Baginski, GW pitching staff are aces in Colonials’ deck

Junior Tom Baginski has blossomed into one of the aces of the GW baseball team’s pitching staff this season.

Coming off a tough 21-33 season last year, the Colonials have improved greatly thanks to Baginski and the rest of the pitching staff, and are 32-14 overall and 13-2 in the Atlantic 10.

After a decent season a year ago (2-4, 4.44 earned run average), Baginski has been recognized for his success this season. The lefthander was twice named the A-10 Pitcher of the Week. His record this season is 6-3 and he has recorded 94 strikeouts and only 18 walks this season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio – which is a good way to judge how well a pitcher is performing – is an amazing five-to-one.

Baginski has pitched a team-high 80.1 innings so far this season, allowing just 61 hits and 30 runs. He also lowered his ERA to 2.69 after giving up just two runs in a win over Xavier Sunday.

Most of the team’s staff has been solid all season. GW pitching is in second place in most of the conference’s pitching statistics, head coach Tom Walter said. Baginski, freshman Adam Belicic and junior Ari Zagaris, have recorded 18 wins and 13 complete games for the Colonials.

Baginski said the team has made an important transition from last year to this year, which is why the team has had unprecedented success this season.

“Tom Walter and (assistant coach) Joe Raccuia are both in their second year as our coaches,” Baginski said. “Last year was sort of a transition year for them and for the team. This year, they have come to prove themselves as good coaches, which was a big turning point for us.

Not only did the Colonials pick up two new coaches before last season, they also recruited nine new freshmen for the team this season. The new players, along with the second-year coaches, have helped turn the team into a more competitive ball club.

“The new guys are another turning point for the team,” Baginski said. “The young guys came in wanting to win. Together, we have now learned how to win as a team.”

Baginski also said the freshmen, many of whom are on the pitching staff, knew they had to make a big adjustment from high school baseball to college baseball, and “they have stepped up. The freshmen are getting playing time and prove themselves when they are on the field.”

Baginski’s proudest moment as a Colonial came Saturday, when the team clinched first place in the A-10’s West Division, he said.

“I had thought about winning the Atlantic 10 first-place spot during my senior year, but to clinch first in my junior year is great.”

Baginski said he thinks the team must continue to play together if it wants to advance further, especially if it wants to compete with a team like Massachusetts in the conference tournament. UMass is the first-place team out of the A-10 East Division.

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