While baseball’s (22-17, 8-4 A-10) Atlantic 10 leading bats have grabbed the spotlight, GW’s bullpen has quietly churned out consistent performances on the mound.
In the Colonals’ three-game series against Fordham last weekend, five pitchers combined for 21 strikeouts and five walks while holding the Rams to 12 runs. Heading into the series, the Colonials’ pitching staff owned a 3.77 earned-run average, good for fifth in the A-10, and 16 home runs allowed set them at fourth-fewest in the league.
Pitching coach Rick Oliveri said the pitchers’ ability to step up across the board to compete has given the team a chance to win.
“Guys have answered the bell when their name has been called,” Oliveri said. “We preach attacking the strike zone, and they’ve done a really good job of that.”
The Colonials have relied on their pitching depth throughout this season, with 17 different players seeing time at the mound out of the 19 pitchers on the team.
Junior pitcher Nathan Woods said that maintaining a level of competition in the bullpen has pushed the team to a higher level of play.
“During midweeks when we have practice, we’ll get the squad against each other to keep the intensity up,” Woods said. “They’re all competing for spots, like who is going to be the first guy out when the starter gets pulled.”
Sophomore pitcher Jaret Edwards started in game one of the Colonials’ series against Fordham Friday, holding on to a no-hitter through six innings. Edwards allowed just five hits and three runs, with one earned through his 8.1 innings pitched.
Junior right-hand pitcher Will Kobos secured the win with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, striking out two batters in the process. He said starters’ ability to stay in the game has contributed to the team’s ability to shut down the opposition.
“It gives us a good thing to work off of,” Kobos said. “It’s pretty exhausting when there’s long games where you use a lot of back-end guys.”
Kobos has been reliable playing in relief this season, boasting a 1.69 ERA through 26.2 innings pitched.
Of the Colonials’ starting pitchers, sophomore pitcher Elliott Raimo owns a team-best ERA of 2.36 overall, good for eighth in the A-10. His 24.2-inning shutout streak came to an end when the Rams broke through the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth in game two of the series Saturday.
Despite the Rams’ late offensive surge in the 7-2 loss, Raimo recorded nine strikeouts through 7.2 innings pitched.
The Colonials are less likely to lose when they lead games in late innings. When the team is leading after six innings, they are 15-2. That record increases to 19-2 when they lead after seven innings.
Junior pitcher Nathan Woods said that run support from the team allows the pitchers to do their job with confidence.
GW’s offense has been powered by senior third baseman Isaiah Pasteur. He holds a program record 27-game hit streak and has garnered a team-leading 42 runs this season.
“When we’re scoring early and getting guys on, especially Isaiah getting on, it just gets the spark started,” Woods said. “I think it makes it easier for our pitchers to get in the groove.”
Woods went the distance Sunday, pitching the Colonials’ second complete-game effort of the season to secure the 7-2 series win.
“I had more intent on every pitch and my slider was just working today,” Woods said. “So when I have that fastball-slider combination it makes me an extremely effective pitcher.”
Woods held the Rams to just five hits and two runs in the game, striking out eight batters in the process. The Mansfield, Texas native threw 117 pitches to secure the win.
With the weekend series win, the Colonials are in sole possession of fourth place in the conference.
In order to keep up the team’s level of play on all sides of the ball heading into the rest of the season, the pitching staff needs to keep attacking the zone and get strikeouts to give the offense the chance to do well, Oliveri said.
“Everybody is talented enough,” Oliveri said. “If we can compete in the strike zone we’ll be on the attack and we just want to continue that.”
The Colonials return to action Tuesday when they face off against the Georgetown Hoyas in Bethesda, Md. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.