Baseball suffered a narrow defeat to James Madison University at home Tuesday in an offensive battle that saw GW come up one run short with two runners on base in the final inning.
The Colonials (8–18) suffered an 8-7 loss to the Dukes (15–9), letting a sixth-inning, four-run lead get away as James Madison posted four runs in the top of the seventh inning and three in the eighth. GW clawed back, coming within a single run before a fly ball to left field ended the game, concluding a four-game homestand where GW captured victories in the first three matchups.
The Colonials took an early lead in the first inning, thanks to a one-run single from graduate student catcher and clean-up hitter Anthony Frechette, knocking in senior utility player Steve DiTomaso after he made it to first on a ground ball. GW extended their lead to 4-0 in the second inning after sophomore center-fielder Sam Gates lined a one-run double down the right field line and DiTomaso recorded a two-run single immediately after.
“I think there was a lot of positives from the game,” DiTomaso said. “From the start, we came out hot and swinging and scored a few runs which is exactly what we expect from our offense.”
The score did not change until the fifth inning coming on James Madison’s first one-run single from their designated hitter Jack Cone. The Colonials responded in the bottom of the fifth when senior third baseman Robby Wacker struck a two-run double to right-center and advanced to third, leading to a 5-1 score.
After a scoreless sixth inning, the Dukes exploded in the seventh with four runs, two of them coming off a double from sophomore catcher Jason Schiavone that scored in second and third base.
The Dukes continued their tear in the eighth with three more runs, featuring another two-run double to left field from Cone that pushed their lead to two, 7-5. Cone himself scored on a fielding error before sophomore infielder Fenwick Trimble was thrown out at home capping off the scoring and giving James Madison a 8-5 lead to end the top of the eighth.
The Colonials fired back in the bottom of the eighth with a one-run single by junior right fielder Eddie Micheletti Jr., who knocked in DiTomaso and narrowed the score to 8-6.
The Colonials held the Dukes scoreless in the top of the ninth with junior right-handed pitcher Benny Wilson on the mound, keeping hopes of a comeback alive. In the bottom of the ninth with two outs, back-to-back singles from graduate student first baseman Michael Kohn who singled to left-center and freshman designated hitter Alexander Wright who singled to right, advanced Kohn to second.
Sophomore catcher Tim Nicholson pitch-hit a one-run single right-center for GW, putting the Colonials within a single score, moving the tying run to third base standing 90 feet away and positioning the winning run at first.
Gates lifted a ball out to left field, sprinted toward base and ended the game.
Graduate student starting right-handed pitcher Austin Odell had a successful outing, finishing with a quality start of sixth innings, one earned run, five hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Odell threw 93 pitches, faced 23 batters and finished with a no decision.
“For most of the game, it really just takes a lot of pressure off your offense. Just to play free and have the right approach every at bat and we know that the guy on the mound for us has our back and we can just play together,” said Frechette.
The game was a day of offense as five Colonials recorded two or more hits, and every starter got on base at least once. Gates led the Colonials with three hits in five at-bats with one walk and one run batted in.
DiTomaso recorded two hits, one walk and one run batted in.
GW will head to Dayton, Ohio Friday and begin a three-game series against A-10 rival Dayton at 3 p.m.
This article appeared in the March 30, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.