Temple captured the Atlantic 10 Tournament title with an 11-6 victory over the GW baseball team in Saturday’s title game at the World Wide Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. The win gave Temple its first conference championship in 17 seasons and grants the Owls an automatic entrance into the NCAA Tournament, their first since 1976.
The fourth-seeded Colonials made a surprising turnaround. After dropping their tournament opener to top-seed Massachusetts Thursday, the Colonials pushed on for the title game, playing every game on the brink of elimination. GW went on to defeat second-seeded Dayton and UMass Friday and forced a title game after defeating Temple Saturday. Temple’s Joe Lyall’s broke the game open with a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth, propelling third-seeded Temple to an 11-6 win.
With three wins in the tournament, the Colonials (38-23) set a new record for wins in a season.
The tournament marked the first-ever collegiate championship played inside Orlando’s Disney complex. The field is larger than all A-10 fields. It is home to the Orlando Devil Rays (AA) and the spring training site of the Atlanta Braves.
Temple 11, GW 6
Saturday, May 19
Temple finished off the Colonials with a three-run sixth inning led by Joe Lyall, who broke open the game and helped Temple to an 11-6 win. GW had begun to erase a five-run deficit before Lyall’s double in the sixth.
In the fifth inning, GW scored two runs, which cut the Owl’s lead to 6-3. In the top of the sixth inning, GW’s Jake Wald hit a RBI double, narrowing the lead to two. GW scored another run off a Temple error. The Colonials held their own until the Owls finished off GW with a sixth-inning rally.
Greg Conden, who gave up five hits, earned the loss for GW. He made an early exit after one and one-third innings pitched. GW coach Tom Walter called on Jason Baker and Dave Rodriguez for relief. Both pitchers lasted less than three innings. Bryan Beggs and Tony King also made relief appearances for GW.
Brandon Bruno won the game for Temple. Temple’s Bob Filler collected three hits and scored twice, while Robert Cucinotta added two hits and three RBIs.
GW 10, Temple 8
Saturday, May 19
Facing elimination from the A-10 Tournament, the Colonials scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning at the World Wide Sports Complex, lifting GW to a 10-8 victory Saturday afternoon. The win forced a decisive game two with Temple, which was played that evening.
Tony Dokoupil singled home Mike Bassett in the eighth and Dan Rouhier knocked in Dokoupil on his run-scoring double that put GW ahead 10-8.
Rouhier collected four RBIs off his three hits in the contest. He and reliever Bryan Beggs combined to lead GW. Owls’ reliever Matt Powell took the loss for Temple, despite pitching five strong innings in relief of starter Alan Birnbrauer, who allowed two runs on five hits while striking out seven Colonials.
GW 9, UMass 1
Friday, May 18
Ron Christie hurled seven innings of one-hit ball in the evening to lead GW to a 9-1 victory Friday that eliminated Massachusetts from the A-10 Tournament. Last year, GW allowed Massachusetts to climb from an eight-run deficit to topple GW 9-8 in the tournament.
This year, the Colonials pounded out 16 hits en route to their win over UMass. Christie earned the win by pitching six innings and allowing one run on six hits while striking out two.
GW 11, Dayton 10
Friday, May 18
Jason Baker helped GW eliminate Dayton from tournament action by allowing four hits in seven innings of work. The righthander struck out eight Flyers and allowed one run and no walks in his strongest performance of the season. Baker watched as the Colonials extended his 5-1 lead to 9-1 with four runs in the sixth. The Colonials nearly threw it all away as Dayton crawled within one run with rallies in the eighth and ninth innings.
Brooks Vogel knocked in four runs with a grandslam in the eight inning that cut the lead to 9-5. GW scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to make it 11-5. But Dayton staged one final assault.
The Flyers knocked GW around with three singles in the ninth, whittling the lead to 11-10. The Flyers had two outs and the bases loaded, but GW’s top reliever Bryan Beggs retired pinch hitter Cory Allen, allowing GW to bypass an almost embarrassing flop.
UMass 4, GW 3
Thursday, May 17
Massachusetts second baseman Adam Stojanowski got the game-winning RBI as UMass shutdown GW 4-3 in the Tournament’s opening round. The Colonials lost two of three to Massachusetts during the regular season.
Dan Rouhier extended GW’s lead 3-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. The Minutemen responded with two unearned runs in the bottom of the inning off GW starter Greg Conden to tie the score at three.
UMass’s Aaron Senez reached on an error by shortstop Jake Wald in the ninth and advanced to second base. Then shortstop Cullan Maumus bunted, putting runners at first and third. Coach Walter swapped Conden for reliever Bryan Beggs, but Stojanowski singled, knocking in Senez for the win.
Conden earned the loss.