This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Ellee Watson.
The Colonials endured a 10-inning shutout and walk-off victory, but were unable to grab the series win over Lafayette College.
GW got its fair share of hits – 25 – in the series, even out-hitting the Leopards, but they couldn’t push the runs across when it mattered most, scoring only 5 runs in the three games.
In the series’ third game, with two runners on base and no outs in the bottom of the ninth, junior Xavier Parkmond was caught trying to steal third, giving the Leopards their first out. It would effectively kill GW’s scoring threat, as consecutive outs by freshmen Cody Bryant and Andrew Selby clinched the 3-2 win for Lafayette.
The Leopards return home with a 2-4 overall record, while the Colonials fall to 2-6 on the season.
“That’s five games out of our six losses we had a tie or a lead and had opportunities all over the place,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “Guys got to get over the fear and stop playing scared.”
The Colonials split the double-header against Lafayette Saturday, losing the first game 4-2. Sophomore Jacob Williams would climb onto the mound for the second game just thirty minutes later and throw a 10-inning shutout that opened things up for GW’s 1-0 walk-off victory.
“It’s a pleasing thing that Williams was able to command as well as he did,” Ritchie said. “If you have a fastball command, no guys can hit you.”
In the bottom of the 10th inning, the Colonials capitalized on three Lafayette errors to earn the victory. Selby reached on an error by Lafayette pitcher Ari Kaufman and later advanced to third on an error by the catcher. Kaufman then intentionally walked freshman Joey Bartosic to load the bases, and two batters later, freshman Collin Gibbons-Fly’s fielders-choice scored Selby as the first baseman’s throw was off target.
Senior pitcher Aaron Weisberg started the first game, giving up four runs over seven innings with three strikeouts. Senior Taylor Lambke tagged him out, before freshman Eddie Muhl stepped in the ninth inning to close the game.
“After the UMES games, and before Jacob Williams, if you look at our pitching, we haven’t really been throwing strike one or throwing a strike on 1-1 and that’s really the big battle,” Ritchie said.
Sunday, starting senior pitcher Luke Staub threw three innings and gave up three runs before being replaced by sophomore pitcher Max Kaplow. Staub had thrown just 65 pitches and recorded only one strikeout.
Last weekend against Southeastern University, Kaplow gave up six earned runs in his start, unable to get out of the first inning. Ritchie was looking for a response.
“I told him he needed to get his act together,” Ritchie said, “He did some work inside. I told him he had a shot to show it. I need to see that energy.”
As a reliever against Lafayette, Kaplow put his foot down and brought that energy, going five innings with three strikeouts, giving up only one hit and three walks.
“He gets all fired up and excited and that’s how he goes,” Ritchie said. “He was really really good.”
On Sunday, the Leopards scored three runs in the top of the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, freshman Kevin Mahala hit a single and was brought in on a single by Bobby Campbell, making it 3-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Colonials had bases loaded with a chance to take the lead. Owen Beightol initiated the offense with a single, followed by Mahala who singled to center field and
Campbell who singled up the middle. With the bases loaded, freshman Eli Kashi missed his squeeze play attempt and Mahala got caught between third base and home plate, being tagged for the first out. Threat squandered.
Down 3-2 headed into the bottom of the ninth, the Colonials had the potential for an exciting comeback victory. GW would hit it solidly and get on base, but as Ritchie said, they couldn’t execute when it mattered.
“We didn’t get pitching in the beginning. We didn’t get hitting at the right times. We hit the ball,” Ritchie said, “this team has actually hit the ball in terms of getting some hits far ahead of last year, but the execution is not there.”
Mahala led the series with two runs followed by Xepoleas and Beightol with one apiece. Xepoleas also had six hits in the series, while Bartosic and Mahala each had three.
The Colonials are still in a comfortable position, Ritchie said, especially in comparison to their rough 0-9 start last year.
“I’m comfortable as long as they let their abilities play on the field and stop playing scared,” Ritchie said, “There is no excuse for mistakes being made by older guys who are supposed to be leading these
The Colonials next play the University of Virginia Wednesday at noon at Davenport Field in Charlottesville, Va.
This post was updated March 3, 2014 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Lafayette College was named University of Lafayette.