Baseball stays alive in conference playoffs

Jeff Fertitta’s eighth-inning RBI single edged the GW baseball team over second-seed Saint Bonaventure 5-4 in the final preliminary round of the Atlantic 10 tournament Sunday.

With the win, the third-seeded Colonials advance to the championship final of the conference playoffs, where they will face top-seeded Richmond in a best of three series Thursday, May 23 at 2 p.m.

Tied four-four at the top of the eighth, senior Matt Krimmel got the offense going for the Colonials (40-20) with a lead-off double off the wall. The Bonnies then intentionally walked offensive threat Mike Bassett, only to have Fertitta single-in the go-ahead run.

Fertitta also scored the winning run in the Colonials second round game against the Bonnies, off a wild pitch in the 11th inning that put the Colonials up 7-6.

The one-run advantage was all the Colonials would need as reliever Justin Orenduff held the Bonnies (30-13) scoreless in their last two at-bats. Orenduff (9-2) entered the game in the seventh inning and pitched more than three innings of relief, giving up one run off one hit while striking out seven of the 14 batters he faced. The win was Orenduff’s second of the championship.

Starter Nick Koken lasted four and one third innings, giving up two runs off one hit. He allowed the Bonnies to notch a run early, with a first inning walk and RBI single. The second run came in the fifth when reliever freshman Dan Sullivan allowed runners Koken let on base to score.

Freshman Joe Michalski, who went 3-for-3 on the day with a homerun, a double and two RBIs, made sure the Bonnies did not lead for long. He knocked in two runs in the top of the second with his homer over the left field fence to put the Colonials up 2-1.

St. Bonaventure’s main offensive spurt came in the fifth inning off
Sullivan. Sullivan inherited a runner at second and let up back-to-back RBI singles to tie it at three in the bottom of the fifth. Both teams added a run in the seventh and the game remained tied at four until Fertitta’s RBI single.

The Colonials needed Sunday’s win to advance to the championship finals after a 6-4 loss to No. 1 Richmond the day before. The win gave the Spiders home field advantage for the final round.

Richmond attacked early, scoring three runs in both the second and third innings. With two-lead off walks, two infield errors and a wild pitch, Richmond’s scoring in the second could be credited more to the Colonials lack of defense than the Spider’s offense.

Richmond’s three-run third inning was a credit to its offense though, as Adam Tidball knocked a two-run triple to right center, then scored on a sacrifice fly to put the Spiders up 6-1 after the top of the third.

But the Colonials matched Richmond’s three-run third inning with three of their own, a Tony Dokoupil single scored Bassett and Krimmel and Michalski forced an error that allowed Fertitta to score.

Neither team would score after the third as a game that started out as a hitting duel quickly turned into a pitching duel. GW’s Dennis Gramolini relieved starter Chris Worth in the fourth and pitched a scoreless six innings, giving up four hits and striking out three. Richmond reliever Tim Rice did not give up a hit in his three innings of work.

The Colonials advanced to play Richmond after a 12-inning 7-6 comeback victory over St. Bonaventure Friday. Fertitta, who scored the go-ahead run off a wild pitch in the 11th inning, had walked to open the inning and advanced on a ground rule double by Anthony Raglani.

In the tournament opener Thursday, the Colonials beat Dayton handily 8-2. Travis Crowder, who opened the game with a single and started off the Colonials two-run first inning, was the offensive star, going 3-for-5 and scoring three runs.

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