Conden coasts to first win

After a brief slumber Saturday night, the Colonials’ bats came to life as the GW baseball team tallied 14 hits in an 11-3 rout of Maryland Sunday at the Amtrak Invitational in Deland, Fl. With the win, the Colonials placed second in the four-team tournament.

The Colonials (2-1) scored only two runs in Saturday’s loss to eventual tournament winner University of Kentucky but regrouped Sunday to give senior ace Greg Conden his first win of the season. The win was the 29th of Conden’s career, leaving him one shy of the all-time GW record.

In its regular-season opener Friday, GW upset No. 18 host Stetson University.

GW scored eight runs on eight straight hits in the fourth inning as four Colonials had two hits apiece Sunday. Sophomores Ryan Roberson (2-for-5) and Brad Rosenblat (1-for-2) each had two RBIs in the game.

“If Maryland had jumped out on top early it might have been a different story today,” GW head coach Tom Walter said. “Greg Conden is one of the best. He threw the ball great. Whenever he is on the mound we can compete with anyone in the country.”

After his first scheduled start against Norfolk was canceled last Tuesday due to inclement weather, Conden made his season debut Sunday, striking out six and allowing only one earned run in five innings.

The Colonials never trailed in the game, taking an early 1-0 lead in the first inning after junior Jeff Fertitta singled to left to score senior Chris Barry from second. The Terrapins managed to tie the game in the third inning, but GW never looked back after taking a 9-1 lead in the fourth inning, adding a run in both the seventh and ninth innings.

The GW bullpen had a solid outing, as freshmen Paul Garner and Dan Pfau and sophomore Nick Koken combined to let up only one run in four innings of work.

Sunday’s win capped a weekend in which the Colonials played two 11-inning games on back-to-back nights. GW and Kentucky went into extra innings tied at two runs apiece Saturday, but the Colonials couldn’t finish off the Wildcats, who clinched the tournament title with a 3-2 win.

Saturday’s low-scoring game featured fine performances from GW starter Dan Sullivan (5 IP, 0 ER) and the impressive debut of freshman reliever Josh Wilkie, who also worked five innings without giving up an earned run.

The Wildcats broke a 2-2 deadlock in the top of the 11th when Russ Rutherford doubled to the wall in left-center scoring Brad Pickrell from third base. The Colonials had a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the bottom of the inning when they loaded the bases with one out but failed to send any of the runners home.

The low offensive output was a turnaround from the previous night, when GW upset No. 18 Stetson 9-8 thanks to Roberson’s sacrifice fly, which knocked in Barry for the winning run. Barry also tied the game at eight on an RBI single with the Colonials down to their last out in the top of the ninth inning.

Roberson cracked four of his team’s 13 hits in the nearly four and a half-hour slugfest. A crowd of 1,176 at Melching Field watched as the Colonials handed Stetson (3-2) its second loss of the season.

Despite the Hatters’ eight runs, GW head coach Tom Walter said he was pleased with his pitchers’ efforts.

“In his first start ever Nick Casagrande only gave up two earned runs,” Walter said. “Dan Pfau pitched great, but the guy that really made the difference was Avi Rasowski. He came in and gave us three scoreless innings.”

The Colonials took advantage of shaky Stetson defense when shortstop Rusty Beale missed a potentially game-ending double play ball, allowing senior Travis Crowder to score from second and setting the stage for Roberson’s heroics.

“We struggled a little bit in the middle innings,” Barry said. “But we’re a young team, so it was good to see everybody come and battle hard.”

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