GW offense looks to pound Xavier

The GW baseball team’s offense has demoralized opposing pitching while solid Colonials pitching has shutdown opposing offense. Last week the team scored 36 runs over a two-day, three-game stretch against overmatched La Salle (7-29, 3-12 A-10). GW only gave up 10 earned runs during the three-game sweep.

So, forget the first month of the season – GW lost 10 of its first 14 games. The Colonials are closing in on 30 wins and find themselves tied with Virginia Tech for first place in the Atlantic 10 conference. This weekend they will look to defend their position in a crucial three-game series against Xavier at Barcroft Park.

The GW run supply comes from the top – the first five hitters are all batting over .318. Head coach Tom Walter predicted before the season began, that with the addition of senior leftfielder Matt Walker, this would be the most potent lineup in the A-10.

Nearly every player has improved his offensive statistics since last season. Sophomore Matt Krimmel has muscled six homeruns, three more than last year. Fellow sophomore Mike Bassett has started all 47 games and leads the team with 63 RBI’s. He finished with 43 last season.

Walker is leading the team in offense with a .394 batting average (69 hits in 175 at-bats). His production has made up for second baseman Ryan Dacey’s batting average (.320), which has dropped 50 points from last year.

Dacey and the rest of the team will need strong offensive production this weekend as the Colonials play host to conference rival Xavier in a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader Friday. Dacey said the team knows how important this series is for the Colonials.

If we want to finish in first, we have to sweep this weekend, Dacey said.

Xavier (16-26, 8-4 A-10) is in third place behind GW and Virginia Tech. Last season the visiting Colonials took two of three from Xavier and both teams finished in second place. The stakes are higher this year – GW is tied for first place.

If Xavier takes even one game from GW, the Colonials will be in an uphill battle for first place. The Colonials will finish their A-10 season May 13-14 when they travel to Duquesne. Virginia Tech hosts the Dukes this week and then travels to the last-place La Salle.

GW had two non-conference games canceled this week and Dacey said he didn’t know how that would affect the pitching staff. Dacey also said he wants junior ace Adam Belicic (7-4) on the mound for game one of Friday’s doubleheader because he’s just a gutsy kid.

Belicic, whose season was cut short last year with an arm injury, said he will start in the first game. The junior recovered in the off-season and has pitched 80 innings and thrown three complete games. Dacey said that the complete games and long performances from most GW starters have taken pressure off the bullpen.

Friday’s game-two starter is A-10 Rookie of the Week Greg Conden (7-0). Saturday’s starter will be sophomore Chris Worth (5-6).

Conden leads the team with 68 strikeouts in 69 innings and earned conference honors last week after his strong six and one-third inning performance against La Salle. The Colonials offense pounded 17 hits in GW’s 17-3 beating of the Explorers as the freshman struck out five and did not allow an earned run.

We seem to get more runs when he’s pitching, Dacey said. I think we’ve scored about 85 runs with him on the mound.

Just about everything has improved this year, including attitude. It was about this time last year that the team folded, when Belicic went down with his injury, Dacey said. , Last year the team lost 11 of its last 16 games.

Last year we’d just fold, Belicic said. But this year, the older guys aren’t gonna let it happen.

Baseball Note:

Tuesday’s game with University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Wednesday’s game against Howard were both canceled because the opponents had scheduling conflicts and asked out of their games with GW.

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