The GW baseball team will return to the Atlantic 10 Championship for the sixth straight year after sweeping a three-game weekend series against La Salle. The Colonials took game one and three, both by a score of 1-0, and out-slugged the Explorers 11-8 in game two at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va.
Pitching keyed two of the victories, as sophomore Josh Lutz and junior Josh Wilke pitched brilliant baseball, both throwing complete game shutouts.
“This weekend was some of the best baseball we have played all year,” GW coach Steve Mrowka said. “It’s huge for us to clinch a playoff spot.”
Since breaking a three-game losing streak at Xavier on May 7, GW (36-16, 15-6 A-10) has won six straight games. With just four regular season games remaining, the team has kept alive the hope of winning 40 games.
The Colonials are in first place in the A-10 West. GW joins Fordham and Rhode Island as teams that have qualified for the A-10 Tournament, held this year in Dayton, Ohio, from May 25-28. Winning the A-10 West may give the Colonials a first-round bye.
Saturday’s doubleheader was Senior Day for the Colonials, and the team honored its seven seniors with the completion of a series sweep.
Wilkie started and finished game two of the doubleheader, allowing just three hits. In the third inning, senior catcher Joe Michalski doubled and later scored on a single hit by senior Brad Rosenblat. The run was all Wilkie needed to notch his sixth win of the season.
“He’s been almost automatic for us all year,” Mrowka said. “He gave us the opportunity and we capitalized.”
In game one on Saturday, the Colonials won a slugfest, 11-8. In the bottom of the sixth, with the teams knotted at eight, GW retook the lead when sophomore Michael Parker cleared the bases with a three-run double. Freshman Joel Brookens entered in the seventh and closed out the game for his sixth save of the season.
La Salle bats shelled starting pitcher Dan Sullivan, who allowed all eight Explorers (17-31, 8-13 A-10) runs over just three and two-thirds innings. He was replaced by senior Nate CasaGrande who was brilliant over two-and-a-third innings, allowing just one hit and picking up his third victory of the season.
GW stormed out to 3-0 lead after the first inning, but the Explorers rallied to take a 5-3 lead in the top of third. In the bottom of the third, redshirt-freshman Josh Goldberg hit a three-run home run to put the Colonials back up 6-5. But the Explorers got three more in the top of the fourth to regain the lead 8-6. In the bottom of the fourth Rosenblat hit a two-run homer to tie the game at eight.
Rosenblatt finished 3-for-4 and his home run was his A-10-leading 16th of the season.
On Friday, Lutz was lights out, throwing a complete game two-hitter. Lutz struck out nine while walking just two hitters. He faced just 31 hitters, four over the minimum.
Michalski provided all the offense Lutz would need when he led off the fifth inning with a solo-home run, his ninth of the season. Lutz’s performance moved him to 7-0 on the season while his ERA dropped to a lowly 2.01.
“(Lutz’s) arm was bothering him last week so we gave him the week off and it was just what he needed,” Mrowka said. “To throw a shutout in our park, a hitter’s park: that’s impressive.”
GW will close out their 2005 regular season with four road games. Wednesday the Colonials travel to the University of Maryland-Baltimore looking to sweep the season series. GW won the first game 5-1 March 30.
The Colonials will continue traveling up the East Coast to Temple (15-31, 7-14 A-10) to close out their A-10 regular season. The two teams will play a doubleheader Thursday and then finish the series Friday. The rivals have not met since 2003.
“It’s a short week for us, and it’s been tough with injuries and exams,” Mrowka said. “I am concerned about our injuries.”
Mrowka plans to keep his pitchers on a strict pitch count but plans to uses his regular rotation.
Colonials sweep George Mason
The squad defeated George Mason 6-4 at Spuhler Field May 10 in Fairfax, Va., to complete the season sweep of the Patriots for the second straight year.
“We hit the ball well today,” said GW head coach Steve Mrowka. “We made hard outs and even though it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet it was one of our best-hitting games all season.”
Freshman Brian Frazier kept up his winning ways, moving to 7-0 on the season. Frazier allowed just four runs, three earned, over seven innings while striking out seven Patriots.
“Frazier was impressive today,” Mrowka said. “We played a hot team that had (a) good hitting streak going, and he held them off long enough for us to score.”
Senior Avi Rasowsky pitched a scoreless eighth inning and in the ninth, Brookens came in and picked up his fifth save of the season.
The Colonials trailed 2-1 going into the top of the fourth inning, but a three-run fourth and two run fifth put GW ahead for good. Senior Ryan Roberson was 2-for-4 with an RBI double.
Colonials break out of funk, beat Xavier
The GW baseball team snapped a three-game losing streak, taking the final two games of a three-game set with Xavier May 7 and 8.
After blowing a lead and losing 4-3 in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, the Colonials offense awakened, winning the second game 7-4 and taking the final game 5-4 Sunday.
On Sunday, the Colonials jumped out to a 5-1 lead over Xavier behind home runs from junior Tom Shanley and senior Ryan Roberson. Shanley hit a two-run homer during the Colonials’ three-run third inning.
Wilkie allowed two runs to score in the bottom of the eighth inning, cutting GW’s lead to 5-3. In the ninth, the Colonials gave the ball to Brookens, who allowed the lead-off hitter to score but closed out the inning. Wilkie picked up his fourth win of the season while Brookens picked up his fourth save.
On Saturday, the Colonials’ offense belted three home runs in a 7-4 victory. With GW up 4-2 in the sixth, junior Matt Owens hit a two-run homer to put the Colonials up by four. Roberson hit a solo home run to put the Colonials up 7-2 in the seventh. The Musketeers got two in the seventh, but it was not enough as GW won 7-4.
Senior Dan Sullivan went six and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs while striking out seven. Brookens recorded one out for his third save of the season.
Shanley was 1-for-3 with a solo home run and two runs scored.