference with 21 errors. GW is tied for first in committed errors with six in A-10 play.

During conference play, Dayton has allowed 49 earned runs and 72 total runs. The team’s offense has scored 58 runs.

The Flyers also boast three batters hitting over .300 in A-10 play: senior Cameron Silva (.371), junior Nick Ryan (.356) and redshirt-junior Mitch Coughlin (.311). Freshman Connor Echols leads the A-10 in walks (10).

Senior Sam Brunner has the fifth-best ERA in the A-10 during conference play, at 0.98 in six games in relief. Freshman Austin Cline ranks sixth with 21 strikeouts.

Last year, Dayton went 5-19 in conference and GW swept them. This year if the team defense can play fairly error free, they may have a chance of coming away successful against the Colonials.

The bottom line:

It is always difficult to sweep on the road, but this series poses a good opportunity for the Colonials. With momentum finally in their favor, a fully stacked bullpen and a fully functioning offense, GW could win three in a row from the Flyers.

Plus, now is the time to win. Three of GW’s four remaining A-10 series are against teams who are tied or are better than them in the standings: VCU (9-3) the weekend of April 29, Fordham (6-3) the weekend of May 6 and the regular season finale the weekend of May 13 against Saint Louis (7-2).

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Senior Luke Olson threw eight shutout innings to clinch a series sweep over George Mason Sunday as the Colonials took down the Patriots 6–3. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

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

On the bus ride back from Davidson last weekend, GW finished watching the Pirates of Caribbean series.

The Colonials had just lost the series to the Wildcats, losing the final game by one run. The team was also playing without its full lineup.

A team without its top crew just isn’t as effective.

They were missing the strength of their three and four-hole hitters. Left fielder, sophomore Mark Osis had been out since before Atlantic 10 play began with a pulled hamstring and shortstop, junior Kevin Mahala was battling a hip flexor injury, restricting him to designated hitter.

This weekend against George Mason, GW had all hands on deck: Osis was back in left field and Mahala was back out at shortstop, for Saturday and Sunday’s games. The lineup was potent, scoring 24 runs in the three games. Every time the Colonials scored a run the PA system played the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack and the players on the bench could be heard leading the chant.

“It’s not even dissimilar to what we did with the Pirates one year when we had Zoltan. Remember that?” Ritchie said. “Saw the movie [Pirates of the Caribbean], hadn’t seen it a long time and just loved it and got fired up. There was that energy. That movie gives a lot of energy. There’s a lot of battles. We were all just talking about it. Let’s roll, let’s battle like this.”

The Colonials would right their season’s ship, improving to 6-3 after a series sweep over George Mason, closed out by a 9–3 Sunday win at The Tuck.

And while GW’s Sunday win showed off its offensive potential, senior Luke Olson stole the spotlight.

Olson relieved sophomore Brady Renner, who went one inning, giving up three runs, two earned, walking two and striking out two all on 46 pitches.

The submariner came in thinking he would just try to throw up some zeroes for a few innings. He left the game when it was over – pitching eight shutout innings and allowing three hits on over 99 pitches.

“I’m definitely tired, but it was a fun eight innings,” Olson said. “I was glad I was pitching well. Pretty much all of my pitches were working.”

Everytime Olson got to a two strike count or struck out a batter the bench would holler at him “Oi Oi Oi,” the Australian sports chant. Olson’s PA song is the popular Australian song, “Down Under” by Men at Work, a play off of his down under delivery.

“That was weird. The first time I heard it, I was like ‘Woah, what is that?’,” Olson said. “It was cool though. I was trying to hide my smile out there.”

As Olson dazzled on the mound with his fastball, slider combo, his teammates put up runs behind him to break open the game.

In the fifth inning, GW scored four runs on four hits.

Junior Bobby Campbell continued his torrid pace, working a walk to start the inning, coming back down in the count two strikes. In the series he went 4-10, with five runs scored and three RBI – a week after batting .571 against Davidson. His batting average is now up to .357.

A hit and run by sophomore Matt Cosentino, in the designated hitter spot to help lengthen the lineup, landed runners on first and second with one out. Then a steal by Campbell, followed by an overthrown ball allowed him to score and moved Cosentino to second.

Sophomore Brandon Chapman would single in Cosentino with a bloop hit to center and later junior Joey Bartosic would drive in two runs with his rip to the left center field 363 feet marker for a double, and his third hit of the day.

In the bottom of the first inning, following a top half where it looked like GW’s chance for a sweep would be limited, the Colonials came back out and plated three of their own. Mahala doubled in the third run of the inning for his one hit of the day.

“We had a lot of energy today,” Mahala said. “Just real hot. I don’t know what it was today, but we just woke up with a lot of energy and kept it rolling throughout the game. You go down three in the first inning and to keep the energy like that is a big step forward for the team.”

With Mahala and Osis, regardless of their personal production, the team is deeper both in the field and at the plate. And mentally, when you have two of your top hitters fully back in the lineup, you know you have a good chance.

“It was great, it was one of the few times that they had that much energy throughout the entire three games, one through nine, all nine, every game, boom, boom, boom, no matter what,” Ritchie said. “We’re having a lot of fun.”

Series Recap

Game 1: GW 1, GMU 0

Although it didn’t play out as pretty as it sounds – ace of the staff to the setup man to the closer for a 1-0 shutout victory – GW did win the series opener against the Patriots off of a formula that they have been looking to execute.

Senior Bobby LeWarne picked up his team-high fifth win of the season, going six innings, scattering five hits and striking out six with 104 pitches. He had to wiggle out of some kind of trouble in every inning. Freshman Justin Friedman escaped his own trouble in the seventh, and junior Eddie Muhl had to sweat it out too before earning his ninth save of the season.

Campbell collected GW’s first hit of the game in the fifth with a double. Junior Cody Bryant would drive him in with a double of his own.

Game 2: GW 14, GMU 4

In the team’s first game with a full, healthy lineup since before A-10 play started, the offense clicked for 14 runs, eight earned. The Colonials put up crooked numbers in the third and fourth, scoring eight and five runs, respectively.

Chapman hit a grand slam, and went 2-3 on the day with two runs scored and five RBI. Osis went 3-5, with two runs scored and one RBI.

GW used just two pitches, starter, junior Shane Sweeney, who went 4.2 innings and allowed four runs, three earned on 90 pitches. Senior Jacob Williams would get the win, his third of the season, closing the final 4.1 innings, allowing one hit and striking out four on 60 pitches.

Up Next: GW will host Towson, Tuesday at 3 p.m. Sophomore Robbie Metz is a potential candidate to start, among a whole, fairly rested bullpen – after the Colonials used seven pitchers between three games.

The team will resume conference play on the road at Dayton (4-8) this weekend. The starting rotation is expected to stay the same: LeWarne, Sweeney, Renner.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

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

Opposing pitcher Tyler Zombro entered the game with a 1-6 record and a 7.09 ERA.

Entering the fifth inning, the George Mason junior was throwing a perfect game.

GW senior Bobby LeWarne had matched Zombro to that point in the Atlantic 10 series opener – although it was a little more stressful.

In the top half of the fifth, with one out, LeWarne had a runner on third, after a failed pickoff attempt. He struck out the two-hitter. Then a brief mound visit by his catcher and first baseman, junior Bobby Campbell, calmed LeWarne down before he faced the Patriots’ top hitter. LeWarne struck him out looking on his go-to change up.

“I ran back to the dugout and told everybody, ‘That’s what momentum is supposed to feel like,’” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “Understand, that’s momentum…And you need to take that momentum with energy right here now, and find a way to score one run.’”

Lead off the fifth inning at the plate, Campbell then had a meeting of his own. He had just showed his disgust with a pitch call that put him down in the count two strikes to none.

Third base coach Dave Lorber yelled ‘time’ to the umpire and called Campbell over. Entering the game, the Colonials cleanup hitter was batting .607 in his last six games.

Campbell slashed the 0-2 pitch the opposite way, down the right field line for a standup double. Pumped up he motioned to the dugout and it seemed GW was poised for a potent inning.

“Relief,” Campbell said. “Just…thankful that he left one over.”

With one out and Campbell on third, junior Andrew Selby tried to execute the suicide squeeze. He popped it up to the catcher. Campbell scrambled back to third, already half way down the line. Selby couldn’t get him in, but junior Cody Bryant could, on a two-strike two-out double to right center.

“They’re thinking they’re winning and I’m like, ‘Nah.’ Just double. Thought it was cool, man. I was pumped up, everyone was pumped up,” Bryant said.

That would be all the Colonials (4-3) would need, winning the opener against George Mason (2-8) 1-0, Friday afternoon at The Tuck.

LeWarne would earn his fifth win of the season, improving to 5-2 on the year. His final line would read: 6.0 innings, five hits, no runs, three walks and six strikeouts on 104 pitches. It was a relatively short outing for LeWarne, but it did the job.

“I’ve got a lot of practice,” LeWarne said. “I’m a little old now, but tough situations you just got to stay calm and make your pitches.”

GW bridged the rest of the game with what has become its set-up-to-closer combo of freshman Justin Friedman and junior Eddie Muhl.

Friedman walked the leadoff batter in the seventh, and eventually escaped a bases loaded jam with two outs facing George Mason’s cleanup hitter. In the eighth, Friedman was replaced by Muhl after walking the leadoff batter a second time.

Muhl stranded the one runner but continued the trend to start the ninth by throwing a lead off walk. A failed pickoff attempt allowed the runner to move to second, and a fly ball moved him 90 feet from tying the game.

Muhl worked the count full against the Patriots’ top hitter. He hit a line drive to left but it was caught on a diving grab to end the game.

Muhl, who entered the series tied for ninth in country in saves, picked up his ninth of the season Friday to lock up the win.

The sinking line drive to left field was caught by sophomore Mark Osis in his first day back from a hamstring injury sustained the week before the A-10 opener.

“Osis back is huge,” Ritchie said. “He made four fantastic plays. Very aware out there.”

The team had missed his bat in the two A-10 series without him. Osis was leading the Colonials in most offensive categories, highlighted by his .389 batting average. The left fielder went 1-3 on the day, but showed his value from the two diving catches, one in the third and one in the ninth to save the game, in addition to a couple well played balls down the left field line.

The other main injured Colonial, junior Kevin Mahala, was the team’s designated hitter on the day. Still battling back from a hip flexor injury, Mahala may be able to return to shortstop Sunday.

The final box score is not particularly pretty: one run, three hits and two errors, but GW got the win and will head into Saturday with a chance to clinch the series.

“That’s one you haven’t seen all year,” Ritchie said. “A situation like that where our pitching comes up big and we do the right things. Yeah, it got a little hairy at the end with the error on the throw over, but the bullpen coming in and essentially slamming the door was pretty decent.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Friday, April 15, 2016 5:53 p.m.

Rizzotti named women’s basketball head coach

Women's basketball head coach Jennifer Rizzotti makes a statement at a press conference Friday afternoon. Rizzotti was previously the coach at the University of Hartford. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Women’s basketball head coach Jennifer Rizzotti makes a statement at a press conference Friday afternoon. Rizzotti was previously the coach at the University of Hartford. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Jennifer Rizzotti will be the next head coach of the women’s basketball program, GW Athletics announced at a press conference Friday afternoon.

“I am really excited to be here and I am very aware of the outstanding basketball tradition here at the University.” Rizzotti said. “I know the possibilities that are here. There is no limit for what this women’s basketball team can accomplish and I am really proud to be its next leader.”

Rizzotti, who replaces Jonathan Tsipis who left the program in March, has been the head coach at The University of Hartford since 1999.

Over her 17-year tenure she led the Hawks to five conference championships, six NCAA tournaments, and four WNIT appearances. She has coached 36 players who have won all-conference awards as well as 10 different 1,000-point scorers.

The year before Rizzotti took over in Hartford, they were 8-19 and had never finished in the top-three of their conference. She finished her Hawks career 305-181 (.628), the best winning percentage of any coach in Hartford women’s basketball history.

Jennifer Rizzotti was announced as head coach of the women's basketball team on April 15. Rizzotti brings to GW experience as a player and coach. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Jennifer Rizzotti was announced as head coach of the women’s basketball team on April 15. Rizzotti brings experience to GW as a player and coach. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Rizzotti served as the assistant coach for the 2006 FIBA Americas U-18 Championship before becoming the head coach for both the 2010 FIBA U-18 Championship gold medal winning squad and the 2011 FIBA U-19 Champions. In 2011, USA Basketball named her the National Coach of the Year.

Before coaching, Rizzotti was well known in Connecticut for her playing ability. She won a high school (New Fairfield), college (UConn), and professional championship (Houston Comets) during her career as a point guard. As a member of the Huskies she averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game and was part of the first national championship team at UConn. In June of 2013, Rizzotti was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Colonials return three of their five starters in the fall and will try to use Rizzotti’s experience of winning to boost them to their third consecutive NCAA tournament.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Media Credit: Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

First baseman Bobby Campbell tosses the ball to senior pitcher Jacob Williams in a game against La Salle earlier this season. Media Credit: Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

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

What: Baseball (3–3 A-10) vs. George Mason (2-7 A-10), Conference Series
Where: Tucker Field at Barcroft Park, Arlington, Va.
When: Friday, April 15 at 3 p.m.; Saturday, at 1 p.m.; Sunday, at 12 p.m.

Sitting in the middle of the conference – tied for sixth – GW is not exactly where they want to be heading into a big home series against George Mason. A series against the Patriots at home though move the Colonials in the right direction, though.

GW lost its last series to Davidson, falling in the series rubber match 8-7, when the bullpen couldn’t follow up a strong start.

The injuries are layered. Besides the season-long issue of not having enough healthy arms, two of the team’s top hitters are now injured – sophomore Mark Osis (pulled hamstring) and junior Kevin Mahala (hip flexor).

“With Osis and Mahala in the position they’re in right now, it definitely has put us in a precarious position defensively and offensively in terms of the length of the lineup,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said after the Davidson series last weekend. “Combining that with pitching stuff since day one of the season, it’s a challenge, but the guys are doing some really good things.”

The good news is Tuesday’s 10-2 road win over Towson indicates the team may be closer to being healthy.

The two highlights were Osis pinch hitting (and walking on seven pitches) and sophomore Robbie Metz getting the start (4.0 innings, seven hits, two runs, three strikeouts, 78 pitches). And Mahala may even play in the field this weekend, Ritchie said.

A healthier team against a weaker George Mason team could be the formula for success for GW this weekend.

Case for the Colonials:

If the starters can continue their dominance, and the Colonials’ bats can continue their hot hitting, GW should have a shot at a sweep.

The difference this weekend is sophomore Brady Renner will likely be lengthened out to the 80 plus pitch region, and be able to give GW the length they need to win. Still recovering from a back shoulder strain, Renner is about a start or two away from being fully stretched out.

And if GW can get Osis and Mahala more at-bats, the team can be as strong as they were when they scored 19 runs against local powerhouse Maryland last month.

Look for junior Bobby Campbell to stay hot, after batting .571 in the Davidson series, and going 4-5 with three runs scored, two driven in and one home run against Towson. And junior Joey Bartosic should start to show his midseason form, after collecting five hits and scoring four runs last weekend.

Also, Sunday is Bark at Barcroft, when fans can bring their dogs to the park. A big crowd typically doesn’t hurt the home team.

Case for the Patriots:

In the three years Ritchie coached the Colonials, his team is 3-5 against George Mason. The last two years, GW has lost the season series.

This season though, George Mason is off to a rough start in conference. The Patriots lost 2-of-3 to Dayton (3-6) this past weekend, in Fairfax, Va. In the battle of the two bottom teams of the division, they were badly beaten at home – 2-9 in the first game and 6-9 in the third game.

The one game they won though was the middle game of the series, 8-2, on the performance of sophomore Joe Williams. He went 8.0 innings, giving up seven hits but only one run, while striking out seven. He will likely matchup with GW’s Shane Sweeney on Saturday and could be Mason’s best chance at preventing a sweep or perhaps swinging the momentum of the series their way.

The Patriots’ top hitter this year, sophomore Brady Acker, went a combined 3-11, with two RBI and two runs scored against GW last year. This season Acker is batting a team-high .352, in 14 games played and started, including two home runs and 10 RBI.

The bottom line:
GW needs to come to the ballpark healthy this weekend. The Colonials are averaging 3.8 runs a game in conference play, while the Patriots are averaging 3.4 runs a game. If Mahala can play the field in at least one game and Osis can get in the lineup, the Colonials should have the depth, the offensive power and the starting pitching to pull off a sweep this weekend or at the very least an A-10 series win.

  • Permalink
  • Comments