Senior Heidi Penna stood outside the Colonials’ dugout as her teammate grabbed a handful of ice and threw it on the pitcher, congratulating her on GW’s 7-3 victory over District-rival George Mason.
The victory closed the Colonials’ non-conference and home schedule for the season and was Penna’s last game on her home mound.
It was emotional, Penna said, but after GW celebrated Senior Day against Dayton over the weekend, the Wednesday outing against the Patriots felt looser.
“I’ve had four great years here, and this is the last game I’ll ever play on the field, so that’s definitely...it definitely takes a toll,” Penna said. “Most of that went out on Senior Day – we were all pumped, because it was a conference game.”
Penna threw for six innings, allowing five hits, three runs – all unearned – and struck out three batters on 28
batters faced. The victory moved her record to 4-1 on the season and tallied another mark in the win column for GW, which has won 10 of its last 14 games.
The pitcher relied on her rise ball throughout the game, working with what she called a narrow zone at the plate. An early offensive push from her teammates, Penna added, allowed her to keep calm.
“That’s always great. I have a solid offense behind me, and it’s great to get a lead like that,” she said. “It definitely relaxes you on the mound.”
The Colonials went up 2-0 early, with senior Lauren Wilson and junior Autumn Taylor crossing the plate to score in the first. But GW exploded offensively in the thrid, the team tallying four runs and three hits before the inning was over.
Taylor smashed a home run to center field at the top of the third, scoring freshman Victoria Valos. Next, junior Tara Fogarty walked, followed by junior Sandi Moynihan, also a Hatchet reporter, who smashed the second home run of the inning for the Colonials.
Head coach Stacey Schramm said the team’s offensive production – GW has 36 home runs on the season, good enough for second in the A-10 – takes root in its practice.
“They’re always coming in extra for hitting with [assistant hitting coach] Holly [Farris],” Schramm said. “Lauren’s always in extra, Autumn’s always in extra. [Valos], she’s always coming in extra. It shows. It’s not just coincidence that they’re hitting well. They’re putting in the extra work.”
After the third inning, GW would only score once more on the day, with Valos tallying an unearned run in the sixth. Taylor finished the day with two runs, two RBIs and a hit, while Moynihan added three RBIs, three hits and a run. Valos tallied two runs and two hits.
The closest George Mason would come to answering the Colonials’ offensive salvo was in the fifth inning, when the Patriots put up three runs and two hits to pull within three. It was a frustrating series of play, Schramm said, one that saw George Mason players earn positions on base from a walk, a GW error and get hit by a pitch.
Though the Patriots added three scores, all unearned, Schramm said ultimately it was not cause for worry in the Colonials’ dugout.
“It was frustrating,” Schramm said. “We weren’t stressed, because they didn’t earn it. The bottom line is, it was kind of frustrating, because we should have been out of the inning, and it should have been zero.”
With its home season complete, GW will round out the rest of its season with a four-game road stand, beginning with an April 28 trip to St. Bonaventure. The next four contests are all A-10 games, and as the Colonials battle for a position in the six-team A-10 championship, staying strong on the road is crucial.
GW sits in fifth place in the league. A postseason bid would be the program’s first Atlantic 10 Championship berth since 2007 and the second in program history.
“We really used this game to get ready for St. Bonaventure on Saturday. That’s what I told them before. Bottom line is, we have a big doubleheader this weekend. We need to use this game to prepare for that,” Schramm said. “And they did.”