The GW baseball team won the second annual Jackie Robinson game, beating Duquesne 11-5 in the front end of Saturday’s doubleheader. The Colonials (24-11, 4-5 Atlantic 10) went on to win their next two games to sweep the series and extend their winning streak to five games.
Freshman Tom Shanley won the Jackie Robinson award for his work ethic, attitude and overall passion for baseball.
“Tommy’s our hardest worker,” head coach Tom Walter said. “He’s the guy that comes to play everyday. He hustles every play, he’s not afraid to get dirty and he has a great love for the game, so (giving him the award) was a no-brainer for us.”
Walter said Shanley, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound shortstop, was grinning “ear-to-ear” when it was announced he won the award.
“It’s a great honor,” Shanley said. “And that’s how you want to be known – for playing the game right.”
The presentation of the award, which was given to current senior Travis Crowder last season, marks the culmination of Jackie Robinson week at GW, a series of events sponsored by the Jackie Robinson Society. Professor of sociology Richard Zamoff, who oversees the society, said he defers the decision on the award to the coaches but helped establish qualifications last year.
“We want somebody who personifies the characteristics of Jackie Robinson – perseverance, courage, and sportsmanship,” Zamoff said. “And these don’t have to necessarily go with great athletic talent.”
In Shanley’s case, these qualities do accompany athletic prowess. While the award pays tribute to Robinson, Shanley is currently hovering over a number baseball icon Ted Williams made famous – .400. By going 5-for-9 in the weekend series, Shanley raised his batting average to .412.
Playing well and taking two games from Duquesne made the award winner’s day even better, he said.
“It really was a great honor,” Shanley said. “But the team comes first so it was nice to win both games.”
Saturday, April 19
GW 15, Duquesne 5 (Game 1)
The Colonial offense dominated the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, as sophomore Ryan Roberson led GW to a 15-5 victory.
The 6-foot-6 first baseman went four-for-four with three doubles, three runs and four RBIs. He drove in two of those runs with a bases loaded single during the Colonials’ eight-run sixth inning that broke open a close game.
GW held a 7-5 lead going into the inning, but the Colonials sent seven men to the plate and scored six runs before the Dukes recorded their first putout. This mirrored GW’s five-run first inning, when the first five Colonial batters reached base.
Senior Greg Conden (5-3) got the win, allowing five runs on six hits in six innings. Conden, the winningest pitcher in GW history with 33 career victories, struck out eight and walked three in his first win since a March 13 outing against Delaware. Junior Dennis Gramolini pitched a scoreless seventh in relief.
GW 7, Duquesne 6 (Game 2)
With all the power in GW’s lineup, an unlikely source gave the Colonials a 7-6 win in the back end of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Sophomore Geoff Milsom led off the sixth inning with a solo home run that put GW ahead, 7-6. It was only Milsom’s second home run of the season and came in his first at bat of the game.
Milsom took Ryan Roberson’s spot in the fifth inning after Roberson hyper-extended his arm during a collision at first base. Roberson, who would miss Sunday’s game because of the injury, hit a grand slam in the first inning to give himself eight RBIs on the day. GW followed the grand slam with another run in the first and one more in the second to jump out to a 6-0 lead.
Duquesne (16-20, 9-4 A-10) got to sophomore southpaw Dan Sullivan (1-1) in the third, though, as the Dukes scored five runs with the help of three GW errors.
After the Dukes tied the game in the fifth, sophomore reliever Avi Rasowsky (3-0) came in and shut down Duquesne for the remaining 2 2/3 innings. The performance earned Rasowsky his second win of the week and brought his ERA to a team-low 3.38.
Sunday, April 20
GW 7, Duquesne 3
GW completed its sweep of Duquesne Sunday with a 7-3 victory on the strength of freshman Josh Wilkie’s right arm.
The 6-foot-2 right hander pitched eight innings and gave up two runs on three hits while striking out seven and walking three. Wilkie (4-1) is second on the team in strikeouts with 47, trailing Greg Conden by 14.
Sophomores Anthony Raglani and Brad Rosenblat backed up Wilkie’s pitching with solid offensive performances. Raglani hit a three-run homer in the seventh and finished the game one-for-two with three RBIs and two runs scored. Rosenblat went two-for-three with an RBI, two runs scored and a walk.
GW’s next game is Tuesday against Delaware at 3 p.m. at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va.