The GW baseball team extended its winning streak to six in a row Tuesday, defeating the U.S. Naval Academy 8-0 at Barcroft Park. The last time the two teams met, the Midshipmen (10-23) knocked the Colonials (20-11) out of the 2002 NCAA Tournament.
Head Coach Tom Walter’s decision to start junior Nick Koken paid off, as Koken, who is normally the team’s closer, pitched five scoreless innings in the win.
“I wasn’t nervous because there is a lot more pressure as the closer,” Koken said. “If you allow one or two runs as the closer, the game might be over. When you’re a starter you can allow a few runs and still win. It was exciting and I had a lot of fun.”
This is not Koken’s first experience as a starter. As a freshman, he started three games and tossed seven innings of no-hit ball on May 2, 2002, in a 17-0 win over Mount St. Mary’s College.
Koken said he has been looking forward to getting the chance to get in some more innings of work.
“I was supposed to start last Wednesday but the game got rained out,” Koken said. “Coach said, ‘Lets give it try’ because as the closer I haven’t gotten many innings.”
The GW offense was also strong in the win. Freshman Bill Simpson (1-for-3) and Anthony Smith (1-for-4) both drove in two runs and Simpson hit his fourth home run of the season.
Sophomore Tom Shanley went 1-for-5 but extended his hitting streak to 13 games and freshman leadoff man Mickey Shupin went 2-for-4 and reached base after getting hit by a pitch.
The Colonials took the lead early and never looked back.
In the first inning, Shupin came around to score on a sacrifice fly by junior Anthony Raglani to take a 1-0 lead and broke the game open in the third, scoring three runs to take a 4-0 advantage.
Raglani (0-for-3) scored on a throwing error after junior left fielder Ryan Roberson (3-for-5) doubled down the line. Roberson, who advanced to third on the error, scored on a Smith sacrifice fly.
The fourth GW run came when junior Brad Rosenblat (1-for-3) doubled in senior Jeff Fertitta, who reached on a walk. Fertitta finished the day 2-for-3.
Koken said the Colonials’ success in the last several weeks has come from a balanced attack.
“Lately we have played awesome. We are hitting the ball and scoring a lot of runs at the plate,” Koken said. “Our pitching has been great, we are hitting our spots and throwing a lot of strikes and we have had a lot of run support.”
The Colonials travel to St. Joseph’s (6-27, 1-5 A-10) for a three-game series starting Friday.