The GW baseball team is on a tear. Entering the last month of the season, the Colonials have won 12 in a row, including three straight series sweeps of Atlantic 10 foes.
On Sunday, GW (36-14, 18-3 A-10) earned its first A-10 West title since 2000 and clinched a first round bye in the conference tournament, which will be held May 26-29 in Norwich, Conn. It is the baseball program’s sixth A-10 West title and the third under Head Coach Tom Walter.
The Colonials have now made the conference tournament an A-10 leading fifth straight time and set a school record with 19 conference victories.
“If you (have) the bye, you will save your pitching,” Walter said. “In a six team tournament if you go deep into the tournament you’re going to need every arm healthy.”
GW vs Xavier
Sunday was senior day for the Colonials, who completed a series sweep of Xavier with an 8-1 victory. Freshman Anthony Smith started the game, allowing one run in seven innings. Junior Anthony Raglani’s fourth inning three-run homer put the game out of reach. Senior pitchers David Cutler and Dennis Gramolini both pitched scoreless innings.
Saturday, GW got a little luck and timely hitting to sweep a doubleheader over Xavier. In game one, the Colonials trailed 3-2 going into the seventh but with two outs and the bases loaded, sophomore Matt Owens hit a slow roller to the Xavier shortstop that looked like an easy play to second. But freshman Mickey Shupin beat the throw, and a run scored to tie the game at three.
Sophomore Tom Shanley followed with a shallow pop-up, which Xavier’s second baseman could not handle. The play resulted in an error, which allowed two runners to score. Lutz came on and picked up his 10th save of the season, which tied a GW single season record.
“I have never really done this role before but it’s fun to come out and do it for these guys who play hard all game,” Lutz said. “I have kind of gotten into that closer mentality. It was hard in the beginning but I got the hang of it.”
In game two, the Colonials’ bats awoke, blasting Xavier pitching for 11 runs. On the mound for GW was sophomore Josh Wilkie, who allowed just one run over six innings to pick up his fifth win of the year and lowered his ERA to 2.64 on the season.
The Colonials return to action Tuesday when they play University of Delaware. Next weekend GW will close out the A-10 schedule when it travels to Pittsburgh to play a three-game series with Duquesne.
GW 6, George Mason 3
GW defeated George Mason 6-3 Tuesday. The Patriots came in with a 31-13 record but were dispatched by the streaking Colonials. Freshman starter Anthony Smith allowed three runs on the mound in six and two-thirds innings.
Smith also came through at the plate, breaking a 3-3 tie in the ninth with a solo home run, his 13th of the season. The Colonials tacked on two more runs and junior Avi Rasowsky picked up his sixth victory of the season in relief of Smith.
Smith is also approaching a Colonials milestone. He currently has 65 RBIs, which is only 12 behind the single season record of 77 held by Mike Bassett (’02) and Joe Beichart (’99).
“I haven’t been really thinking about it,” Smith said. “When ever there is a runner on base I just try to knock him in. I mean so far I have been having a good season, I have been able to fight through slumps and stay hot when I have been hot.”
GW at La Salle
On May 1-2 the Colonials traveled to Philadelphia and swept a three-game series over La Salle (19-23, 5-16 A-10).
GW wrapped up the weekend by crushing the Explorers 17-1, as 10 GW batters drove in runs, including junior Brad Rosenblat, who hit a grand slam.
Saturday, the Colonials won the first game of a doubleheader 6-2 on the arm of junior Dan Sullivan, who pitched six innings, allowing only two runs. In game two, the Colonials broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning with two runs that gave them a 7-5 win.