With a swing of the bat, sophomore Victoria Valos nailed a walk-off two-run homer over the right field fence, earning herself the single-season RBI record. By the end of GW’s Saturday doubleheader, she walked away with 38 total RBIs on the season. The previous record, 33, was reached three times – including by Valos last season.
In part spurred by her efforts, the Colonials (18-17, 5-3) went on to win the first game of the doubleheader against St. Bonaventure (5-31, 2-12) 7-5 and won the second in an 8-0 mercy in six innings, extending their win streak to seven.
Valos hit two home runs in the first game, including a solo shot in the fifth, that gave her 10 total homers on the season, just one shy of her program record of 11. Following the standout three-for-four performance in the first game, Valos tacked on an early base hit to score a run in the first inning of the second game, one of two RBIs in that game for the sophomore.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know I broke [the record], but it feels really good to just know you have the team behind you and your coach is working hard with you, and [I] wouldn’t be where I am without them,” Valos said.
It was in the first game, particularly, that head coach Stacey Schramm said she was very happy to have her slugging shortstop.
“She’s amazing. She saved the game for us,” Schramm said. “In the bottom of the seventh when she got up, I knew we were going to win right then and there.”
GW battled through a game that Schramm said was closer than the team had likely anticipated. Junior Courtney Martin allowed five runs through six innings, an outing that Schramm said was probably the hardest the pitcher has ever been hit, pointing to the fact that loopy swings from the Bonnies’ hitters connected easily with Martin’s change-up.
The two teams traded runs throughout the early innings of the first game, until a St. Bonaventure sacrifice fly tied it in the sixth. Senior Tara Fogerty led off the seventh with a walk, setting up Valos for her two-run walk-off blast.
“The first game, they kind of just thought they could show up and could chill and relax through the whole game, and it almost bit us in the rear end,” Schramm said. “The second game, we challenged them to really treat them like any other top A-10 team, because right now the A-10 is so wide open so everyone has hope, and they feel like they can make it.”
The second half of the doubleheader was led by freshman pitcher Meghan Rico who had come in for relief in the seventh in the previous game, tossing a perfect inning in relief after stepping into a tie game.
“I actually didn’t even realize that the game was tied when I went in there because I was warming up for so long. But once I did, I knew that if we shut them down, we had the game,” Rico said.
After playing an inning in the first game, Rico knew from the get-go what she had to do when taking the mound for the second game of the day. She had to stay away from her curveball and change up and just stick to pitching up and in. Rico pitched the full six inning game to the tune of no runs, two hits, three walks and nine strikeouts as she pounded the zone.
GW worked strong at-bats throughout the game. The fourth inning found the Colonials with the bases loaded and nobody out after consecutive bunts, one for a single and one sacrifice that was misplayed. Senior Amanda Zakeri, who came into the series tied for second-most steals in the Atlantic 10 with 19, was hit in the head on the first pitch, advancing her to first and driving in one of the three runs in the inning. Zakeri seemed to be unharmed, though, as the helmet provided sufficient protection.
The game ended after GW tacked on two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Valos’ last RBI of the day came when she, too, was hit by a pitch, driving in a run and cementing the Colonials’ 8-0 victory.
GW next heads to Rhode Island Friday for a two-game series with the Rams.