Things were already going poorly for the GW baseball team when the fourth inning began: Not only were they trailing Xavier 3-0, but they had already lost to the Musketeers twice in the previous two days. So when a line drive glanced off the glove of junior pitcher Bobby Lucas only to be caught for an out by junior shortstop Tom Zebroski, perhaps it seemed as though the fortuitous redirection may have been a harbinger of better things to come.
Then the series’ narrative resumed as if never interrupted, as Xavier began piling up baserunners and subsequently runs en route to a five-run frame and an eventual 13-3 victory.
For GW’s (20-31, 9-14 Atlantic 10) postseason chances, the loss put an additional nail in a coffin that had seemingly been sealed shut following Saturday’s action. Junior Sean Rockey, who had five hits and a home run in the three-game series, said that the Colonials were well aware of their A-10 situation entering Sunday’s conference home finale and that such bleak prospects likely affected their on-field performance.
“We’ve had a real hard time putting stuff that we can’t control out of our mind and just focusing on the job that we need to do and it showed this weekend,” he said. “We just didn’t come out to play. Simple as that.”
Junior Ryan Lapointe, who pitched in relief during all three losses to Xavier, shared similar sentiments.
“It seems like a lot of people are giving up,” he said.
Lapointe’s effort on the mound Sunday was one of the few bright spots for GW. He allowed consecutive run-scoring singles after inheriting a bases-loaded jam from Lucas in the fourth inning, but settled down immediately thereafter, striking out five of the next six batters he faced.
Lapointe and Lucas, normally used during the week in out-of-conference competition, were needed to pitch this weekend due to an injury to sophomore starter Eric Cantrell, head coach Steve Mrowka said. Cantrell was kept out of action for the second-straight weekend as a precautionary measure due to discomfort in his throwing shoulder.
“They did all right,” Mrowka said of Lucas and Lapointe. “But not good enough for the way we were swinging the bats today.”
The Colonials’ bats were indeed quiet in the afternoon, as they had been for the majority of the series. Rockey’s previously hot hitting cooled Sunday as he reached base just once, on a walk, in four plate appearances.
Junior Tom Zebroski collected three hits, but his teammates largely failed to follow suit. GW was held scoreless by Xavier starter Ben Thomas through the game’s first seven innings, breaking the shutout on senior Tim Reeves’s three-run homerun to straightaway centerfield.
Reeves’s blast was the Colonials’ only hit with a runner on base Sunday. The eighth inning was also the only one in which GW collected more than one hit.
“We just can’t put it together as a team,” Lapointe said. “Everything can’t click at the same time.”
Though they may have seemed lifeless against the Musketeers, Lapointe said he does not expect his team’s downtrodden ways to continue as the Colonials conclude their season next weekend with an away series at Saint Joseph’s.
“This is just a tough weekend,” Lapointe said. “It won’t carry over.”
“We’ll probably come out and win all three next weekend,” he added with a smile.