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Brett Bowers

Senior Eric Lara sends a pitch to home plate earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Brennan Murray

No lead can ever be too comfortable in a baseball game, a lesson the Colonials (12-20) underlined Wednesday against No. 24 Virginia.

Though a first-inning offensive power trip gave GW a four-run advantage out of the gates, the Cavaliers eventually regained the upper hand. Spreading 16 runs over five innings, Virginia’s hitters proved too much for the Colonials’ pitching to quell, ultimately resulting in a 16-4 GW loss.

The Colonials’ first-inning rally exemplified the type of early energy the team has sought all season. After junior Derek Brown started things off with a single through the left side, senior Brett Bowers, who leads the team with a .317 batting average, smashed a double to right, scoring Brown.

The hitting spurt continued with two outs in the inning when senior Stephen Oswald placed a ball over the right-field wall, bringing the lead to two. Following a single by senior Ryan Thomas and a double by senior Jimmy Best, GW’s advantage rose to four on the scoreboard. But they were the last four runs the Colonials would score on the game.

The Cavaliers put together two huge offensive showings of their own in the third and fourth frames, tallying a total of 12 runs. Tallying scores in the first, second and seventh frames as well, Virginia’s offense proved tiring for GW, which sent a total of five pitchers to the hill on the day. Sophomore reliever Colin Milon provided the only scoreless inning of work, retiring the Cavaliers in a one-two-three fashion in the eighth, garnering two strikeouts.

The Colonials’ hitters found no answer for Virginia’s pitching after the first inning. They sprinkled just four hits over the final eight innings, failing to bring any runners on base to the plate.

GW heads Richmond Friday to play the first of its three games against the Spiders. Sitting at 2-4 in A-10 play, the Colonials have a chance to pull even or better in their conference record over the weekend’s competition.

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Senior Eric Lara sends a pitch to home plate earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Nick Ong.

The Colonials’ best scoring chance Sunday also turned into the team’s most crushing play of the weekend.

GW (12-19) went 1-2 in weekend action at Rhode Island, falling 10-2 Friday, returning to nab a 2-0 victory Saturday, but dropping in Sunday’s tenth inning 1-0 loss to the Rams.

GW’s best scoring chance Sunday came in the top of the tenth, when it had runners on second and third with only one out. After senior Stephen Oswald’s intentional walk loaded the bases, senior Brett Bowers hit a chopper to second, grounding into an inning-ending, and momentum-killing, double play.

“That obviously took some steam out of us,” head coach Steve Mrowka said.

Rhode Island’s clutch defensive play also switched the momentum completely to the Rams’. With a runner on second, GW elected to intentionally walk a Rhode Island batter, and then, with a 1-2 count, the Rams’ cleanup hitter put a single to right field, clinching the win with an RBI that sent home the winning run.

Junior pitcher Tyler McCarthy started Sunday’s contest for the Colonials. Battling to hold back the Rams, McCarthy pitched seven innings of two-hit baseball, finishing with four walks and one strikeout. His efforts weren’t enough against Rhode Island’s clutch score, and GW’s inability to capitalize on its own scoring opportunities.

“It was typical baseball,” Mrowka said. “You know when you have solid pitching and defense, you’re not going to get a lot of opportunities. We had those opportunities to score, but nobody came through today with that big hit.”

Trying to conjure as many scoring opportunities as they could, Mrowka put some pressure on opposing pitchers, telling his players to take pitches and draw walks to get runners on base. But that strategy wasn’t enough for the Colonials as they battled another uncontrollable factor at the plate – the wind.

Throughout the three-game weekend series, Mrowka said, the cold wind was blowing straight into the plate, making it hard for batters to maintain control and reducing the chance of players hitting home runs.

“Putting it simply, it just wasn’t either team’s game swinging the bats,” Mrowka said.

As the Colonials continue to advance in A-10 play, the need to maintain offensive power will continue to be apparent. The team has the defensive and pitching strength to be successful in league competition, but needs to capitalize on its chances at the plate, Mrowka said.

“We have to take advantage of our opportunities,” Mrowka said. “And we have to start hitting as a team.”

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Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 9:16 a.m.

Weekend sports round-up

Kara Clauss, softball

Senior Kara Clauss pitches for the Colonials last season. | Hatchet File Photo

A lot of Colonial sports teams were in action this weekend. Here’s a look at how they performed:

Softball

GW was swept in action at the Gamecock Invitational this weekend, falling to Elon Saturday before dropping to South Carolina and Appalachian State Sunday. The team’s competition Friday was canceled due to rain and will not be made up.

The Colonials (0-7) held Elon scoreless for five consecutive innings after allowing four runs in the first two innings but couldn’t make up the deficit for a victory, falling 4-1. Senior pitcher Kara Clauss struck out three batters and allowed just six hits, all of which came in the first four innings. GW’s only run came from senior Lauren Wilson, who scored off a single from freshman Victoria Valos.

Opening play Saturday, junior Autumn Taylor hit a two-run home run that put GW in the lead through the fourth inning against South Carolina. But at the top of the fifth, the Gamecocks added three runs on the board to pull ahead, followed by a run in the sixth to cement their 4-2 victory. The Colonials next took the field against Appalachian State, when the Mountaineers opened the bottom of the first inning with five runs off of six hits and followed that up with three additional runs in the second. Taylor hit another two-run homer in the bottom of the second, but that would be GW’s only scores on the game, falling 8-2.

GW next hosts Drexel in a double-header Wednesday, with action slated to begin at 2 p.m.

Baseball

GW traveled to Cary, N.C., to face Army this weekend, opening play with two losses in a Saturday doubleheader but bouncing back for a victory on Sunday.

The Colonials (1-5) fell 11-6 to Army in the first game Saturday afternoon. The lead changed hands throughout the early innings before sophomore Owen Beightol advanced two runners with a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the seventh, followed by junior Derek Brown, who hit a clutch two-run single to tie the score at six. Those were the last scores GW would tally on the contest, as Army scored two runs in the eighth and three runs in the ninth to grab the victory.

The Black Knights carried that rally to the second game of the afternoon, scoring three runs in the top of the first off of GW sophomore starter Aaron Weisberg. Weisberg ultimately pitched five innings, yielding four runs with two walks and five strikeouts. The Colonials couldn’t find success at the plate, remaining scoreless on the eventual 5-0 loss after Army added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

GW picked up its first win of the season Sunday off the strength of junior pitchers Tyler McCarthy and Kenny O’Brien who stayed strong at the mound amid a pitchers’ duel for the Colonials’ 1-0 victory. McCarthy started the game, allowing just one hit with one walk and three strikeouts. O’Brien took over in the top of the sixth and didn’t allow a hit while striking out five. The sole score of the game came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Brown drew a one-out walk and then advanced to second off a sacrifice bunt from senior Brett Bowers. Fellow senior Jimmy Best followed that with an RBI single to right field to score Brown and give GW the winning score.

The Colonials next head to Duke for a three-game series, with first pitch scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.

Gymnastics

The Colonials wrapped up their six-game road stand at North Carolina Friday, falling 195.625-192.525 to their EAGL rival.

For the sixth time this season, junior Stephanie Stoicovy placed in the all-around, finishing third with a career-high 38.875. She scored 9.750 on vault, 9.550 on uneven bars, 9.750 on balance beam and a career-high tying 9.825 on the floor exercise.

GW scored a season-high 48.625 on the vault, paced by freshman Elena Corcoran, who tied for third with a team-high 9.775, followed closely by Stoicovy and freshman Courtney Willoughby, who tied for fifth with 9.750. Sophomore Betsy Zander finished in third place on the balance beam with a career-high 9.775, and fellow sophomore Kiera Kenney led the team on the uneven bars, tying for fourth place with 9.725.

The Colonials return to the Smith Center to host EAGL rival Pittsburgh March 3.

Women’s water polo

The Colonials played four games as a part of the CWPA vs. MAAC Weekend at Princeton’s DeNunzio Pool, capturing two victories Saturday but tallying two losses Sunday.

GW (4-3) opened play with an 11-5 victory over Villanova Saturday. The Colonials and Wildcats were tied through of the first half, but GW took the lead for good on a goal by sophomore Katherine Berry with just a minute and 36 seconds to play in the second quarter, nabbing a  5-4 lead at halftime. GW outscored Villanova 6-1 in the second half to earn the win. Sophomore Megan Brolley paced the Colonials with four goals, while Berry tallied two goals, two assists and two steals, and freshman goalie Chandler Vilander recorded five saves.

The Colonials carried that power into its next match against Siena, picking up a 13-5 win, where GW went a perfect 8-for-8 on the power play. Freshman Meagan Moreland paced GW’s attack with five goals, while Berry added three and senior Monica Hanson dished out six assists, while Vilander halted eight shots in goal.

But GW’s success couldn’t carry over to the second day of competition, falling to Wagner 14-6 before dropping to Iona 16-10.

The Colonials were down by just a goal early in the game, but Wagner used a 4-1 second period to unseat GW. The Seahawks shut down the team’s power play, GW converting on just two of 10 extra-man opportunities. Sophomore Allison Littlejohn netted two goals in the game, while Vilander stayed strong at the other end of the pool, tallying a career-high 12 saves.

In the second game of the day, Iona used an explosive first half to take a 6-2 lead after the first quarter and an 11-4 advantage at halftime. Though GW outscored the Gaels 6-5 in the second half, it wasn’t enough to overcome the first-half slide. Brolley led GW with four goals, followed by Berry, who added three. Sophomore Rachael Bentley added four assists, and Vilander recorded nine saves in goal.

GW next heads to Cambridge, Mass., March 3 to face CWPA rivals Bucknell and Brown.

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