James Madison bests Colonials in extra innings

When a player is slumping, he’ll try anything to break out of his funk. He’ll wear his socks lower, change his batting gloves and even try a new flavor of bubble gum. But what do you do when a whole team is slumping? That’s a little tougher.

The GW baseball team is in the process of figuring that one out. While the Colonials showed a glimmer of hope with a win over the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Tuesday, GW lost its 11th game in 13 tries to James Madison 8-5 Wednesday in 11 innings.

“We won (Tuesday night) and (James Madison is) a first place team, and we played well enough to win tonight,” head coach Steve Mrowka said after Wednesday’s game. “I think we’re out of our slump. We got some opportune hits tonight but blew some opportunities as well. I think we’ve been working hard to get our confidence back.”

After the two squads exchanged blows in the early innings, both teams went scoreless with the game square at 5. But after shutting down a JMU threat in the top of the ninth, the Colonials (18-22, 6-10 Atlantic 10) failed to get much offense going in the 9th and 10th frames.

The Dukes’ McKinnon Langston singled to right field to score Steven Caseres for what would be the winning run in the top of the 11th, but James Madison (28-10) wasn’t finished. In only the second at-bat of his five-year career, pitcher Trevor Kaylid smacked a two-run double to deep centerfield to add a pair of runs and stretch the deficit to three.

Even with Tuesday’s victory and Wednesday’s tight battle against a strong James Madison team, Mrowka said GW can get its momentum back only when GW can put some tallies in the win column.

“Team morale is going to get boosted if we start winnings some ballgames,” he said. “Let’s face it, baseball is the kind of sport where you’ve got to produce. Get some hits, and you get confidence. You throw some shutouts, you get confidence.”

Entering Wednesday’s game, GW sat tied in ninth place in the conference standings. Though they do have series remaining against Temple and Xavier, two of the better teams in the conference, GW also has Saint Louis and La Salle – the bottom two squads in the standings – left on its list of opponents.

The Colonials will likely need sound baseball from every position in order to turn its luck around, but Mrowka stressed offense as a necessary component of a successful Colonials’ playoff run. The top six teams in the A-10 make the postseason.

“We’ve got to continue to get the good pitching, and we’ve gotta bust out with the bats,” Mrowka said. “We’ve got to start hitting the ball again. I think we’re doing it the last couple of days, but we’ve gotta build on it.”

GW’s next series against Saint Louis begins Friday in Missouri.

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