To kick off its first weekend series in nearly a month Friday, Baseball (20-21, 5-7 A-10) routed second-place Rhode Island (21-16, 10-4 A-10) 15–5 in a matchup which saw the Colonials execute in every phase of the game.
Two days later, having won six of their previous eight games, GW hosted a doubleheader at Tucker Field. But untimely mistakes at the mound proved to be costly against the Rams bats, which were the difference-makers Sunday.
The Colonials now find themselves in a three-way tie for eighth place in the Atlantic 10 standings after winning only one of their four conference series so far.
Here’s how the weekend unfolded for the Colonials:
Game 1: GW 15, Rhode Island 5
Junior starting pitcher Brady Renner took the mound Friday and put together 5.2 innings of work, keeping the Rams at bay. Renner allowed four runs on only seven hits. The Carle Place, N.Y. native has been the Colonials’ most reliable starter this year, sporting a 6–3 record and an ERA of 2.47.
In a game where GW caught fire and connected for 17 hits, Renner credited his teammates for his victory.
“It’s the best thing in the world – it’s like these guys give me motivation, they put up runs, and they have my back,” Renner said. “I’ve gotta go out on the mound and do the same thing – I gotta have their back, and do my job.”
The Colonials blasted eight runs in just the first third of the game, scoring four in both the second and third innings. The highlight of the afternoon came in the bottom of the second inning, when junior second baseman Robbie Metz blasted an inside-the-park home run over the head of Rams right fielder Mike Foley.
The Colonials saw five starters record multiple hits, with senior third basemen Eli Kashi finishing a team-best 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a run.
Senior closer Eddie Muhl, who threw 50 pitches over three scoreless innings, was credited with his eighth save of the season. Muhl was also recognized as the 2017 Jackie Robinson Award recipient in a pregame ceremony.
“It means a lot,” Muhl said. “Over my four years here all the guys who have won it have been huge character guys, guys that have helped the team on and off the field.”
Game 2: GW 2, Rhode Island 7
In the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Colonials jumped ahead 1–0 after Metz dropped in a left field single in the bottom of the fourth inning to drive in first baseman Bobby Campbell from second base.
Rams cleanup hitter Chris Hess responded with the bases loaded and flied out to deep center field, scoring a run to tie the game, 1–1.
In his fifth start of the season, Metz threw 100 pitches and allowed just three runs. He doubled his total strikeouts on the season from eight to 16.
After putting runners on second and first, he was replaced by Muhl in the top of the seventh inning.
On just two days rest, following Friday’s three-inning save, he was not as sharp. The closer yielded a single to Jesse Lee to load the bases and allowed a walk to put the Rams ahead, 2–1 in the top of the seventh. Rhode Island’s Matt O’Neil followed it up by hitting a sacrifice fly to right field, pushing the Rams lead to 3–1.
The Colonials narrowed the deficit to 3–2 in the bottom of the seventh, when senior Joey Bartosic drove in junior catcher Brandon Chapman from second base, but that would be as close as GW would get.
In the ninth inning, junior southpaw Kevin Hodgson allowed a double, a walk and a wild pitch. Hess then roped a double into left field to score two more.
Two batters later, Rhode Island senior Mike Corin would put the game on ice. The North Providence, R.I. native took a pitch right over the plate on an 0-2 count and smacked it 360 feet over the left field wall to put the Rams up for good, 7-2.
Game 3: GW 3, Rhode Island 5
The second game of the doubleheader looked much like the first. Freshman Elliott Raimo made his 10th start of the season.
Raimo left an 0-2 pitch over the plate for Corin, who hit his second home run of the day to score two runners on base and put the Rams up 3-1.
The Colonials tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fifth, when Rams pitcher Vitaly Jangols walked Chapman and junior outfielder Mark Osis before Bartosic drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, a double steal by Osis and Bartosic at second base evened the game at three. On the same play, Bartosic set a program record for all-time stolen bases with the 80th of his career.
The Rams used the long ball to put the game away in the top of the eighth. Hess hit his third home run of the season over the left-field wall, putting the Rams up for good.
“I was feeling well in the first three innings… the runs I let up came on one mistake where I left the ball up over the plate too much on an 0-2 count, which shouldn’t happen,” Raimo said. “I just did the same thing again in later innings, which is frustrating, but we got to come back the next time and execute the next pitch.”
In the top of the ninth, Osis sprinted for a fly ball that went foul towards the GW bullpen. Osis flipped over the fence and crashed violently to the ground while securing the out.
“Everybody who saw it said that catch by Mark was the best catch they had ever seen,” pitching coach Rick Oliveri said after the game. “Mark is a freak athlete and he plays hard every single pitch, and I don’t know how many other guys can make that play.”