Baseball drops weekend series after shaky showing on the mound

Media Credit: Donna Armstrong | Contributing Photo Editor

Redshirt senior Brady Renner throws a pitch during Saturday's game against Saint Joseph's. The Colonials lost the weekend series against the Hawks.

Baseball looked to close a monthlong homestand on a high note and avoid falling behind early in the Atlantic 10 standings.

But in their sixth consecutive home series and their second three-game set of conference play, the Colonials (15–12, 2–4 A-10) fell victim to weak bullpen pitching in a series loss to Saint Joseph’s (12–12, 5–1 A-10). The Hawks entered the weekend having won eight of their last 10 games.

The Colonials bookended a 10–4 win Saturday with a 4–2 loss Friday and an 18–12 loss Sunday. GW gave up 34 hits across the three-game series and went through at least four pitchers per contest on the weekend.

“We just didn’t get it done on the mound,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said.

Game one

The Hawks pitched their way to a 4–2 win Friday afternoon as Saint Joseph’s junior right-handed starting pitcher Jordan DiValerio spun a gem on the mound with 10 strikeouts over eight innings, blanking the Colonials after a two-run first inning.

Junior right-handed pitcher Elliott Raimo started on the mound for GW with just 4 ⅓ innings under his belt after his sophomore campaign was shortened by a shoulder injury. Raimo allowed just seven base runners over five innings of work.

The Colonials came out as the aggressors against DiValerio, with four of their seven hits on the day coming in the bottom of the first inning.

The bases were loaded with just one away for sophomore infielder Tyler Hix, who ranks second in the Atlantic 10 with 29 runs batted in. Hix swung on the second pitch and doubled off the top of the right-field wall, just barely missing a four-bagger, to drive in two runs and propel GW to an early 2–0 lead.

After a 1-2-3 first inning, the heart of the Hawks’ order did damage against Raimo in the second frame. In the clean-up spot, right-handed hitting freshman infielder Nate Thomas worked Raimo to a full count before drawing a walk. After Raimo struck out the next batter, freshman designated hitter Nate Cossetti clobbered the first pitch over the left-field wall to tie the game.

It was a pitcher’s duel for the rest of the contest, and after the rough start, DiValerio yielded just two hits and did not issue a single walk.

Raimo was equally effective, scattering three hits over the third, fourth and fifth innings before retiring from the game. GW rotated through three more arms on the day.

GW held the Hawks scoreless in the sixth and sevenths innings until Thomas blasted a go-ahead two-run home run over the right-field wall in the bottom of the eighth frame, capturing the first win of the weekend.

Game two

The Colonials reversed course Saturday, pulling together a 10–4 win to split the series.

GW struck early scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning against sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Kennedy and never looking back. The Colonials added on two more runs in the bottom of the second inning without making an out to jump out to an early 5–1 lead.

The Colonials showed a renewed effort at the plate, drawing 11 free passes and fanning just three times as a team. Freshman center fielder Cade Fergus, batting leadoff, and senior utility player Dom D’Alessandro, batting cleanup, each walked three times. Junior shortstop Nate Fassnacht had a big day at the plate, finishing 3-for-5, including a triple and four runs batted in.

GW’s 10 runs came as a product of a patient approach. Hitters used small ball to move runners and make productive outs. The Colonials punched only two extra-base hits but were aided by two Hawks errors.

Add-on runs in the fourth inning extended GW’s lead to 6–1, and the Colonials’ lead remained secure until redshirt senior right-handed starting pitcher Brady Renner ran into trouble in the top of the sixth inning.

A base hit, a hit batter and a double helped pull Saint Joseph’s within 6–4 in the top of the sixth inning, but the Colonials’ offense put the visitors away for good with four runs in the bottom half of the inning.

Game three

Both GW and Saint Joseph’s put up strong hitting numbers in the final game of the series Sunday, but the Hawks won the battle on the mound to take an 18–12 win over the Colonials to close out the weekend.

GW led for the majority of the match, but the Colonials’ bullpen pitching was unable to preserve the team’s lead after giving up 13 runs in the final three innings of play. Junior right-handed pitcher Jaret Edwards was awarded after giving up six hits and five runs in two innings of work.

Sophomore infielder Tyler Hix started on the mound, pitching three innings and giving up three runs, five hits, two walks and two strikeouts. But Saint Joseph’s picked apart the eight pitchers that followed Hix’s lead on the mound, scoring in every inning except the first one.

“When we got to the end of the game, we didn’t finish and that’s when things went downhill,” Hix said.

GW looked dominant at first, sprinting out to a 10–4 lead after four innings of play, including a two-run homer by Fassnacht in the fourth frame. Overall, GW had 15 hits – five for extra bases.

But the Colonials’ offense slowed down, scoring only two more runs in the next five innings as the Hawks continued to chip away at their lead. GW led 12–9 heading into the penultimate frame when Saint Joseph’s exploded on a six-run rally.

Two costly throwing errors by Edwards and freshman second baseman Noah Levin extended the inning and gave way to a three-run shot to left field by the Hawks in the frame.

The Colonials were blanked through the final two innings as the Hawks added three runs to their lead in the final frame.

“We made errors at the end which literally cost us the entire game, in terms of a moment,” Ritchie said. “It was a come-backer and then we babied the throw, that was probably the biggest moment if you just watch the game.”

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