Entering a home doubleheader against George Mason with a 31–13 record Wednesday, softball needed two wins to match last season’s program-high record for victories in a season.
But the Colonials (32–14, 8–6 A-10) will need to wait another game to meet the record after splitting the doubleheader with the Patriots (17–22, 5–9 A-10). GW now has a 21–7 record at home following a 9–1 victory in the first game and a 5–3 loss in the second game.
“For the past few weeks here in conference play, we have had really good game plans going in,” head coach Shane Winkler said. “We just had to really get more committed to it.”
Softball took a 9–1 victory over George Mason in the first game of the series.
Sophomore utility player Sierra Lange, who broke GW’s single-season hit record against Massachusetts last weekend, finished 4-for-4 with three runs batted in to lead GW’s offense. Junior catcher Jessica Linquist, who recently snapped a 28-game hitting streak, chipped in two hits and two RBI.
The Colonials’ offense generated 13 baserunners on nine hits and four walks in six innings. George Mason’s junior starting pitcher Bekah Ansbro lasted 3.2 innings after surrendering six hits, three walks and six runs.
“We knew what she was throwing, so it was just sitting on that and making the adjustment,” Winkler said. “But we made good adjustments, we finally started putting balls in play hard and making things happen.”
Lange was also strong in the circle with a 2.61 earned run average. The team’s defense helped Lange limit the Patriots to one run on four hits.
After two scoreless innings for both teams, GW took a two-run third inning and a six-run fourth inning. Lange played a role in both third-inning runs, contributing an RBI and coming home on a defensive error. The Colonials batted the whole lineup in the fourth inning, turning in a walk, five hits and several defensive miscues into six runs.
The Patriots scored once on a home run by redshirt senior infielder Liz Seymour with two outs in the fourth inning. Lange ended the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with an RBI double to bring Linquist home.
The Colonials could not carry the momentum into the second game of the series, falling to George Mason 5–3.
“Honestly, sometimes I feel like it’s just a focus thing, an energy thing,” sophomore outfielder Sidney Bloomfield said. “I just felt like the energy wasn’t all there today.”
George Mason scored first when sophomore outfielder Megan Graham doubled and advanced to third base on a throwing error by senior shortstop Marta Fuentes. Seymour drove Graham home with a base hit, putting the Patriots ahead 1–0.
Junior utility player Jenna Cone evened the score in the bottom of the third inning, recording her 17th home run of the season and her fifth bomb of conference play.
But the Patriots reclaimed the lead when junior outfielder Alyssa Lawton took a base hit and steal. A single into right field that fell just below the glove of sophomore left fielder Olivia Ortlieb drove Lawton home from second base.
In the fifth inning, junior catcher Priscilla Martinez singled into right center field, scoring Cone to tie the game 2–2. Lange turned at third base, but the Patriots caught her in a pickle between third base and home plate. Sophomore shortstop Marissa Butts botched a throw to the catcher and allowed Lange to score, placing the Colonials ahead 3–2.
George Mason immediately responded with two base hits and a sacrifice bunt to tie the game 3–3.
Fuentes botched two throws to first base, allowing one runner on base and two runners to score to give George Mason a 5–3 lead. The Colonials could not rebound in the seventh, ending the day with a 5–3 loss.
“We gave them three runs on plays we should have made,” Winkler said. “We take care of those, we’re in a good position, and any time you’re taking care of the ball defensively, usually that feeds into your offense too, and good things start to happen.”
The squad will go on the road against St. Bonaventure for a three-game series, beginning with a doubleheader Thursday. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.