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The Colonials celebrate after their 3-0 victory against Georgetown earlier this season. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

The Colonials celebrate after their 3-0 victory against Georgetown earlier this season. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

If the Colonials had gone out to California for a good round of horseshoes, you could say they dominated all week.

The GW baseball team, of course, was not playing horseshoes but baseball in their spring break trip out to California, and dropped three of four games. But they were close, in all but one game – an out here and a timely hit there from coming away with a few wins against what is likely the stiffest competition they will face all year.

“Almost” doesn’t translate to the win/loss column, but it was a week of relative success in the team’s first trip to California since 2000: freshman Robbie Metz once again proved himself as one of the most valuable players on the team, on the mound and at the plate, junior college transfer, Shane Kemp had a “coming out” game in his start and the bats came alive against live, hardball pitching.

After losing their pitchers duel of a game in the eighth inning against Long Beach State Wednesday, the Colonials took on Cal State Northridge in a three game series. GW would go onto drop 2-of-3, winning the middle game 3-2 with Kemp on the mound.

“I think every guy would say they would rather have showed up a little more in bigger situations and played more consistently, but the future of this program is really a bigger picture than just a one game here or one series there,” Ritchie said. “It’s what you gain out of those series. It’s what you take home with it. And it’s how you make an adjustment.”

The one game in the weekend series where they did show up was Saturday’s 3-2 win against CSUN.

Kemp pitched six innings of two-run ball, striking out five and walking two. Ritchie explained it as his big game, working Kemp into the conversation of the three top starters on the team.

The 6-foot-3 righty from Iowa relied on his fastball, giving up his two runs solely in the fifth, when the Matadors scored courtesy of a double, intentional walk and triple. At that point, GW had mustered one hit.

When the Colonials batted in the sixth inning, they scored all three of their runs, which would be good enough for the win. They scratched four singles by four sophomores, including the go-ahead hit by Colin Gibbons-Fly, who had two RBI, one run and two walks in his work as DH this weekend.

The combination of sophomore Eddie Muhl and redshirt senior Craig LeJeune again closed out the game, shutting down the final three innings without letting a runner get on base.

The first game in the series fell apart quickly. Heading into the bottom of the sixth, GW was tied at three runs apiece, having just put up a two spot in the top of the inning.

Junior Bobby LeWarne recorded his first loss of the season, after the sixth inning got away from him and the bullpen. Ritchie said LeWarne had a tough time controlling his pitches, but worked his way to the sixth. He started the inning with a fly out, followed by a single, walk and another walk. The bullpen came in and couldn’t shut it down. By the inning’s end, CSUN scored six runs on four hits, four walks, one stolen base, one wild pitch and one passed ball against four pitchers.

“We got to eliminate the bleeding,” Ritchie said.

After bouncing back for Saturday’s win, the Colonials had a chance to win the series before heading back on a plane to D.C.

GW started the game with two runs in the first inning. Sophomore Joey Bartosic and Metz continued their strong starts to the season in the top two spots in the lineup: Bartosic went 2-5 on the day with two RBI and one run, while Metz went 3-5 with one RBI and two runs.

But as the opposing batters took to the plate, just hours before basketball fans across the country would learn their team’s fates to the Big Dance, the baseball team was mired in some march madness of it’s own.

Walk. Balk. Walk. Walk. A new pitcher, freshman Brady Renner in his first collegiate start, bounced. Sophomore Jacob Williams came in and gave up a walk, scoring a runner. Another run scored on an error by sophomore shortstop Kevin Mahala. Then an RBI single. Next, a sacrifice fly for another RBI. Pop up, out. Another walk. Another run scores via another hit batsman. Finally, a fly out. The inning was over, but the damage was done.

“That’s a tough thing when you go up 2-0 and then you give up three straight walks and the bases are loaded with nobody out,” Ritchie said. “They didn’t even touch the ball. They didn’t even swing the bat.”

GW would rally back, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it to those first five runs, either. The Colonials would finish the game having walked nine batters.

“Regardless of who we’re playing, the strike zone is the strike zone. Regardless of who the hitter is, throwing a strike is throwing a strike,” Ritchie said.

The self-inflicted wounds stung more harshly given the tenor of the competition, but GW’s ability to stay competitive did not go unnoticed. Though the road trip came to an end with three more losses in the Colonials’ record, which sits at 8-5, they almost came away with a win against NCAA Regional team Long Beach State earlier in the week.

“Bottom line is we did something GW hasn’t done in quite a few years, is come out here and play teams of this nature,” Ritchie said. “And we were very competitive.”

Before Atlantic 10 play starts Friday at Saint Joseph’s, the Colonials will have one final tune-up, playing Mount Saint Mary’s on Wednesday at 3 p.m., at home at Tucker Field.

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Freshman Robbie Metz throws a pitch during a win against Georgetown earlier this season. Metz threw seven shutout innings, with four hits and eight strikeouts in the no decision but the Colonials dropped a game to Long Beach State 6-0. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Freshman Robbie Metz throws a pitch during a win against Georgetown earlier this season. Metz threw seven shutout innings, with four hits and eight strikeouts in the no decision, but the Colonials dropped a game to Long Beach State 6-0. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

It was scoreless into the eighth inning.

The fans sitting under the lights in Northridge, Calif. had yet to see a run scored. It was an old-fashioned pitchers duel between the ace of the staff: a redshirt senior for the powerhouse and a freshman fresh off his third conference Rookie of the Week honors in the young season.

One of the youngest teams in the nation, the Colonials took the trip out to California to gauge if their early success was real.

At 7-3, they were off to their hottest start in decades – since 1983, when head coach Gregg Ritchie was a freshman. They faced a Long Beach State program that finished the season in the NCAA Regionals last year.

Then one run scored in a two-out rally for the Dirtbags. Then an error led to a couple more. And then a few more.

GW allowed one earned run to Long Beach State but fell to the Dirtbags 6-0.

By the end of Wednesday night, they would drop their fourth game of the season before heading to Cal State Northridge for a three-game series. But the Colonials showed some lukewarm signs of maturity.

“If you just looked at the box score, it would tell you, OK we got handily beat. And it was so far from the truth,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “We pushed a regional team that has more major leaguers in the big leagues right now than any other program in the nation, and they had to put everything up against us, which says a lot about the development of a program.”

All six runs were scored in the eighth, when sophomore Eddie Muhl came in to relieve Robbie Metz. The rookie threw seven shutout innings, with four hits and eight strikeouts in the no decision.

In the second inning, Metz picked up his shortstop after sophomore Kevin Mahala committed a throwing error. He fielded the ball off the mound and started a double play to end the early threat. After a wild pitch in the third, Metz struck out the next batter with a runner 90 feet from home.

“This is what makes Robbie special in my mind,” Ritchie said. “The maturity level of his own self-evaluation. At one point in the game he said, ‘I just don’t have command of my fastball very good today.’”

Metz retired the last 11 batters he faced. He found his command through the game, particularly with his curveball, burying it and going back to back with it to fool the Dirtbags hitters.

When Muhl came in, he had no such luck, though he retired the first two batters to start the eighth.

A single through the left side and a walk to the next batter opened the floodgates. A couple batters later, with one run in already, sophomore Bobby Campbell – playing his first game back at third base this season after starting there for most of last season – committed a throwing error. Two runs scored. A couple more singles and a total of six runs scored in the inning, all with two outs.

“You can’t just go, ‘Hey, you played a good game,’ because we just made some mistakes,” Ritchie said. “You also have to tell them, ‘Hey, that’s unacceptable what you did because it was a lack of preparation or a lack of mental skill. Not physical skills, mental skill.’”

GW wasn’t without scoring opportunities. In the third, a lead-off single was wasted after a double play line out on the next play. In the sixth, a lead-off walk was squandered after a pick-off play by the catcher threw out the runner at second.

To close the game, the Colonials left the bases loaded in the ninth in a makeshift rally: infield error, hit by pitch, hit by pitch. The Colonials couldn’t scratch a run, with a strikeout and a game-ending double play.

“We just need to learn how to play with a championship-level heartbeat at that point of the game, which we sped up a little bit,” Ritchie said. “And that’s experience, that’s demanding it being done as well and expecting more of yourself.”

“Over the couple years I’ve been here, we would not have competed like that against a team of this quality. No chance,” Ritchie added. “We would not have competed that well. We’re definitely moving forward.”

GW will pick up play in a three-game series starting Friday at 2 p.m against Cal State Northridge. Sophomore Bobby Campbell is the probable starter.

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Bobbie LeWarne throws a pitch earlier in the season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Bobbie LeWarne throws a pitch earlier in the season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

The baseball team had an eventful start to spring break, taking a series over Manhattan, picking up a pair of Atlantic 10 conference weekly awards and getting ready for a road swing through California. Here’s what happened around the horn for the Colonials this weekend.

Weekend series:
The Colonials won two of three games against Manhattan over the weekend to bring them to 7-3 on the season, the team’s best start since 1983 – when their current head coach Gregg Ritchie was in his first season as a Colonial.

In the first game of the series, junior Bobby LeWarne continued his hot start. The Colonials won 3-1, with LeWarne improving to 3-0 on the season. He went seven innings, using 105 pitches to strike out seven and walk none.

LeWarne retired the last 12 batters he faced before the dominant duo in the bullpen came in to close out the game. Redshirt senior Craig LeJeune retired the three batters he faced in the eighth with 12 pitches and two strikeouts. Sophomore Eddie Muhl picked up his third save of the season on nine pitches and one strikeout.

The Manhattan starter threw a complete game, but gave up two runs too many. GW scored the go-ahead run in the fifth. Sophomore shortstop Kevin Mahala doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning. He was then bunted over to third. Freshman Robbie Metz continued his tear at the plate with an RBI single to third base on a 1-2 pitch. Mahala would score the third and final run in the seventh after singling up the middle.

The second and third games in the series were played as a part of a doubleheader Sunday. GW won the first game 8-4 and dropped the second 10-3.

The bullpen pieced together the first game, combining for 6.2 innings with junior Jacob Williams picking up the win. Sophomore Jordan Sheinkop got the start, but only lasted 2.1 innings after yielding three runs on two hits and two walks. Two of those runs were inherited after Sheinkop left the game with two runners on. Williams came in and gave up a three-run home run.

Freshman Brady Renner came in and stopped the bleeding, throwing three innings of one-hit ball. LeJeune finished the final inning with three strikeouts.

GW scored in five of eight innings at the plate, including three runs in the first two innings and a three spot in the fifth. Mahala homered to lead off the fifth inning. Junior Matthieu Robert went 3-4 with two RBI and one run scored, including an RBI double to right center in the second inning after a seven pitch at bat. Sophomore Andrew Selby also went 3-4, with two runs scored. The top three hitters in the lineup each collected two hits.

Junior College transfer Shane Kemp picked up his first start in the backend of the doubleheader. The junior lasted three-plus innings, giving up three runs on three hits and two walks to pick up the loss.

The three runs came in the fourth, which started with a hit batsman on a 3-0 pitch, a walk on four straight balls and a single to left punctuated by an error from sophomore Joey Bartosic, allowing one run to score. Unable to record an out, sophomore Andrew Piccin came in and after striking out the first batter, was tagged with a triple to left center to score the final two of the inning.

Following Piccin’s fourth inning, the bullpen didn’t help keep the Colonials in the game, giving up seven runs between four pitchers. Down 4-1 entering the eighth inning, GW gave up four runs, three credited to freshman Kevin Hodgson.

Metz and sophomore Eli Kashi both picked up two hits. Kashi drove in the Colonials’ lone earned run. The other two scored on errors.

A-10 awards:
Robbie Metz was named Rookie of the Week for the third time in four weeks of awards. GW did not play in the week he did not win because of weather.

Metz won his first game on the mound with a 5-1 win over Georgetown on Wednesday. He pitched seven innings, giving up one run on six hits. In that game, he went 2-3 with one RBI, one run scored and two stolen bases.

In the week, Metz batted .571 (8-14) with three RBI, two runs, two stolen bases and one double – plus the win on the mound.

Bobby LeWarne earned Co-Pitcher of the Week honors. It marked the second time in his career that he’s won the recognition. His start Saturday earned him his third win on the season. He retired the last 12 hitters he faced, including striking out the side in his final inning of work.

Spring break in Cali:
GW travels to Los Angeles to start their spring break road swing through California. They will play four games while on the West Coast.

The Colonials will face stronger competition in the Golden State than they have faced so far this season. The road trip will not only serve as a place for warm weather and team bonding, but as a litmus test for the young team’s College World Series goal.

GW will face perennial powerhouse Long Beach State at 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday. The team will then travel to Cal State Northridge for a three-game series beginning Friday.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

Two weeks into his collegiate baseball career and freshman Robbie Metz already has heads turning. For the second time this season, GW’s Metz has won Rookie of the Week honors in the Atlantic 10.

Metz has done it all for the Colonials, stepping into a starting role out of the gate. He bats second in the lineup, plays second base and pitches – not to mention sporting one of the more impressive beards on the team.

A Washington Post First Team All-Met player his senior year of high school, the Poolesville, Md. native helped GW to a 3-0 week, with a win over Georgetown and a pair of victories against Niagara.

Against the Hoyas, Metz made his debut on the mound. He went five shutout innings, yielding four hits, striking out one and walking none. With a bit of deception in his motion, Metz kept the Georgetown hitters off-balance at the plate.

“Robbie Metz, what a battler,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said after the Georgetown game on Feb. 25. “You come out as a freshman that composed, that maturity. Really kept himself centered.”

At the plate, the freshman batted .286 (4-14) with three doubles, three runs scored, one walk and one RBI.

Against Georgetown, he led off the eighth inning with a double to left, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a double play. It was the third and final run for the Colonials, cementing a 3-0 win and Metz’ first career pitching victory.

In GW’s first game against Niagara with the Colonials down one early in the first, Metz doubled down the left field line. After moving to third on a base hit, he later scored with a delayed steal move. The Purple Eagles threw down to second to throw out the base stealer, and Metz hustled home to tie up the game. He also knocked home a run as a part of a four-run seventh inning.

Metz also scored a run following another double down the left field line in GW’s instrumental seventh inning in their second game against Niagara.

GW will resume play Wednesday against Georgetown following an 8-3 loss to UMES Tuesday. Metz is the probable starter for the Colonials.

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Junior Bobby LeWarne throws a pitch during GW's win on Friday over Niagara. LeWarne gave up six runs in six plus innings pitched. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Junior Bobby LeWarne throws a pitch during GW’s win on Friday over Niagara. LeWarne gave up six runs in six plus innings pitched. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

Maybe it’s the beards, but the baseball team is off to its best start since 2008.

In an effort to change the culture and grow a little good luck for the team, head coach Gregg Ritchie’s no-shave policy seems it will stay in effect for a while. In a weather-shortened weekend series, GW won a pair of games at home against Niagara to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Neither Friday nor Saturday’s win came easy, though, and the Colonials needed all nine to decide both against a feisty Purple Eagles squad.

GW fell behind in the first inning Friday with junior Bobby LeWarne on the mound. It was a rocky start for the Iowa native, finding himself constantly behind batters in a day where the strike zone was unforgiving. In the inning, he hit back-to-back batters and gave up a shot to the left field wall. With the infield in, LeWarne found a groove with his change up, allowing him to retire the next two hitters, limiting the scoring to one run.

“Bobby, he did battle,” Ritchie said after Friday’s game. “He gave us enough. The offense really is what kept Bobby in the game.”

GW came back and tacked on their own run in the bottom of the first. Niagara came back with three more, with the third run scoring on an error by the sophomore shortstop Kevin Mahala. The Colonials matched again, scoring three of their own runs, courtesy of a triple to left center from sophomore Andrew Selby and a base hit up the middle from sophomore Eli Kashi that drove in the third run of the inning.

Selby had a big game with two hits, a triple and a double, drove in two runs and scored four runs.

Every player in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit. But to make it to the party, Kashi had to rework his swing with the coaching staff, quieting his approach at the plate and adopting a wider stance. Heading into the game, he was 2-8 at the plate, with the two hits coming in the previous game against Georgetown.

“You can’t make light of what Kashi did,” Ritchie said. “After the first game, we basically did an absolute overhaul of his mechanical setup, hands, everything. He took it into the next game and he’s been good ever since.”

Following the three runs scored in the second for GW, LeWarne stopped the bleeding until he left the game in the seventh. Two of his runners left on base would score, and he finished with six plus innings, six runs, five earned, six hits and seven strikeouts, throwing 92 pitches.

The Colonials tagged the Purple Eagles for another three runs in the third. But they had plenty more in their bats on the day. After Niagara closed within one run in the seventh, 8-7, GW would then add four more runs in consecutive innings, to eventually win 16-7, with 16 total hits.

“We came back,” Ritchie said. “When they answered on us, the big thing is we answered. We answered in the first and then we they came back strong right at the end, we answered big. I was really happy to see the guys do that.”

Saturday told a similar storyline: the Purple Eagles scored first, but GW bounced back in multiple innings.

Niagara scored the first two runs of the game in the fourth inning off of starting pitcher Jordan Sheinkop, knocking him out of the game after 60 pitches. But the bullpen would go onto piece the win together, yielding three runs on eight hits. Sophomore Eddie Muhl picked up his second save of the season, going two innings to close it out.

GW won the game in the seventh, again, scoring four runs to take a permanent lead. Senior Brookes Townsend came away with the pivotal hit, singling in two runs. The elder statesmen on the team went 3-4 with three RBI and one run scored.

In the process, sophomore Joey Bartosic extended his school-record hitting streak, dating back to last year, to 19 games.

The Colonials will pick up play with two weekday games this week, one against UMES Tuesday and the other against Georgetown Wednesday.

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Freshman Robbie Metz throws a pitch during the Colonials 3-0 victory against Georgetown Wednesday. Metz went five innings giving up just four hits and no runs.  He threw 63 pitches, 42 for strikes. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Freshman Robbie Metz throws a pitch during the Colonials’ 3-0 victory over Georgetown on Wednesday. Metz went five innings, giving up just four hits and no runs. He threw 63 pitches – 42 for strikes. Dan Rich | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

It was a balmy 41 degrees, one of the few days above freezing in the 11 since GW played a baseball game due to five postponements.

The layoff served as a gut check on whether the team’s early-season potential meant anything, leading up to a game against crosstown rival Georgetown.

“I challenged them today before the game. I said this game is about the identity of this team,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “You guys have a chance to create an identity today, how you play this game against a team who is a rival in our city.”

A win meant they could compete and be competitive the way Ritchie wants them to be: start in the region, then get bigger and bigger, with the omnipresent goal of Omaha in mind for the program.

“The way we played against NJIT was a doubtful thing on whether we were mature enough to win consistently,” Ritchie said. “You guys need to prove to yourselves and this team and this staff that you have a better identity than you showed in the second game against NJIT. And they did it, which was really nice.”

The first six innings were frosty offensively on Wednesday afternoon against the Hoyas, especially when sophomore Bobby Campbell uncharacteristically grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the third out of the three-hole.

In the sixth, Ritchie called his players in and set another team challenge: don’t be the guy to roll over, pull the ball and ground out.

A side-winding relief pitcher came in for the Hoyas and struck out his first batter in the seventh. Then sophomore Andrew Selby rocked an 0-1 pitch to left center.

He flew around first and with no sign of stopping, his legs looked more and more like those of a cartoon as he rounded second and flew into third under the tag. His helmet came crashing off as he made contact with the bag, ground and third baseman. Safe.

Then freshman catcher Brandon Chapman went 11 pitches deep. He fouled off five straight balls, then hit an excuse-me, stay-alive stroke that carried a ball to shallow left center. It was good enough for a single, and good enough to drive in the go-ahead run.

“I put a little bit more pressure on myself, but I just kept telling myself to stay relaxed and calm down and use my hands,” Chapman said.

GW would tack on another run that inning and one more in the eighth to go onto win 3-0 against Georgetown.

The bats may have been rusty early-on, freshman Robbie Metz included, but the rookie had the right type of goose egg on the mound. He went five innings – four hits, no runs on 63 pitches, 42 for strikes.

Metz didn’t have to work out of many jams in his first career start. Come his final inning of work, the Hoyas started to elevate the ball on him, with all three outs coming courtesy of his outfield.

“I felt great out there,” Metz said. “For the first time, I thought it went really well. Just have fun out there.”

With scouts bundled up in black jackets and scattered in the bleachers behind home plate, Metz did not seem intimidated. His first couple pitches were out of the zone, but then he quickly found his groove.

The scouts were there for Georgetown’s preseason Big East All-Conference selection, Nick Collins, also a Cape Cod League midseason all-star catcher. Metz retired him both times he faced the power lefty.

“It’s an external belief,” Ritchie said about Metz. “When players see guys like that, especially a freshman, do that kind of thing, it starts to bleed into the other guys. And that’s the kind of leadership we’re looking for. Not necessarily a guy who’s yackity-yackity-yacking or boom-ra-ra-ra, but a guy who’s really mature about his look, his presence and in the face of adversity, he just keeps pounding and grinding away.”

Junior college transfer Shane Kemp came in and allowed three hits in 3.1 innings of work. With stuff in the 90s, he looked dominant. Clean most of the way through to the ninth, Kemp ran into a jam after a pop up fell into shallow center, setting up runners on first and second with one out.

With Kemp a little above his designated pitch count, Ritchie came out and let sophomore Eddie Muhl close out the game. Muhl recorded the final two outs with four pitches to record the save.

Ritchie’s mix-and-match pitching staff, including starting a freshman battery with Metz and Chapman, is his way of building the program on the run.

“It’s a fine line you walk on,” Ritchie said. “I don’t like to lose, but I do like to develop winning consistency.”

GW will resume play this weekend against Niagara, with a usual three-game series starting Friday.

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The Colonials discuss strategy in a game against UMass last season. The Colonials split a double-header against NJIT in this season's opening on Saturday. | Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet staff photographer

The Colonials discuss strategy in a game against UMass last season. The Colonials split a double-header against NJIT in this season’s opening on Saturday. | Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet staff photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

In the 16th inning of ball play at the newly christened Tucker Field at Barcroft Park, a handful of fans stood up to ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’ A few of them stretched and sung. Most remained seated, like the fan draped in a blanket with the faces of three warm teddy bears on it.

Two teams played until everything was numb Saturday at “The Tuck” as GW split a doubleheader against NJIT. Sunday’s game was cancelled due to weather.

The Colonials would take the first game, 5-1 on the strength of a strong start from junior Bobby LeWarne. GW would then fall in the second game, 6-2, unable to keep it close in the bullpen and failing to capitalize on a bases loaded, one-out situation in the bottom of the seventh.

It was a game pitted against two former Colonials, GW head coach Gregg Ritchie, a former All-American, and NJIT head coach Brian Guiliana, who was the captain of his Colonials team his senior year.

“It’s another GW guy getting another program in a better direction,” Ritchie said. “If there’s a good side to it, that would be it. Otherwise, I don’t like losing to anybody at any time. And quite honestly, we should win that game. We have enough ability to win that game.”

The first game was all LeWarne. He went seven comfortable innings for the first win of the season. On 91 pitches, LeWarne gave up one unearned run, struck out six, walked two and allowed three hits – not one coming after the third inning, even in the cold.

“It’s not bad. I’m from Iowa. I’m used to pitching in the cold,” LeWarne said.

The only damage done came in the first, which was the only time the Colonials trailed in the first game.

LeWarne was throwing a little high the whole game, but for the most part didn’t get burned for it. He struck out the NJIT leadoff batter with high heat, but following an infield single that made him give special attention to the runner, LeWarne gave up his hardest hit ball of the game.

The three hitter stroked a liner over the glove of freshman second baseman Robbie Metz which allowed runners to reach second and third safely after the outfielders nearly collided. The next play, a ground ball to sophomore Kevin Mahala left the runner at second hung out to dry, allowing an unearned run to score but effectively ending NJIT’s lone threat in the game.

The Colonials reclaimed the lead quickly in the first inning, scoring two in their half. After a leadoff single up the middle by sophomore Joey Bartosic and a hit and run, infield single by Metz, Ritchie kept forcing the agenda. Bartosic and Metz each scored after a successful double-steal put them both in scoring position.

The Colonials capitalized on two NJIT throwing errors in the following inning to the tune of a run for junior Matthieu Robert, and GW picked up two late insurance runs when senior Ryan Xepoleas knocked one off the high wall in right field to send sophomore Bobby Campbell home and scored himself automatically when the relay throw came in off line and went into the Colonials dugout.

The second cap the Colonials offense didn’t click as well, though GW led until the fourth and Bartosic got a hit in his 16th straight game, dating back to last season, to set a GW record.

“After we scored two runs, bang, bang, the game slowed down when he started to get behind [in the count],” Ritchie said. “The pace and tempo changed and we kind of went into a lull and we allowed them to peck away and all of a sudden burst open.”

Lefty freshman Kevin Hodgson started the game, going four innings, allowing two runs, one earned on five hits, one walk and one strikeout.

Hodgson threw 62 pitches, 39 for strikes in his debut on the bump, throwing with a slow tempo, missing first pitch strikes and getting slightly peppered around by the NJIT hitters.

The bullpen couldn’t do much more.

First to come in was Jacob Williams, who would have started Sunday if the game was not cancelled. In his second inning of work he ran into the trouble in the sixth inning.

A lead off ground rule double eventually scored after the player stole third and scored on a questionable bunt defense play. With the infield in and one out NJIT laid a beautiful bunt down the third base line, which had a small chance of rolling foul, but likely was fair.

Williams picked it up and shoveled it to the catcher not nearly in time for the out, as the go-ahead run scored. A couple other mental errors cost the team runs during the game, including a botched bunt defense play when Hodgson was still in the game.

The bullpen would give up four runs, making it difficult for the Colonials to mount a comeback.

In the seventh, still down two, GW loaded the bases with one out. Metz came to the plate in the middle of a very strong rookie debut, with two hits and one run scored in the first game. He swung at three pitches, fouling the first two and then swung through an elevated strike for the third strike of the at bat.

“The second game is not typical of our normal offense in terms of putting balls in play,” Ritchie said. “That definitely hurt us in situations where we had punch outs. That’s kind of what happens with a couple young guys, punch outs with runners in scoring position.”

Campbell would then take a good first pitch and roll it over to short to end the inning and the Colonials last real threat.

Redshirt senior Craig LeJeune looked in full form in his return back to the mound in the eighth. Following two straight innings of the bullpen yielding a run, LeJeune stopped the bleeding. He struck out his first two batters and retired the side with a fly ball.

GW will resume play Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. against Georgetown at The Tuck.

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Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 6:45 p.m.

Baseball releases 2015 schedule

The baseball team cheers on their teammates during a game this season. Hatchet File Photo

The baseball team cheers on their teammates during a game last season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

With spring registration around the corner, the GW baseball team is ready to study their opponents with the release of the 2015 baseball schedule.

The season starts Feb. 14, and conference play begins March 20. The Colonials will then host the Atlantic 10 Championship, which begins May 20, for the first time in program history.

GW will face difficult games before the team dives into Atlantic 10 play. Last year ended hopefully when the team, one of the youngest in the country, nearly qualified for the conference championship. Non-conference foes this year include Georgetown, Virginia, Manhattan and William & Mary, and GW will travel to the West Coast to play Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge.

The spring break trip to California will be the first to the West Coast for the baseball team since it competed in the Cal State Northridge Tournament in 2002, the last year GW made it to the NCAA Regionals.

GW will face off against a tough foe in Long Beach State, which has not played an East Coast team in the regular season since 2012 when they faced VCU. The Dirtbags returned to the NCAA Regionals last year after a six-year hiatus.

The Colonials are scheduled to make their annual trip down to Charlottesville on Feb. 24 to take on Virginia. The usually nationally-ranked Cavaliers have not lost against GW since 2008, when the Colonials downed the then-No. 15 squad 17-5 for their first win since the two teams started facing each other 20 years before.

Conference play starts on the road at Saint Joseph’s. GW will then host its first A-10 series March 25, against St. Bonaventure. The final conference series is against Saint Louis – last year’s regular season champion.

The Colonials will look to build on their 12-15 conference record last year, in the hopes of returning to the A-10’s and defending their home field for this year’s conference championship.

The season starts at home against New Jersey Institute of Technology with a back-to-back doubleheader.

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Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW's win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW’s win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Colonials will host the Atlantic 10 baseball championships at Barcroft Park for the first time in the team’s history next year.

The top seven teams from the regular season standings will compete in the double elimination tournament from May 20 to 23, the league announced this week. The winner will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

The Colonials narrowly missed last season’s tournament when they finished the season eighth in the standings, a single game behind No. 7-seeded Fordham. GW last qualified in 2013, when it was seeded fifth.

GW has won the A-10 championships four times – the first time in 1979 – but has never served as host.

The team has played at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va. since 1993 and saw the venue undergo a $3 million renovation before the 2013 season. The project added bullpens, batting cages and artificial turf to a facility that Athletic Director Patrick Nero has joked GW no longer hides from recruits.

Barcroft Park holds 500 spectators in grandstand seating at 4200 South Four Mile Run Drive. The University operates a student shuttle bus for weekend home games during the conference season, though GW has not yet released information about a shuttle for the tournament.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:48 a.m.

Baseball earns four postseason awards

The Colonials celebrate a win earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

The Colonials celebrate a win earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

After missing out on the Atlantic 10 playoffs, the baseball team received consolation from the conference in the form of four postseason awards.

Freshmen Bobby Campbell and Joey Bartosic were two of the 13 rookies selected for the A-10 All-Rookie team, while seniors Colin Milon and Owen Beightol were chosen for the A-10 All-Academic team.

Campbell started all 50 games for GW at third base, and repeatedly demonstrated stellar defense with deep range and a strong arm. He finished fourth on the roster with a .272 batting average and had seven doubles, 20 RBI and six stolen bases.

Used primarily as head coach Gregg Ritchie’s leadoff hitter, Bartosic started the season off hot, stringing together a 14-game hit streak that ranked third-longest in the conference. He finished the season with a .298 batting average, though he did not start or play every game of the season like Campbell. The outfielder also finished the year with 20 steals – tied for third-best in conference.

At the other end of the experience spectrum, the Colonials were grounded by the play of their senior core.

Beightol, the only senior bat in the lineup, steadied the Colonials with a team-high .337 batting average, tied with junior Ryan Xepoleas. Beightol finished the season with 65 hits, which ranked seventh in the A-10, as well as 14 doubles.

Beightol ended his career tied for second all-time with 213 games played. He was also third all-time with 797 at-bats and ninth all-time with 234 career hits.

After senior closer Craig LeJeune went down with a season-ending earlier this year, Milon stepped into the closer role almost seamlessly. He recorded six saves, which was tied for second-best in the conference, and finished with a team-best 2.94 ERA.

After a slow start to conference play with a rookie-heavy team, the Colonials will look to build off of this season’s 12-15 conference record. With freshmen Campbell and Bartosic returning and strong senior leadership from players like Xepoleas, GW will aim to have a turnaround season next winter.

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