Massachusetts sweeps softball in three-game series

Media Credit: Aaron Schwartz | Staff Photographer

Sophomore catcher Priscilla Martinez swings at a pitch during a softball game against Massachusetts Saturday.

Softball (22-11, 2-4 A-10) failed to match the all-around play of Atlantic 10 foe Massachusetts (17-10, 6-0 A-10), getting swept in their weekend series.

GW dropped all three games 7–4, 8–2 and 15–0, marking the first time this season the Colonials have lost four-straight at home. The shutout in the series finale was the fourth time in the season they couldn’t find the scoreboard.

“It was awful all the way around,” head coach James DeFeo said. “We didn’t come out focused on playing well in any phase.”

GW struggled on the offensive side, with only one Colonial – sophomore catcher Priscilla Martinez- recording a hit in all three games. The team’s batting average dropped from .347 to .335 after the weekend, still good for first in the conference.

In total, GW tallied 17 hits and gave up 38 runs over the three games.

Game one

The series opener Friday afternoon was a barn burner, with Massachusetts edging out the Colonials 7–4 in extra innings at the Mount Vernon Field.

The home side struggled for production from the top of the lineup, with the top-three batters of the order combining to go 1-for-13 in the game. The middle of the lineup accounted for six of GW’s ten hits.

“Our lineup is designed that hopefully we’ll be able to hit one through nine,” DeFeo said. “If the top of the order isn’t getting it done, then the middle or bottom will pick them up.”

The Colonials relied largely on defensive errors by their opponents to generate runs. They took advantage of mistakes from the Minutewomen in the bottom of the second, grabbing a 2–0 lead on a two-run double by freshman shortstop Sierra Lange.

Massachusetts climbed back into the game with productive fourth and fifth innings. Three walks, two errors and a passed ball by Martinez allowed the Minutewomen to score twice in both innings and take a 4–2 lead.

The Colonials fought back in the bottom of the fifth, drawing two walks with the bases loaded to even the score and chase Massachusetts’ starting pitcher senior Meg Colleran out of the game.

Leading off the eighth inning, Massachusetts senior third baseman Jena Cozza gave the home crowd a scare by launching the ball over the left field fence, only for it to go narrowly foul. On the very next pitch from sophomore reliever Kaitlin Buff, Cozza again sent the ball over the fence – this time for a home run.

Buff went on to allow two more runs in the eighth, giving the Minutewomen a 7–4 lead that proved to be insurmountable.

Game two

The Colonials struggled to generate offense in the second game of the series, losing 8–2 to the Minutewomen and recording just four hits in the game.

Buff started the afternoon in the circle, but failed to find consistency after hitting two batters in the first frame.

Massachusetts struck first, taking a 1–0 lead in the second inning after the Colonials allowed an RBI single with two outs.

In the next inning, GW showed signs of life with freshman right fielder Sidney Bloomfield reaching first on an error and stealing second. Sophomore first baseman Jenna Cone’s second hit of the afternoon and a double to center by Martinez allowed the Colonials to jump out to a 2–1 lead with two outs.

The advantage was short lived as the Minutewomen plated five runs in the top of the fourth. Buff allowed three consecutive batters to hit singles to open the inning, knotting the game at two. With two outs, Buff walked two runners, allowed a double and gave up two singles to give Massachusetts a 6–2 lead.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have the hits come through when we needed them,” Cone – who was just one of three Colonials to record a hit in the game – said.

Senior pitcher Ashley Pilcher entered in relief in the top of the fourth inning. She forced a batter to pop up to the shortstop, ending the inning and stopping the bleeding.

The Minutewomen added to their lead in the fifth with a two-run RBI triple to right-center after a three-up three-down bottom of the fourth for GW.

Sophomore Faith Weber entered in the top of the sixth, pitching 2.0 scoreless innings with three hits to hold Massachusetts’ lead to six.

Game three

To complete the series sweep, Massachusetts shut GW out in dominating fashion – defeating the Colonials 15–0 through five innings. GW recorded just three hits in the entire game.

“We didn’t come out focused on playing well in any phase,” DeFeo said about Saturday’s games. “We did not commit to our plan and we didn’t execute.”

The Colonials had their share of defensive struggles early on. Senior starting pitcher Sarah Costlow gave up a single down the right field line with runners on the corners to give the Minutemen a 1–0 lead after a wild pitch advanced Massachusetts’ runner to third.

“We’ve definitely played better games than this and I know we can be better,” Cone said. “We need to work on the little things back in practice.”

Costlow struggled to stay in the zone, walking two batters and hitting a third with a pitch in the second inning. Massachusetts jumped out to a six-run lead on three hits in the frame.

The visitors chased Costlow out of the circle in the top of the fourth, and the Colonials again called on Weber in relief. Costlow – who has been GW’s ace throughout her career – allowed seven runs on nine hits through 3.1 innings pitched.

The Minutewomen put a dagger in the Colonials’ chances of winning with an eight-run inning in the fifth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Cozza – who tallied five hits in the series – recorded her second home run of the series to increase her squad’s lead to 15-0.

Despite a single by Ponce – GW’s designated hitter – two strikeouts by the Massachusetts’ closer and a pop fly by Colonials freshman right fielder Olivia Ortlieb cemented the loss in the bottom of the fifth.

“I think the best thing we need to do from here on out is make our adjustments during the games so something like this doesn’t happen again,” Cone said.

The Colonials will face Georgetown at home Wednesday at 3 p.m. to cap off their 20-game homestand.

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