This post was written by Hatchet reporter Mark Eisenhauer.
After sweeping Cornell Wednesday, the women’s softball team returned home for conference play against La Salle, splitting a double header Saturday. The Colonials shut out the Explorers 9-0 in the first game and dropped the afternoon matchup 7-3.
The player of the day was sophomore Meghan Rico, who pitched all 12 innings of both games for the Colonials. Despite the seven runs scored by La Salle in the second game, she gave up only six hits to the Explorers and recorded an impressive 11 combined strike-outs over the two games.
The day’s first game was all GW. After a hitless first inning with Rico on the mound, the Colonials offense came to life early. Freshman Megan Linn reached first on an error and proceeded to steal second and third before being brought home by a single to left field by junior Victoria Valos.
GW scored twice more in the inning, sparking an unstoppable offensive onslaught that would continue for the duration of the game.
Three more runs came across in both the second and third innings, putting La Salle in a 9-0 hole that they would never overcome – mostly due to Rico’s stellar pitching. Four strikeouts and only three walks held Rico’s shutout intact as the mercy rule ended the game after the fifth inning.
“My catcher has been working a lot with me this whole week,” Rico said. “I’m not used to throwing 14 innings every day, but she has really been keeping me focused every single inning and making sure we mix up the pitches so it keeps the other team off-balanced and not able to catch up with us.”
Rico has seemed to find her rhythm as the season progresses and is proving why she should be seen as the team’s ace.
“[Rico] was on,” head coach Stacey Schramm said. “She didn’t throw that many pitches in the first game and they weren’t hitting her at all. I mean she is our best option right now, so we were just trying to get two wins with her today.”
The second game held as a scoreless stalemate for the first three-and-a-half innings, until a double by sophomore Morgan Matetic and a single from freshman Jillian Galich in the bottom of the fourth inning put the Colonials on the board, 1-0. Rico maintained a no-hitter through five-and-two-thirds innings, but a three-run homer to center field by La Salle freshman Christina Bascara gave the Explorers the 3-1 edge.
GW cut the lead to one in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a solo home-run from Matetic, her fourth of the season. But the Colonials ran into a host of defensive problems in the top of the seventh as they tried to contain the bats of the Explorers.
GW would commit three errors in the seventh inning alone, and finish with five in the game. Those errors would cost the Colonials, as La Salle scored four runs off GW’s kicked grounders that should have been routine put-outs.
The now 7-2 lead for the Explorers would be too great for even the heart of the GW lineup to close and the Colonials tacked on their twentieth loss of the season.
GW continues conference play Wednesday at 4 p.m. against George Mason.