Junior tri-captain Jeff Fertitta led a balanced offensive attack with a grand slam in the bottom of the third inning Wednesday as the GW baseball team routed Maryland-Baltimore County 11-1 at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va. Freshman Tom Shanley extended his season-long hitting streak to 13 games with a single in GW’s five-run third inning.
GW (9-4) totaled 12 hits in the game, as every starter reached base and eight starters recorded at least one hit. Freshman pitcher Josh Wilkie led the way on the mound, scattering eight hits and striking out six in six innings of work.
“Wilkie made his first career start and pitched extremely well,” GW head coach Tom Walter said. “We pitched well all-around and swung the bats well. It was a good solid win for us.”
Shanley, who was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week for the second time this season Tuesday, now leads the team with a .417 batting average. The freshman has a hit in every game of his young college career.
“He’s got a nice, short and compact swing and he’s able to get deep into the count,” Walter said of Shanley. “He’s a battler and a gamer and he came here with that ability. It’s been a pleasure to watch him play so far this year.”
GW went quietly in the first two innings but broke the game open in the third. After red-shirt sophomore Brad Rosenblat, sophomore Geoff Milsom and senior Tony Dokoupil led off with walks, Shanley’s slap single to left scored Rosenblat. Fertitta followed a strike out with his blast to right center.
UMBC and GW traded runs in the fourth before GW came up with another five-run inning the fifth. Feritta led off with a walk and GW had five hits in the inning, including a two-out three-run homer to left by Dokoupil that put GW up 11-1.
The pitchers then took over, as both teams combined for only three more hits the rest of the way.
GW’s bullpen, which had been a question mark heading into the season, continued to pitch well. Junior Dennis Gramolini, freshman Dan Pfau and senior David Cutler combined to throw three scoreless innings with four strikeouts while allowing only one hit.
Cutler has pitched well out of the bullpen all year. Opponents are hitting just .167 against him and he has struck seven of the 12 hitters he has faced.
“We changed his arm angle when he came up so he’s now throwing from down under and he’s throwing strikes,” Walter said of Cutler. “He definitely has a chance to become a pro prospect if he keeps working at it.”
Dokoupil had four RBIs on the day and his stolen base in the fourth put him in 10th place on GW’s all-time list with 41 for his career.
The team has come alive since being swept in a three-game series with No. 1 Georgia Tech, winning five straight games and scoring at least 10 runs in the last four.
“Coming back to this area from three games in Georgia, the pitching up here doesn’t look quite as good,” Walter said. “You definitely come back with a lot of confidence.”
The team has pitched well and has been consistent at the plate all year, but defense will determine how far the team goes, Walter said.
“The key for us the rest of the way is going to be our defense,” he said. “Overall, it’s been solid so far. We’re going to pitch well and swing well but if we play good defense we definitely have a chance to be a very good club.”