The clank of aluminum bats was the only sign of life in GW’s dugout Saturday as the Colonials packed up their gear.
GW (15-25) continued its 10-game home stand by hosting St. Bonaventure at Barcroft Park this weekend for three games. But with run production almost nonexistent in the first two games and pitching a problem in Saturday’s nightcap, the Bonnies smoothly silenced the struggling Colonials with a series sweep.
GW dropped the first game 3-1 in 12 innings and lost both of Saturday’s games, falling 2-1 in game one and 9-5 later in the afternoon. The Colonials missed chances to prevent the sweep in the series’ final game due to sloppy pitching, giving St. Bonaventure the room it needed to complete the trifecta.
“We didn’t play our best. We hung in there, and they were all tight games,” head coach Steve Mrowka said. “We had opportunities, but we just didn’t get it done.”
In the first game of the series, the winner was not decided until the 12th inning.
After a solid pitching performance from junior Brian Derner, who threw just over seven innings of one-run baseball, GW was deadlocked at 1-1 with the Bonnies. But when the tie extended the game into extra innings, the Colonials’ bats fell silent.
Two St. Bonaventure runs in the top of the twelfth broke the dead heat, and when GW failed to respond, its Atlantic 10 rival took the victory.
The Colonials' woes in the batter’s box continued into the second game. Though sophomore Aaron Weisberg turned in a complete game, two-run performance, GW brought only one runner across the plate all game, via a sacrifice fly from senior Brett Bowers in the bottom of the fifth. The Colonials had a chance to tie the game with a runner on third in the bottom of the ninth, but St. Bonaventure’s pitcher Cael Johnson promptly forced a game-ending double play. Junior Derek Brown, who went 3-8 with a home run Saturday, said GW’s hitters need to do a better job of providing some offensive insurance.
“We have to be a little more clutch,” Brown said. “We’re getting guys on base but we’re not capitalizing.”
In the third and final game of the series, the Colonials lineup showed some signs of life but ultimately couldn't overcome the Bonnies at the plate.
Providing two runs in the second inning and then two more in the third, GW’s hitters would have brought the team a four-run advantage had it not been for St. Bonaventure's production at the plate. Junior pitcher Tyler McCarthy got himself into trouble at the top of the third, loading the bases before he was replaced by sophomore pitcher Colin Milon. By the time the inning was over, the score was knotted at four apiece.
Though the Colonials would bring one more runner across the plate in the home half of the sixth, the Bonnies exploded with four runs of their own in the top of the ninth – a burst that proved too much for GW to handle.
Despite the loss, the Colonials hope the team will find its groove – especially on the offensive end – as soon as possible.
“We just have to stay positive. We have four big series left,” Brown said. “Eleven conference wins, and we should make the conference [tournament]. That’s our goal, and we’re sticking with it.”
Mrowka pointed to his team’s offensive struggles as the source of the Colonials' recent losses.
For the weekend, the Colonials lineup went just 24-for-105 from the plate, a .229 average that serves as a symbol of the batters’ recent slump as a whole.
“Our pitching has been pretty good, and we’ve been in most games. Of the last 20 games, we’ve probably been in 19 of them,” Mrowka said. “We have just gotten inconsistent hitting. We don’t string hits together, our leadoff guys don’t get on, and if our hitters aren’t going to produce any runs, it’s going to be difficult to win games.”
As the Colonials delve deeper into the regular season, Mrowka said his team must play with a greater sense of urgency. Sitting at second to last place in the conference, GW needs to start winning A-10 games soon if it plans on making a run in the conference tournament.
“We have to take them one game at a time and try to get a victory,” Mrowka said. “We’ll continue to work hard and try to get better in all areas. But these guys have to come ready to play. They have to step up and produce. That’s all there is to it.”