Dressed in a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey and a GW baseball hat, professor of sociology Richard Zamoff threw a perfect strike to GW baseball’s Travis Crowder to kick off the inaugural Jackie Robinson baseball game Tuesday at Barcroft Park. The Colonials went deep four times en route to a 7-1 victory over cross-town rival Georgetown, earning local bragging rights while honoring an American hero.
The game was dedicated to Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers April 15, 1947. The event included a pre-game ceremony where Crowder was awarded the first Jackie Robinson Award, a tribute to the spirit, legacy and character of Robinson for Crowder’s exemplary character and work ethic.
“Travis is a guy that nobody recruited out of high school, and everybody said he couldn’t play Division I baseball, but he has proved all the critics wrong,” head coach Tom Walter said. “He has turned himself into a good college player through his hard work and perseverance.
“(Crowder) is the consummate teammate. He shows up and works the hardest in practice, never being a second late for anything. He’s the first guy there and the last guy to leave,” Walter continued. “To me, it was an easy choice, because he is an exemplary student-athlete.”
Crowder, who went 0-for-3 in the game with a walk, was informed he was the award’s recipient minutes before the game. “He was excited,” Walter said. “He thought it was pretty cool.”
After the ceremony GW pitcher Dan Sullivan started the game, matching Professor Zamoff’s pitching performance with a strong effort of his own in his fourth start of the year.
Sullivan (2-0) had runners in scoring position in four of the five innings he pitched but emerged unscathed, finishing with five strikeouts, three on called strikes.
Shortstop Jake Wald helped Sullivan’s cause with a key defensive play in the top of the second inning. With men on second and third and two outs, Georgetown (7-35 ) freshman Matt Johnson hit a sharp grounder between third and short. Wald ranged to his right, made a backhand stab deep in the hole, and fired a beebee to first to get GW out of the inning.
The Hoyas were not able to threaten after the sixth inning thanks to a strong GW bullpen. Reliever Nick Koken threw a scoreless inning, retiring the Hoyas in order.
Mike O’Connor pitched the final three innings, allowing a solo homerun by Georgetown’s Bill Quinn.
The Colonials’ (24-13) offensive surge began in the second inning when Chris Barry hit a solo blast over the left field wall. Barry’s homerun set the tone, as Wald and Matt Krimmel each hit solo shots in the third and seventh innings respectively, putting GW up 4-0.
Mike Bassett followed Krimmel with a single, and Jeff Fertitta came up and promptly sent a pitch well over the wall for his sixth home run of the season and a 6-0 lead.
The victory was especially sweet for Walter, a ’91 graduate of Georgetown, who is now 5-1 all-time against his former team. GW improved to a commanding 15-3 home record while Georgetown sinks to 1-21 on the road. Professor Zamoff said he was very pleased with the game and said hopefully they could make the game part of a Jackie Robinson weekend, with speakers and other functions.
The Colonials victory followed a sweep of Monday’s double-header at Dayton, two games that had been rescheduled following weekend rainouts. GW scored 26 runs in the two games (17-5, 9-6) to complete a weekend sweep of a conference team.
GW grabbed a comeback-victory in game two, turning a four-run second-inning deficit into a 9-6 win. Bassett’s two-run homerun followed Wald’s two-RBI double in the third that put the Colonials ahead 6-5. Krimmel, Bassett and Barry each knocked in a run in the seventh.
Reliever Dennis Gramolini (1-0) earned the win, replacing starter David Rodriguez who gave up four runs on five hits in just over an inning. Mike O’Connor grabbed the save, his seventh of the season.
In game one the Colonials scored 15 runs in the last three innings to bury Dayton 17-5.
-Lauren Silva contributed to this report