This post was written by Hatchet reporter Pete Hoegler.
After dropping the first two games of the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, baseball was desperately in need of a spark. Against Ball State Sunday afternoon, Jake Williams provided just that.
In 7.2 innings, the senior ace lifted the Colonials (3-4) to a 2–0 victory, striking out a career-high seven batters and issuing no walks.
After only allowing two hits over the first five innings, Williams ran into some trouble in the sixth after giving up back-to-back singles, but the Colonials turned the rare triple play to bolster Williams to a shutout.
“Jake was absolutely terrific for us today,” assistant coach Dave Lorber, who managed the Colonials against Ball State while head coach Gregg Ritchie was out with an illness, said. “Pitching has been our strength for the past year and will continue to be our strength moving forward. We still have work to do but Jake’s performance today was a huge step in the right direction.”
GW got on the board in the fourth inning when junior right fielder Andrew Selby got things started with a triple and was brought home thanks to sophomore catcher Brandon Chapman’s two-out, RBI single.
The Colonials added an insurance run in the eighth inning with another two-out, run producing hit by Selby who scored junior center fielder Joey Bartosic, who had three hits on the day.
Junior Eddie Muhl relieved Williams with a man on second in the eighth, and induced a fly-out to end the inning. He then successfully retired the side in the ninth for his second save of the season.
“It was good for Muhl to get the save today with a two run lead after struggling to close out the win on Friday,” Lorber said. “The coaching staff was satisfied with our effort in Florida. Of course we would like to get better results, but we just did not have it on all sides of the game this weekend.”
With many aspects of the Colonials’ lineup still being figured out, it’s going to be important for players like Williams to spark his ball club to much-needed victories like this one.
Game 1: Kent St. 6, GW 4 (F/11)
Despite a stellar performance from senior starter Bobby Lewarne, the Colonials could not withhold a late rally from Kent State in extra innings Friday in the opener of the Russmatt Invitational.
Lewarne pitched seven shutout innings, striking out five and allowing only four walks on the afternoon.
GW struck first in the third inning when sophomore second baseman Robbie Metz, who has been having trouble finding his offense in this early part of the season, layed down a RBI sacrifice bunt to plate junior third baseman Eli Kashi.
Junior designated hitter Cody Bryant added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out RBI single, but it proved not to be enough when Kent State put a three spot on closer Muhl in the top of the ninth.
The Colonials rallied to force extra innings in the bottom of the ninth when Kashi was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a sacrifice and scored on a RBI single from sophomore left fielder Mark Osis.
In the top of the 11th, Kent State jumped on two errors to pull ahead 6–3. A RBI single by junior Colin Gibbons-Fly got GW within two runs in the bottom half at 6–4, but Kent State held on to clinch the win.
Game 2: Kent St. 7, GW 4
Kent State jumped on starter Robbie Metz early and never looked back in the second game of the Invitational Saturday, taking the decision 7–4.
Metz got knocked for four earned runs on on five hits in 3.1 innings of work. The Golden Flashes extended the lead to 6–0 with two runs in the bottom of the third and a single run in the fifth off junior relief man Jordan Sheinkop.
The Colonials would not go away quietly, pushing across four runs in the seventh and the eighth innings, but Kent State scored one more run in the bottom half of the inning before throwing a scoreless ninth to clinch the victory.