Baseball picked up its second win in two days with a victory over Coppin State Wednesday.
Following an 8–4 win over the University of Pennsylvania Tuesday, the Colonials (26–20, 7–11 A-10) defeated the Eagles (24–18, 15–6 A-10) with a score of 12–2. The squad’s back-to-back wins secured its 18th victory at Tucker Field.
“I’m really happy with how the guys came into these midweek games ready to play,” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “Swinging the bat and pitching a little bit is also a good thing to get a little momentum going into the weekend.”
Two freshmen battled on the mound, with Ryan McWilliams of Coppin State opposing right-hander Alex Kobersteen. The pitcher entered the game with an earned run average of 8.27 and a 0–2 record on the season.
The Colonials put the pressure on Coppin State early in the game. An Eagle error allowed freshman center fielder Cade Fergus to score, giving the team a 1–0 lead. Three consecutive walks later in the inning drove in a second run for GW, and McWilliams was pulled from the game before finishing the first.
The squad’s offense lit up in the third inning as a double by senior first baseman Dom D’Alessandro plated junior shortstop Nate Fassnacht to give the Colonials a 3–0 advantage. A three-run homer by freshman second baseman Noah Levin later in the inning – his third of the season – brought the Colonials up to a 6–0 lead.
On the mound, Kobersteen pitched his best game of the season, holding Coppin State to one run and allowing four hits in his five innings of work. An RBI single in the fifth frame gave Coppin State its first run of the afternoon.
The Colonials tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. A sacrifice fly by Fergus scored freshman catcher Anthony Frechette to start the inning and boost the team to a 7–1 advantage.
Two base hits – one by junior utility player Steve Barmakian and the other by Fassnacht – scored redshirt freshman designated hitter Derek Ripp and freshman third baseman Logan Doran, respectively, to give the Colonials a 9–1 lead. Coppin State’s third throwing error later in the inning scored Barmakian to bring the squad up 10–1.
Fassnacht said maintaining a high level of energy and focus has been key to the team’s offensive success, which they will need to carry into the remaining two conference series.
“We’re starting to click one through nine and keep picking each other up if someone is messing up through the order,” he said.
Junior right-handed pitcher Andrew Wheeler entered the game in the sixth inning, holding the Eagles scoreless in two innings of relief. Wheeler has allowed just 13 earned runs across 32 innings of work.
In the seventh, Barmakian hit a one-out single and Fassnacht crushed a double to put two runners in scoring position. A single by D’Alessandro later in the inning scored Barmakian and Fassnacht, giving the Colonials a 12–1 lead.
Ritchie said the team’s starters and relievers have recently improved, allowing the squad to find more success.
“Some guys are stepping up and some guys are developing and it’s a young squad, so I think we’re doing some pretty good things,” he said.
Junior right-hander Cal Stalzer then pitched a scoreless eighth inning, but freshman Chris Knight ran into trouble in the ninth and allowed a run on a wild pitch. Knight was able to close the door on Coppin State after a fly out, securing the victory for GW.
Ritchie said the team’s performance in the two nonconference games this week has helped build players’ confidence as the Colonials prepare for more conference play this weekend.
“We always talk about how the midweek games set up the weekend so you have to play solid decent baseball,” Ritchie said. “You can’t just flip the switch on the weekend, so I’m happy with that and the way they went about their business.”
The Colonials will hit the road for a three-game series against conference rival Richmond Friday. First pitch is at 3 p.m.