Baseball still in hunt for A-10 Tournament

Monday, May 4

Six games to make up one.

Impossible? Certainly not. But neither is it easy, meaning the GW baseball team has its work cut out over the final two weekends of the season if they wish to leap-frog past Fordham and UMass and into the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

After dropping two of three home meetings with Saint Louis over the weekend, the Colonials (20-28, 9-11 A-10) now sit eighth in the conference, one game behind the Rams and Minutemen, who are tied for the sixth and final spot in the A-10’s postseason. (View A-10 standings.) GW will host third-place Xavier for a three-game set beginning Friday before wrapping up their season with a trio of contests at Saint Joseph’s the following weekend.

“We’re looking at the standings,” senior outfielder Chris Marsicano said. “And I’m pretty sure we need to win every single game for the rest of the year.”

Senior ace Pat Lehman picked up the Colonials’ lone win of the weekend, striking out eight in a complete-game effort in the first portion of Saturday’s doubleheader, in which GW prevailed 7-5. Junior leadoff man Tom Zebroski reached base in all five of his plate appearances in the same game, collecting four hits and earning a walk, and tallied eight hits over the course of the three games.

The first and third games with Saint Louis were less kind to the Colonials, as they lost 13-3 and 7-3, respectively. The series opened on less-than-ideal terms, as Friday’s scheduled starter, sophomore Eric Cantrell, was scratched as a precautionary measure after waking up with tightness in his shoulder.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead, matters got even worse for GW. Five hits, three wild pitches, two walks and an error resulted in seven Saint Louis runs in the fourth inning, a deficit the Colonials were unable to surmount.

“It really, really hurt us and we couldn’t recover,” Marsicano said of the seven-run inning in the eventual 13-3 loss.

The third game followed a similar, albeit less dramatic path, as GW once again enjoyed an early two-run advantage before falling behind and never catching up on their way to a 7-3 defeat.

The series defeat at the hands of the Billikens means GW, which has enjoyed winning streaks as long as five games and losing streaks as long as six this season, has now dropped three of its last four A-10 series. The Colonials have gone 4-7 in that stretch, with Cantrell and Lehman each registering a pair of victories.

Because GW did not play UMass or Fordham this season, a tie with either or both of these teams would be broken via the teams’ record against common conference opponents, a factor that would be determined over the remaining half-dozen contests.

Also, sixth place is not the highest the Colonials can rise in the standings: the A-10’s parity is such that GW sits just three-and-a-half games out of third place and within two games of fifth. Temple, which the Colonials also did not play; Charlotte, which swept GW; and Xavier, the Colonials’ visitors this coming weekend, all remain within GW’s grasp.

As for Marsicano’s earlier ultimatum that the Colonials must end the year on an undefeated run, the senior is confident in his team’s ability to make good on their goals.

“Xavier is no pushover, and neither is Saint Joe’s, but we’re more than capable of beating both of them,” he said.

Should the Colonials do so, they would secure their first berth in the A-10 Tournament since 2006, when GW’s sixth-seeded squad caught fire and eliminated three teams en route to becoming the most successful sixth seed in conference history. Given the makeup of this year’s team, Marsicano said a similar run could be in the cards should the Colonials earn such an opportunity.

“I know that if we do make A-10s, we’re the type of team that can definitely win,” Marsicano said.

Friday’s first pitch against the Musketeers is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va.

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