After struggling at many points early in the season, the GW baseball team has found a groove, winning four of its five games last week.
The Colonials began the week by taking both halves of a doubleheader from Coppin State University and closed it by taking two of three in a series with Atlantic 10 rival Virginia Tech.
GW (12-13, 2-1 A-10) played Coppin St. twice Thursday at Barcroft Park, improving to 7-0 at home.
The Colonials return to action with a pair of home games this week against the University of Richmond Tuesday and Howard University Wednesday. Both games start at 3 p.m.
GW 11, Virginia Tech 5
The road has not been kind to the Colonials early in the season.
But GW scored 10 runs in the last two innings in rallying to beat Virginia Tech Sunday in Blacksburg, Va.
“Virginia Tech is the team to beat in this league,” said GW head coach Tom Walter. “But we have faced some of the top teams in the nation on the road this season.
“The main reason we have played so many away games is to take advantage of the weather in the south,” said Walter, referring specifically to GW’s three game series with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Coastal Carolina University and the University of South Carolina. “But the players have gained the experience that will make a difference in conference play.”
The experience was displayed in front of the Hokie faithful, as they watched their team squander a 4-1 lead late in the game. Designated hitter Adam Belicic sparked the rally with a three-run double in the eighth inning, tying the game at four.
The Colonials scored seven runs in the top half of the ninth. Sophomore Dan Rouhier and Belicic both hit two-run home runs in the rally, while sophomore Eric Mitchell added a solo shot to seal the victory.
Senior Tom Baginski showed signs of brilliance in his seven innings pitched, giving up just four earned runs on seven hits while striking out 12 and walking none.
Virginia Tech 13, GW 4
GW managed only six hits while giving up 16 against Virginia Tech Saturday in Blacksburg.
That usually spells trouble in baseball, and it did as the Colonials dropped the second game of a doubleheader to the Hokies.
Three of GW’s six hits were home runs, but they was not enough to overcome Tech’s offensive onslaught. Rouhier, freshman Mike Bassett, and Mitchell all homered in a losing cause for the Colonials. Rouhier hit his home run with senior Mike Roberts on base to collect two RBIs.
Starting pitcher Ari Zagaris gave up eight earned runs in four innings on 13 hits, while the other four runs he surrendered were unearned.
GW 9, Virginia Tech 4
The Colonials got just what they were looking for in their first Atlantic 10 match-up of the regular season – a win over preseason favorite Virginia Tech – by dominating the Hokies Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg.
Rouhier went 4-for-4 with 4 RBIs Saturday, leading GW and earning redemption from a defensive error in the previous game against Coppin State.
Belicic (4-3) fought his way to his team-leading fourth win, scattering seven hits and surrendering only two runs in six innings pitched. Belicic also struck out nine and only walked two batters in the game.
The Colonials’ offense was driven by timely hitting, as GW scored seven runs in the final two innings to pull ahead of Virginia Tech and race to its first A-10 victory of the season.
GW 7, Coppin St. 2
Poor defense has plagued GW in its early season play, and the trend continued in the second game against Coppin State Thursday at Barcroft Park.
The Colonials trailed Coppin St. 2-0 Thursday after the top of the first inning when Rouhier allowed two runs to score on an error.
But the Colonials withstood the pressure of the early deficit and scored seven unanswered runs to win 7-2 in the second game of a doubleheader.
“We should have beaten these guys by 15 to 20 runs,” Walter said. Coppin State (0-15-1) is one of the weakest opponents on the Colonials schedule this season.
GW’s offense was led by freshman Mike Bassett, whose two-run home run in the fourth inning put GW ahead for good, 3-2. Bassett later singled in two more runs in the fifth as GW pulled away with four runs in the inning.
Freshman Travis Crowder started at second base and also led GW with three hits in the game.
“Travis was on base all day, stealing bases, and creating havoc,” Walter said.
At one point in the game, the Coppin State pitcher attempted to pick off Crowder four consecutive times. On the next pitch, Crowder stole second base.
Freshman pitcher Doug Airel (1-0) threw four strong innings for GW, giving up just four hits and one earned run, gaining his first win as a Colonial.
GW 10, Coppin State 8
Jon Green’s RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning broke an 8-8 tie with Coppin State as GW went on to win the first game of a doubleheader Thursday at Barcroft Park.
Crowder and shortstop Ryan Dacey made no errors on defense and accounted for much of GW’s offense.
Crowder scored four runs out of the lead-off spot in the lineup. Dacey had three hits in the game with three RBIs and also scored a run. Both Crowder and Dacey had two stolen bases in the game.
The Colonials led throughout the early innings but gave up three runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game at eight. That set the stage for Green’s single in the bottom half of the inning.
Roberts (1-0) came in to pitch in the top half of the seventh to secure the victory for the Colonials. Roberts faced three batters and got three outs in earning the win for GW.