Softball nabs final home series against Dayton

Media Credit: Graeme Sloan | Senior Staff Photographer

Sophomore utility player Sierra Lange throws a pitch during Saturday's game against Dayton.

Softball ended its final homestand of the season winning two of three games against Dayton.

The Colonials (37–15, 13–7 A-10) battled in the first game of the doubleheader to secure a 6–5 victory and won the second game 6–3. The Flyers (22–24, 9–6 A-10) put up a seven-run fifth inning on Sunday and beat the Colonials 9–0 to round out the weekend.

“When a team is up and has confidence, it’s a completely different ballgame,” head coach Shane Winkler said. “That’s the biggest thing, just keep momentum on our side and make sure we have quality tough at-bats.”

Game One

The Colonials edged out Dayton 6–5 in the opening game of the weekend series.

Junior utility player Jenna Cone scored a two-run home run to left center field in the first inning to give GW a 2–0 lead. The home run was Cone’s 18th of the campaign and tied her own program record for single-season home runs. An additional run in the third bumped the Colonials to a 3–0 lead.

Dayton did not score until the sixth inning when a two-run double from junior infielder Julia Blarr cut the squad’s lead to 3–2. Blarr later scored in the inning to tie the game.

Junior infielder Ellie Ziegler doubled in the top of the seventh to take over the score 4–3. Blarr singled and drove Ziegler home, bringing GW down 5–3.

The Colonials responded to the setback, scoring three times in four at-bats. Junior utility player Jessica Linquist and Cone both reached base to lead off the inning, and a single from sophomore utility player Sierra Lange drove Linquist home.

With runners on second and third and the team trailing 5–4, junior catcher Priscilla Martinez drove a walk-off single up the middle to win the game for the Colonials.

“I was so pumped to do it because without my team – Jenna and Sierra getting on base – that situation never would have happened,” Martinez said. “I was so glad to have the opportunity to do what our team needed.”

Game Two

The Colonials carried the heat into the second matchup of the day, capturing the game 6–3.

An RBI single from Cone gave GW a 1–0 lead in the first, and Cone later crossed the plate to put the Colonials ahead 2–0.

“We’ve been talking with our team all year long about momentum,” Winkler said. “We gained momentum right away in both games.”

A triple from Linquist combined with a throwing error from senior catcher Kyle Davidson put the team up 3–0 heading into the fourth inning.

The Flyers struck back with two runs of their own in the fourth frame, but a two-run double in center field from Cone in the fifth restored GW’s advantage 5–2.

The RBI were Cone’s 61st and 62nd of the season, breaking her own single-season record for RBI. Cone now owns the first, second and third spots on the single-season RBI list in Colonials history.

Freshman infielder Alyssa Cacini sent a home run to left field in the top of the sixth to cut GW’s lead to 5–3, but junior infielder Elena Shelepak responded with a round-tripper in the bottom half of the sixth to maintain a three-run lead and ensure the victory.

Game Three

The Colonials recorded one hit Sunday, losing their last game 9–0.

“You have to give credit to their pitcher today, she threw really, really well, she kept the ball up off our barrels,” Winkler said. “That’s key because our offense can get as hot as anyone in the entire country.”

Before the game, senior outfielder Criza Bulanadi, infielders Marta Fuentes and Riley Tejcek and pitcher Jayme Cone were honored for their contributions to the team over the past four seasons.

The Flyers took most of their points in the top of the fifth inning. Senior infielder Lisa Tassi scored, and Blarr launched a three-run bomb over the left field wall on the next at-bat. Another double from Cacini put Dayton ahead 6–0.

Lange pitched all three games, allowing 19 hits and seven earned runs throughout 14 innings of work Saturday. She allowed seven hits and seven earned runs over 4.1 innings of the series’ last game.

“We know that she’s our best option, so we have put her in a position where they’re seeing her 10, 12, 15 times,” Winkler said. “We just have to make sure that we’re keeping pace with them offensively, that’s the key.”

Cone entered the game in the fifth and allowed three more runs. Trailing 9–0, the Colonials could not get a runner on base in the bottom of the fifth inning, triggering the run rule to end the game.

GW is back in action Saturday for a weekend series against La Salle. First pitch is set for noon.

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