The GW men’s baseball team mounted a seven-run seventh inning to cement a 12-2 win over host Norfolk State University in the team’s season-opener Tuesday. Fourteen players saw at-bats and four pitchers saw time on the mound, demonstrating the depth that head coach Tom Walter has at his fingertips.
“It was a good way to get out and get feet wet. Everyone got an at-bat,” Walter said. “I was thrilled with the start. It was a good day not only to win but to get some of the kinks out before we head down south.”
Greg Conden, the team’s ace, earned the win after pitching three innings of scoreless baseball. He struck out three of 11 batters, allowed no walks and only one hit.
Jason Baker was similarly impressive in his three innings, also finishing with three strikeouts. Relievers Glen Skutnik, Justin Orenduff and Mike O’Conner combined for two hits, two runs and three strikeouts over the last three innings.
Baker and Conden represent something Walter said will be a key to the team’s success: depth. Heading into his sixth season at GW, Walter is most excited about this team because of who is returning both on the mound, in the field and behind the plate. It is a main reason why GW is picked ahead of Richmond and Dayton to finish first in the Atlantic 10 West.
In addition to Conden (8-6, 3.72 ERA last season) and Baker (7-5, 3.81), Walter said he has seven different players that are “solid college pitchers” and will see time on the mound. Last season the Colonials finished ranked 34th in the nation in earned run average at 4.07.
As far as position players, GW returns eight players that hit above .300 last season, and three freshmen that Walter said he is “very excited about.”
Seniors Mike Bassett and Matt Krimmel, last year’s first and second team A-10 all-conference players, lead a group that Walter says has had an advantage because unseasonably warm winter has allowed his players outside practice time.
Last season, Bassett hit .326 while leading the team in homeruns and doubles. This season he is poised to break a number of offensive records at GW, scoring one run and driving in one run in his four at bats Tuesday.
Krimmel, who batted .361 last season, drove in two runs on one hit.
Red-shirt junior Travis Crowder (team-leading .372) and junior Jake
Wald (.351) each had two hits in four at bats, while red-shirt senior Tony Brown (.343) drove in two runs in his five turns at the plate. All in all, seven different Colonials drove in runs and 10 different Colonials scored.
Last year the team finished 38-24, 13-9 A-10 with Temple ending GW’s bid for a conference title with an 11-6 win in the A-10 Tournament.