The game unraveled quickly.
The no-hitter attempt for senior Brian Derner in his first start of the season was broken up in the sixth with a line drive base hit up the middle which tied up the game at 1-1.
A pitching change for another lefty lead to a two-run home run and a 3-1 deficit for the Colonials at home against UMBC. Ultimately, GW could not extend its four-game winning streak it took into the game after their A-10 opener sweep against Massachusetts and Tuesday’s win against UMES. GW (8-16, 3-0) fell to the Retrievers (6-9, 3-3) at home, 4-1, under an overcast sky that let down some snow and the occasional hail-like precipitate.
The game, head coach Gregg Ritchie said, was decided by one pitch.
“He let one get away from him,” Ritchie said, “whatever you want to call it,” referring to an off speed pitch from reliever junior Colin Milon that was rocked over the left-center field wall.
Prior to that, Derner rolled through five innings until the sixth. He attacked the strike zone with his curveball to the tune of five and a third with one hit, two runs, two walks and five strikeouts. After allowing his first base runner of the game in the fifth on a two-out, full count walk, Derner fired in for a first pitch strike. He then delivered two straight hooks to retire the hitter swinging foolishly, ending the inning.
“We’re starting to play better out there,” Ritchie said. “But we got to control the heartbeat.”
He was happy with his pitcher’s performance, especially since Derner had thrown nine total innings all season coming into the game; all of those were in relief.
GW picked up its only run in the game in the third, following a game at UMES in which they recorded season-highs in runs, hits, RBIs, doubles and stolen bases.
Against UMBC, the Colonials could only pick up five hits and two doubles, both by senior Justin Albright, who scored their one run and tallied two stolen bases.
Albright stretched a slash hit he sent down to the other field, along the right field line, into a two-out double. On a 3-1 count, junior Brookes Townsend punched a single to left field that dropped in to allow Albright to score without a play at the plate.
But that was all the Colonials could scrape out as base-running mistakes cost them throughout the game.
“Yes I want to be aggressive,” Ritchie said. “But they need to be smart out there.
If the ball barely gets away then you can’t go.”
The eighth inning appeared to be GW’s opportunity to tie it up, prior to UMBC adding on their fourth run in the top of the ninth, but a base-running mistake cost it the chance.
The inning started with a bunt back to the pitcher, which happened repeatedly in the game, to Ritchie’s chagrin. Albright then earned his second two-bagger of the game as he blasted one over the left fielder’s head. Townsend next, singled to left field, but it was too shallow to score Albright in a two=run game.
It was first and third with one out situation and Townsend tried taking second on a pitch in the dirt- aggressive, but not successful.The ball was still in front of the catcher, and Townsend’s mental mistake, Ritchie’s pet peeve, ended the potential rally. He was thrown out and then a fly out to right field ended the inning, deflating the Colonials’ squad and its opportunity for five straight wins heading into A-10 play this weekend with Temple.
“We’re starting to play better out there,” Ritchie said. “We come out everyday to win. You have to win every day, every game, every inning, every pitch.”