Whether they’ve needed it or not, GW pitchers have had a huge cushion of run support to fall back on lately. With Tuesday’s 17-5 win over Bucknell University, GW notched its 11th win in a row, matching the fifth longest streak in school history.
During the run, GW (30-11, 7-5 Atlantic 10) has scored at least seven runs in every game. Senior co-captain Tony Dokoupil said the players are happy with their offensive production but know that as the season progresses and competition gets tougher, they won’t be able to win by out-slugging opponents.
“Winning lately has given us confidence,” he said. “But we’re not satisfied because the competition hasn’t been that strong. It’s great to beat Bucknell, but we need to win conference games. If we want to win the A-10 championship we have to beat Richmond.”
The Colonials play a three-game series against the No. 21 (Baseball America) Spiders this weekend, starting with a 1 p.m. doubleheader Friday in Richmond, Va.
In Tuesday’s win in Lewisburg, Pa., sophomore Ryan Roberson gave the Colonials an early 2-0 lead with an RBI single in the top of the first. Bucknell scored a run in the bottom of the inning to make it 2-1, but GW came right back to score three more in the second to open up a 5-1 lead.
Bucknell (25-13) quickly narrowed the lead again in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs to bring the Bison within two at 5-3.
This was as close as Bucknell would get though, as the game turned into a rout after the second inning. The Colonials scored seven runs in the third to go up 12-3 and never looked back, adding two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth to end up with 17 on the day.
The high offensive output was nothing new for the Colonials, who rank 15th in the nation in scoring with 8.37 runs per game, and rank 15th in winning percentage at .732.
The team is 16-0 when scoring 10 or more runs and has benefited from a lineup that includes some of the A-10’s best hitters.
Freshman shortstop Tom Shanley went 3-for-6 Tuesday, increasing his league-leading batting average to .410. Roberson drove in three runs to bring his RBI season total to 57, which leads the A-10. Roberson also leads the conference in hits and his 1.46 RBIs per game ranks seventh in the nation.
But the offense has hardly been a two-man effort for the Colonials. As of Wednesday, GW led the A-10 in almost every major offensive category: team batting average (.314), on-base percentage (.407), slugging percentage (.506), runs (343), hits (427), doubles (97), homeruns (50) and RBIs (326).
Dokoupil said offensive fireworks would not decide late-season conference games, however. It will be little things that win, he said, and the team knows they need to play their best down the stretch.
“We’re going to live or die on small fundamental things,” he said. “We need to work on moving runners up, getting bunts down and hitting with two strikes. We’re not going to live or die on a three-run home run against teams like Richmond.”
Fortunately for the Colonials, the team’s dangerous lineup is complemented by a pitching staff that ranks second in the A-10 with a 4.44 team ERA.
Before their pivotal series at Richmond this weekend, GW will host George Mason Thursday at 3 p.m. at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va.