They lost seven players to graduation and the Major League Baseball Draft last year and have 10 freshmen on their roster, but the Colonials are still defending champions of the Atlantic 10. And they’re playing like it.
In a weekend that featured record-breaking pitching and a combined 54 runs to boot, the GW baseball team swept doubleheaders against Fairfield and Towson to improve its record to 8-4.
Senior Greg Conden became GW’s winningest all-time pitcher as the Colonials’ 8-5 win over Towson in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader gave him his 31st career victory. The right-hander surpassed Hank Bunnell’s 32-year-old record of 30 career wins.
Freshman Tom Shanley extended his hitting streak to 12 games and has now hit safely in every game of his early collegiate career.
Junior captain Jeff Fertitta said it has been tough for the Colonials to get into a groove early in the season because bad weather has prevented the team from having much outside practice time.
“You go out and play three games over the weekend and you can’t get out on the field until the games the following weekend,” Fertitta said. “In the middle of the season there are always two midweek games.”
The Colonials’ next game is Tuesday at home against Maryland-Baltimore County.
GW vs. Fairfield
Sunday, March 9
With the Colonials down 8-1 going into the seventh and final inning of their home opener against Fairfield (0-1), GW appeared to be on its way to a bitter end of what had been a largely successful weekend. But the defending A-10 champions did not disappoint the fans in attendance at their Barcroft Park debut, rattling off seven runs in the inning before winning the game 10-9.
The Colonials were limited early by the Stags’ pitching. Meanwhile, freshman Dan Sullivan gave up eight runs, only three of which were earned, on the mound for GW. Sullivan struck out seven batters and walked just one in five and two-thirds innings of work.
GW’s other freshman standout, shortstop Tom Shanley, extended his hitting streak in timely fashion with a three-run homerun to left center field in the seventh to spark the Colonials’ rally.
GW added four more runs in the inning with two RBIs each from sophomore Joe Michalski and senior Tony Dokoupil. Fairfield came back in the top of the eighth with a run, but senior Chris Barry ended the game with a homerun over the right centerfield wall.
With Fairfield worn out, GW rode the momentum into the second game and dominated from the outset. The Colonials scored four runs in the first, two in the third and added another six by the fifth inning before going on to win 16-5.
Sophomore Nate CasaGrande pitched well for GW, allowing just one run on two hits in six innings.
GW vs. Towson
Friday, March 7
GW took both games of a doubleheader against Towson (0-2) Friday, outscoring the Tigers 28-9.
Conden became the school’s all-time wins leader in the first game as GW won 8-5. The right-hander improved to 3-1 on the season and improved his career record to 31-12, allowing three earned runs on six hits in five innings. He struck out four.
The Colonials took the lead for good when senior Travis Crowder hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the second to put GW up 4-1. Sophomore catcher Joe Michalski added a solo homerun in the bottom of the third, his second of the season.
Freshman right-hander Dan Pfau won the first start of his college career in the second game, 20-4, behind a season-high Colonial offensive performance.
“The team got a lot of runs behind me,” Pfau said. “It was a little intimidating at first, but once I got warmed up I was fine. The team was making plays behind me, and that made it a lot easier.”
The Colonials totaled 15 hits and Fertitta, Barry and red-shirt sophomore Brad Rosenblat each had homers in the win.
Shanley continued his strong play at the plate with two doubles in the second game to extend his hitting streak to 10 games before Sunday. He leads the Colonials with a .409 batting average.