Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

Tag

GW baseball

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Senior Colin Milon delivers a pitch in a game against Saint Joseph's earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Senior Colin Milon delivers a pitch in a game against Saint Joseph’s earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon

After stringing together five-straight must-win games to keep its hopes of a second consecutive playoff berth alive, the baseball team’s run fell short Friday in a 4-3 loss to St. Bonaventure.

The loss, combined with two wins by Richmond over Rhode Island and two wins by Fordham over VCU on Thursday, ended the Colonials’ chances at a berth in next week’s Atlantic 10 Championships.

The loss came on the heels of an impressive run in which GW, one of the youngest teams in the country, almost made a major statement in the conference by winning what would have been its seventh-straight game.

“[They’re] a bunch of young guys and they came within an eyelash of making the playoffs,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said.

GW could not get one more solid start from sophomore Jacob Williams, who Ritchie said is usually one of his most consistent players. The young right-hander failed to command his pitches, particularly his curveball. He battled through five innings, finishing with five hits and three runs, two earned.

On the offensive end, the Colonials played catch-up for the majority of the ball game. In the sixth inning, three key freshmen launched a two-run rally that tied the game. Joey Bartoisc led off the inning with a single and advanced by stealing second base. Andrew Selby followed by hitting a triple to right field, scoring Bartosic. Bobby Campbell then drove Selby home with a groundout RBI.

Down by one in the top of the eighth inning, GW pushed across one run to tie the game courtesy of a double by senior Owen Beightol and sloppy defense by the Bonnies.

After the two previous ties in the game, senior closer Colin Milon was on the mound for the Colonials in the bottom of the eighth inning with the game tied at 3-3.

The first pitch of the eighth got away from Milon and the Bonnies hitter capitalized, clearing the fence with a few inches to spare. Milon, who had a career year after moving into the fireman role when Craig LeJeune went down with a season-ending injury, was able to regain control and retire the next three St. Bonaventure batters. Ritchie said he expected nothing less from his closer, telling him after the game to keep his head high after “a hell of a year.”

Milon managed to retire the side after trouble early in the inning, which gave the Colonials a shot to make a run in the top of the ninth.

After freshman catcher John Steele reached on an error to lead off the inning, GW tried to execute one of its fairly successful hit and runs – a play that the team had started to use regularly down the stretch. A swing and a miss by freshman Eli Kashi dismantled the play, and Steele was thrown out at second.

Kashi ended the inning at bat with a strikeout and was followed by a ground out by Bartosic to end the game as well as playoff hopes for the Colonials.

It wasn’t their best game, Ritchie said, but it certainly was not their worst. Since the series with La Salle in mid April, Ritchie has credited his team with playing solid ball during every game within the last week.

“If you can’t say you were not disappointed by not moving on, you’re lying,” Ritchie said.

Without mustering another run GW, ended their bid for the seventh and final spot in the A-10 Championships. It was a run that few predicted for a team that started as many as seven freshmen in the lineup.

“It was about rebuilding the program and getting competitive and developing a line of leaders of consistency,” Ritchie said. “Every year, you play to make the playoffs and move on, and that’s the part we didn’t achieve. However, the rebuilding and the growth was simply enormous.”

After Saturday’s final regular season game against St. Bonaventure, the Colonials will lose several crucial members, including pitchers Aaron Weisberg, Luke Staub, Milon and LeJeune.

On the offensive side, Saturday’s game will mark the last for outfielder Owen Beightol, the team’s best hitter. With one game to play, Beightol leads the Colonials this season with a .364 batting average, 63 total hits and 29 runs scored. Beightol will be ranked third all-time in career at bats and second all-time in games played. He also ranks 22nd all time in RBI and 11th all time with 212 hits.

GW will conclude its season Saturday against St. Bonaventure at noon.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
The Colonials discuss strategy in a game against UMass earlier this season | Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet staff photographer

The Colonials talk strategy in a game against UMass earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ellee Watson.

The baseball team kept playoff hopes alive Thursday, winning a crucial road match against St. Bonaventure 7-5 in the first of a three-game series.

The win marks the fifth-straight victory for a GW team that is steadily chasing Fordham for the seventh and final spot in the Atlantic 10 Championships, which start next week.

To make the A-10 Championships in St. Louis, the Colonials have in front of them a handful of scenarios that also rely on the play of Fordham and Richmond. After winning twice Thursday against VCU, Fordham currently sits at 13-13 in the A-10 standings with one game left to play. Richmond, which lost to Rhode Island 6-5 Thursday, are 11-12 and have two games remaining against the Rams.

If Fordham sweeps VCU, the Rams are securely in the playoffs. However, if Fordham loses to VCU Friday and the Colonials sweep the Bonnies, GW will earn a spot in the tournament.

The situation is similar with the Spiders. If Richmond wins the final two games against Rhode Island, it will be enough to secure a playoff berth. But if the Spiders drop one or both remaining games to the Rams, coupled with a Colonials sweep of St. Bonaventure, GW will be headed to the playoffs.

Knowing the stakes, the players started strong out of the gate, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. After freshman Joey Bartosic’s single to the pitcher, the Colonials stole two bases and strung together two hits, leading to two runs batted in and a two-run lead at the end of the first.

Starting pitcher Aaron Weisberg struggled to slow down the bats of the Bonnies offense, allowing 11 hits and four runs – two earned – through seven innings. The senior’s go-to pitch of the afternoon was his fastball as Weisberg tossed 94 fastballs out of the 113 total pitches he threw in the outing.

After only scoring one run in seven innings, the Bonnies made a late surge in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored three runs on four hits off of Weisberg. Luke Staub, a senior, relieved Weisberg with one out in the inning and quickly retired the side. Staub also pitched the ninth inning for GW, allowing one run while earning the save and cementing the win for Weisberg.

Although the Bonnies outhit the colonials 14-9, GW capitalized on a number of at-bats with runners in scoring position to secure the win. The Colonials showed a balanced offense Thursday as each of their seven runs were scored by different players.

Head coach Gregg Ritchie dismissed the hit count, saying he thought his team had the better offense.

“We had quality at-bats up and down the lines and had six walks,” Ritchie said. “We executed hit-and-runs, bunts, squeezes, and those were big at-bats.”

Five of the seven starting freshmen – Andrew Selby, Cody Bryant, Kevin Mahala, Eli Kashi and Bartosic – all scored runs for the Colonials. Junior Ryan Xepoleas and senior Owen Beightol boasted the other two runs.

“The top five guys in particular really executed well, and then freshman Jon Steele followed with an RBI ground-out,” Ritchie said.

The Colonials face St. Bonaventure in the second game Friday at 2 p.m.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ellee Watson.

The Colonials offense proved to be aggressive, but unfortunately not deep enough against the Towson Tigers Wednesday.

Senior Owen Beightol hits in GW's win over George Mason earlier this season. The senior led the Colonials with three hits against Towson Wednesday. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Senior Owen Beightol hits in GW’s win over George Mason earlier this season. The senior led the Colonials with three hits against Towson Wednesday. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

GW outhit the Tigers 12-10, but couldn’t get the big hit when it needed, leaving a total of nine runners on base and allowing Towson to grab the win, 5-3.

Towson got on the board first in the top of the second inning, with two runs off three hits.The Colonials quickly answered in the bottom half of the frame to take the lead 3-2. Senior Owen Beightol hit a double, and freshman Colin Gibbons-Fly singled to left field for an RBI. Sophomore Matthieu Robèrt followed with hit-by-pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly from freshman Kevin Mahala. Fellow freshman Eli Kashi gave GW the early lead with a single up the middle that scored Gibbons-Fly for the final run of the inning.

The Colonials could not capitalize on their offense, though, over the next three innings and were left with their slim one-run advantage. They left two runners on base at the end of the third, fourth and seventh innings.

The Tigers, on the other hand, secured the win with some timely hitting: a solo home run from Brady Policelli in the top of the fourth inning and an RBI single from Pat Fitzgerald earned them back the lead.

Freshman righty Jordan Sheinkop started his first collegiate game for GW, staying in until the top of the sixth inning with a pitch count of 78. He allowed four earned runs off of six hits.

Senior Luke Staub stepped up to the mound to keep his team within scoring distance, and did, giving up four hits, but no runs in relief. GW couldn’t push any late runs across, though, and the score held at 5-3.

Freshman lead-off hitter Joey Bartosic and senior Owen Beightol led the Colonials’ offense with three hits each. Mahala, Kashi and Gibbons-Fly each had an RBI on the day.

Last season, the Colonials finished 17th in stolen bases in Division I baseball. They have continued to try and overcome their lack of power with speed this season, going 35-55 on stolen base attempts. In crucial moments down the stretch Wednesday, though, the aggressiveness didn’t pay off, with Beightol getting caught stealing in the seventh inning and Freshman Bobby Campbell getting caught in the ninth.

The Colonials travel to Philadelphia, Pa. this weekend for a three-game Atlantic 10 series against La Salle.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ellee Watson.

The Colonials got caught sleeping early Tuesday, but quickly woke up from their slumber to erupt for a 10-4 victory over Coppin State.

The Colonials celebrate on the field after their win against George Mason last Friday. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

GW entered the game coming off a two-game losing streak to George Mason. That losing energy didn’t carry over against the Eagles, though, as the Colonials slowly built their lead until the Eagles were left fluttering behind.

On the game’s first pitch, freshman second baseman Eli Kashi committed an error to let Coppin State on base. Two batters later, a RBI single up the middle quickly put GW behind, 1-0. A wild pitch and an extra base on a botched bunt rotation gave the Eagles two more base runners, but the Colonials escaped with just the one earned run.

Entering the game, the GW baseball program had never lost to Coppin State, holding a 29-0 series advantage. But despite their historical dominance, head coach Gregg Ritchie believed the Eagles had a legitimate shot – especially after the first inning.

“Every team can beat you if you give them the opportunity,” Ritchie said, “and we gave them an opportunity. They had an opportunity to get us. They, unfortunately for them, didn’t do it. Fortunately for us, we held on.”

His team responded to its first inning blunders with three runs over the next two innings. By the bottom of the fifth, the Colonials were leading 4-2, and decided to break things open. Responsible for the eruption was the heart of GW’s batting order: freshman Bobby Campbell, senior Owen Beightol, and junior Ryan Xepoleas.

Campbell took the plate with one out and drew a walk from Coppin State pitcher Jhar Delvime. Beightol was next and roped a triple to bring Campbell in, making the score 5-2. Xepoleas followed with a double to bring Beightol in for a 6-2 lead.

The three, four and five slots in the Colonials’ line-up brought the score to its final 10-4 tally with an RBI from Campbell, another hit from Beightol and another RBI from Xepoleas.

Campbell finished the game with one run and RBI and Beightol with two runs, two hits and two RBIs. Xepoleas added three hits, one run, and three RBIs.

Sophomore Matthieu Robèrt could not practice all weekend with a stomach virus, but Ritchie decided to keep him in the lineup as the designated hitter. Robèrt rose to the occasion, going 4-4 and leading the offense with two runs, four hits, and four RBIs.

Earning his first collegiate victory was freshman starting pitcher Brandon Ritchie. He had trouble out of the gates, throwing three wild pitches, but his final line was more than deserving of the win: six innings pitched, three earned runs and four strikeouts on 98 pitches.

Freshman Eddie Muhl came in for the three-inning save, but also had trouble to start, “throwing ball one, ball two”, Ritchie said. “He was in trouble every inning except that last one.”

The Colonials face Towson at Barcroft Park Wednesday before heading to Philadelphia for an Atlantic 10 series against La Salle.

“We got to come out [against Towson] with some energy and a better attitude and effort to get going right in the first inning,” Ritchie said. “We have a chance to create a legitimate streak because one is not, two is. It would be nice to get that win and take us into that weekend A-10 series. That’s the key. Take the win into the A-10 series, and see if we can get a sweep.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This report was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, junior Ryan Xepoloas roped a shot out to right center that hit off the top of the fence. He and one other Colonial would score – the first GW runs after 14 straight from George Mason over the course of the past two games.

In the fourth, the Patriots first baseman hit one toward that same spot in right center. This one went over the fence for a solo home run, leading to a three-run fourth inning.

A young GW team could not come back against a veteran-heavy George Mason team and lost 10-3, dropping the rubber match of the Atlantic 10 series.

Senior Aaron Weisberg delivers a pitch in Friday's series opener against George Mason. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Senior Aaron Weisberg delivers a pitch in Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

“It’s like the ugly head spins around and here comes Voldemort,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “We got [professor Quirrell’s purple turban] on and we play good and guys execute the right things. And all of a sudden, they forgot to put the turban back on – that’s the focus hat, the focus turban – and they expose Voldemort. He comes out the other side and just freaks out.”

The Patriots scored their first two runs in the third inning Sunday – the first on a string of hits and a stolen base, the second on a throwing error by freshman third baseman Bobby Campbell as he tried to turn a double play while looking a runner back. Instead, the rushed throw to second went wide and into the outfield.

Campbell came to the plate for redemption with runners on second and third and two outs, but he rolled over to the third baseman on a 2-2 fastball to end the inning.

The Patriots came back over the next two innings to tack on five more runs, putting GW in a tough seven-run hole.

“They haven’t been able to figure out how to put on the brake, put a foot down and kind of Flintstone it,” Ritchie said. “You got to put your foot down through that floorboard and say, ‘No, stop.’ And then when it’s ready you got to wear those feet out and pedal. They’re just young guys that are still going through an absolute evolution of their mentality at playing at this level.”

Sophomore Bobby LeWarne exited after four innings of work, giving up five runs – four earned – on six hits, two walks and three hit batsmen.

“He didn’t command,” Ritchie said. “The stuff was the same stuff. He fell behind a lot and then when he had to throw his changeup in a behind the count situation, he had to elevate it.”

Series Recap:

George Mason rolled into the series with a 4-1 conference record to GW’s 1-5 record. The A-10 newcomer was off to a strong start, but faced Colonial senior Aaron Weisberg in search of his first win of the season.

Thanks to seven innings and one run allowed by the big righty, GW won the first game 4-3. Mason jumped out to an early lead, getting their lone run against Weisberg in the first off three consecutive base hits. Freshman Collin Milon came in for relief in the ninth and ran into trouble, allowing two runs, but senior Luke Staub closed out the final two outs.

Freshman Collin Gibbons-Fly got the Colonials on the scoreboard with an RBI triple in the second inning. He then singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh, while GW tagged on an additional two runs in the eighth.

Saturday, GW put themselves in a comfortable spot thanks to three early runs in the second inning, but the Colonials would not score again, losing 7-3. In the fourth inning, George Mason scored four runs on four hits, including a two-run RBI triple off freshman Jacob Williams, who dropped to 2-3 on the season.

GW will remain home to play Coppin State Tuesday and Towson Wednesday, before travelling to Philadelphia for a weekend A-10 series against La Salle.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:56 a.m.

No. 1 Virginia shuts out Colonials

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

Up against Virginia – the No. 1 team in the nation – and playing their second game in as many days, the odds were stacked against the baseball team Wednesday.

They came in, perhaps, as even bigger underdogs than if the men’s basketball team had advanced to face the Cavaliers in the NCAA Tournament.

Despite Virginia having played back-to-back games as well, they showed no signs of fatigue, overpowering GW and winning the afternoon game, 10-0.

“They all felt that we can play with people. It’s just a matter of putting the pieces together,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “You come out saying, ‘There are 12 of 18 losses that are one or two run ball games that if we learn how not to make those mistakes, we’ll end up with 10 wins.’ You can’t win all of the one run games, but there’s are a lot more wins out there if you just play cleaner baseball.”

The Cavaliers offense was kept in relative check by the Colonials pitching staff, until they scrapped across four final runs in the bottom of the eighth on three hits, one error and a hit batsman.

Until that point, freshman Jordan Sheinkop had been moving along smoothly, after entering in the third inning to replace sophomore Luke Olson, who gave up four runs in the second inning.

Sheinkop gave up one run on four hits in his five innings of relief before the eighth. Ritchie said his reliever started to leave the ball up in the zone, and the confident Cavalier hitter took advantage.

“When you watch Sheinkop go out and there and get ground balls and pitch really solid, the next guy should be able to see that and go, ‘You know what, I’m going to throw the ball over the plate,’” Ritchie said.

Freshman Andrew Piccin came on and allowed three runs to come cross, first by throwing the ball away on a pickoff play. He then intentionally walked a batter to load the bases for a force play, but instead of an out, gave up an RBI single. Piccin went on to allow one more run – his only earned run – while Sheinkop finished with a line of four runs on six hits in 5.1 innings.

GW recorded six hits on the afternoon, but the offense came too late as two of the six hits came in the ninth. The Colonials also left six men on base, including runners on first and third in the final frame.

In the third, freshman shortstop Eli Kashi reached base on a bunt up the left side. He advanced to second on a ball and moved to third on a ground out, but freshman Andrew Selby struck out swinging to end the threat. The same happened for Selby in the eighth inning with runners on the corners and two outs.

“There were about four times during the game that I thought if we got a big hit we could’ve scored three or four,” Ritchie said. “You just never know what happens if you come up with that quality hit.”

The loss comes on the heels of GW’s 6-2 loss to local-rival Georgetown Tuesday. After a road game in Charlottesville, the Colonials (7-18, 1-5) will host George Mason (15-8, 3-1) this weekend for an Atlantic 10 conference matchup.

Last year GW split two non-conference games against the Patriots, but this year, the game takes on ‘added’ importance, with the battle for the Revolutionary Rivalry’s Tri-Corner Hat Trophy all tied up at six wins apiece. Ritchie said he expects a sweep and hopes for bragging rights back home in a household in which both of his kids attend George Mason.

“I’m fully pushing the buttons to say, ‘Hey, I want to be able to go home and tell my kids to shut up,” Ritchie joked.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

Through six innings of play Sunday, it seemed as though the Colonials were on their way to being swept in their Atlantic 10 opening series, at home against Saint Joseph’s.

After falling in the first two games of the series – 13-1 and 3-1, respectively – the Colonials gave up three early runs in the first three innings. It looked to be an early end for a GW team not hitting.

“It was the fourth inning and I walked over to [junior Ryan Xepoleas] and he was kind of like [with his head down],” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “I said, ‘Hey let’s go, you’re going to get the big hit.’”

A run in the sixth inning and a big hit from Xepoleas in the seventh and GW would go onto win the game 4-3, avoiding the sweep.

Senior Colin Milon delivers a pitch to a Saint Joseph's batter in GW's 4-3 win Sunday over the Hawks. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Senior Colin Milon delivers a pitch to a Saint Joseph’s batter in GW’s 4-3 win Sunday over the Hawks. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

The Colonials leadoff hitter came to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second in a tied game. He quickly fell behind in the count on two-straight off-speed pitches for strikes. The Hawks reliever lost the zone, though, throwing three-straight balls outside. On the next pitch, the crowd froze for a moment as Xepoleas pulled an inside pitch just foul for a would-be home run.

The reliever this time went back outside with a fastball and this time Xepoleas lined it the other way, through the left side of the infield to drive in the go-ahead run.

“I faced him [the Hawk's reliever] yesterday and he threw a couple pitches inside and I was ready for him, so I knew he was going to stay out,” Xepoleas said. “It’s just a mentality thing of being ready for anything and just grinding it out.”

The big seventh inning, which could have been bigger Ritchie said if not for a couple base-running mistakes, helped GW pull off the win.

“The first game was a major debacle and we played really good baseball yesterday, but pieces just didn’t fall together,” Ritchie said. “Just trying to center their focus on execution late in the game.”

After a couple quick of innings thereafter, senior Colin Milon – now part the by-committee closer with senior Craig LeJeune out for the season with Tommy John surgery – in his second inning of work gave up a leadoff double in the ninth. A pop up and a sacrifice fly advanced the Saint Joe’s tying run to third with two outs, but Milon got his next batter to line out to right and the Colonials picked up their first A-10 win of the season.

Sophomore starting pitcher Bobby LeWarne kept the offensively-struggling Colonials in the game. He said he knew he had to go out and throw strikes to give his team a chance of picking up a win. But in the first he gave up one run, in the third another two and by the fourth, he already had 65 pitches.

“On our team, we’re always a threat to score,” said LeWarne, who added he wasn’t worried when they fell behind for the third-straight game. “Pitchers behind me threw even better than me – Jordy [Sheinkop] with the win and Colin with his two innings.”

LeWarne and the pitching staff settled in for the next six innings, allowing only two hits, as the offense came to life for the come-from-behind victory.

Series Recap (1-2):

After a strong start to his season, sophomore Jacob Williams earned himself the opening day slot for conference play. In his two previous starts, the Delaware native allowed no runs in 17 innings – yielding just eight hits.

Against the Hawks, though, Williams exited with a much different line: five innings pitched, eight runs (six earned) on seven hits with over 100 pitches – tagged for the 13-1 conference-opening loss.

GW’s lone run came in the fourth off a hit-by-pitch, steal, error and fielder’s choice to bring in Xepoleas. Not exactly the sequence of a flourishing offense.

Game two faired a bit differently, with the Colonials up 1-0 until the top of the sixth, when senior Aaron Weisberg gave up his first run. Entering the inning he had allowed just two hits, but three singles to leadoff the frame tied the game.

Weisberg wiggled out of further damage, but came back out in the seventh to walk the lead-off hitter on five pitches. Senior Luke Staub came in for relief, but quickly gave up what would be the go-ahead RBI double.

GW would go onto lose 3-1, again with its only support coming by way off small ball – a balk in the first inning, following two fielders choice plays, that brought in Xepoleas.

The Colonials will go onto play Tuesday against UMBC, although weather could hinder the game. GW will then go on the road to face preseason-conference favorite Saint Louis for a three-game series.

“They [Saint Louis] could be favorites, everybody could be favorites, but it’s just about one game,” Ritchie said. “You play to the best of your ability and see if you can sneak out some wins and build the momentum.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments