Historic streaks can come to a close when a team least expects it.
GW, riding a 12-game, program-record win streak into the second game of Wednesday’s double header, had a chance to sit tied atop of the A-10 leader board with Saint Joseph’s. The stage seemed set for the 13th straight win, the Colonials taking the field after the last place team in the A-10, La Salle, a program they had defeated earlier in the afternoon.
But the team could not solve Explorer freshman Mary Cate Scott’s changeup. In a complete game with five strikeouts and four hits allowed, Scott puzzled the potent Colonial offense. They went a combined 1-for-7 from the plate in game two Wednesday as they lost 6-4, after winning the first contest of the afternoon 7-4.
“We weren’t able to make the adjustment. She was just like our pitcher [junior] Courtney [Martin]. What we usually do to other teams was done to us. So we got a taste of our own medicine,” head coach Stacey Schramm said.
The Colonials could not find a rhythm at the plate, but they seemed like they might pull ahead in the final frame as they loaded the bases with two outs.
Valos walked to bring in one run, closing the gap to two, but a Taylor ground out on a nice play by the La Salle shortstop up the middle ended the game, and with it, the winning streak.
“At first we weren’t swinging at it unless we had two strikes. Then once we went through the lineup one time, we decided we were always going to swing at the changeup and that didn’t work,” Schramm said on GW’s strategy at the plate. “The La Salle pitcher did a great job.”
The Colonials were also stunted by a few close calls that, if they went the other way, might have swung the final tally on the scoreboard. In the second inning, GW tried a double steal but senior Autumn Taylor was called out at third base.
“If Autumn is safe on that [play], then that’s another run. Little things just didn’t go our way,” Schramm said.
Freshman Meghan Rico started the game but was chased early after two innings of work, giving up four runs on four hits with three walks. All four of the runs came off the bat of Explorer junior Megan Hodgson, and exemplified the sort of shaky performance that seemed to spread through GW’s lineup.
“The other team was calling her on illegal pitches, I just don’t think she was really able to get into a groove and be comfortable on the mound, ” Schramm said.
The Colonials climbed out to a comfortable 6-0 lead by the fourth inning of game one. La Salle’s defense was shaky throughout the game. The first earned run GW scored was its fourth overall. The Explorers could not field cleanly to the count of four errors, and the Colonials’ first run actually came off of an error by the misplay of a ball hit by sophomore Victoria Valos to the center fielder, scoring the runner from the second.
The game continued on in this fashion until the fourth inning, in which the Colonials scrapped three runs off of two hits. One of the hits was from the already GW single-season RBI record holder, Valos, who drove in senior Tara Fogarty. The senior, who traditionally has performed well against La Sallem had another solid series against the Explorers Wednesday, going a combined 3-for-6 with two runs scored and one RBI.
“Tara Fogarty had an outstanding defensive game and an outstanding offensive game. She was solid all the way through,” Schramm said.
Martin started out strong in game one before walks plagued her. With two outs in the fifth, three singles in a row left La Salle in a good spot to get back into the game. Martin proceeded to walk the next two batters, allowing the Explorers to tack two runs on. When Martin then walked the first two batters of the seventh inning, Schramm pulled her from the game to bring in Rico.
“The umpire’s strike zone was pretty tight, and the La Salle hitters were pretty patient at the plate. The more balls she [Martin] threw, the tighter she got and started pressing,” Schramm said. “It’s really not like her, she just got a little tense, but we were able to score enough runs so it wasn’t an issue.”
Rico then walked two batters and gave up a sacrifice fly to give up two runs before she recorded the final out of the game. Martin ended up giving up four runs on five walks and five hits in six innings of work.
GW will move onto play Dayton as they continue their road swing through A-10 play.
“[La Salle is] a team we really should beat. Our offense wasn’t on and their pitcher had our number. I told them not to hang their heads for too long. We have to move forward and bounce back and that’s what this is all about. We have to be able to overcome it,” Schramm said.