Softball bested University of Massachusetts, Amherst 2-1 in a three-game series this weekend, winning the final two games with big showings on offense after surrendering a walk-off home run in the opener.
The Colonials (17-25, 7-16 A-10) showed their resilience in a pair of wins against the Minutewomen (15-31, 6-16 A-10), and despite struggling at the plate in Friday’s first game, GW dominated in the final contests to outscore UMass 15-9 in the three-game series. The series win should provide a morale boost for the Colonials, who have had a disappointing season after years of success in the A-10.
The Colonials dropped the series’ first game against UMass 2-0, with Minutewomen freshman catcher Olivia Packard drilling a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to break the scoreless tie in extra innings.
GW tallied only six hits during the game, with freshman infielder Daniella Lew contributing two hits in three attempts. UMass senior pitcher Jessie DiPasquale went all nine innings, earning five strikeouts and allowing eight batters on base.
On the GW side, freshman pitcher Rose Cano went 8.2 innings scoreless until Olivia Packard’s crushing walk off. She struck out four and allowed seven hits and two walks. Cano also contributed one of two GW extra-base hits, doubling down the right-field line in the fourth inning.
Senior infielder Maggie Greco hit a double in the first inning, an early burst of power the Colonials struggled to build on.
Moving into extra innings, the pitching duel between DiPasquale and Cano continued, with both sides remaining scoreless through the eighth. But with UMass up to bat at the bottom of the ninth, junior infielder Abby Packard knocked a single with one out, putting the game-winning run on base for the Minutewomen. Cano then struck out Bradley, and Olivia Packard came up to bat with two outs.
Olivia Packard stepped up, hitting her first career home run and batting in her older sister to win the game for UMass. The stumble marks another close loss for the Colonials, who have now dropped 12 games by a two- or one-run margin.
In the second leg of their Friday doubleheader, the Colonials won 8-5, thanks to a five-run seventh inning to put the game away.
Pitching for GW was freshman Emma Fales, who went a full seven innings, pushing through UMass scoring bursts in the first and fourth and allowing just three earned runs on 10 hits with one strikeout.
In the first, UMass scored two runs, with sophomore outfielder Giana Wameling scoring off an error and junior outfielder Chloe Whittier reaching home from an Abby Packard single.
The Minutewomen lead stood at 2-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning. Junior utility player Sarah Keagy reached first on an error, Olivia Packard walked and senior outfielder Emily Whelan bunted a single, loading the bases with one out. Sophomore outfielder Wameling then singled on a fielder’s choice, and GW threw out Keagy at home.
With the bases loaded and two outs on the board, Whittier hit a single to right field, batting in Whelan and junior outfielder Jordyn Graime who pinch ran for Olivia Packard, extending the UMass lead to 4-0.
Through the fifth inning, GW had been held to just five hits, two of which came from Cano, who moved from the mound to second base in Friday’s second game. In the sixth the tide started to turn, as singles from Greco and graduate student infielder Arizona Ritchie knocked in three runners — freshman catcher Reese Fales, Greco and Reese Torres, bringing the score to 3-4.
After Torres crossed the plate in the sixth, Minutewomen Head Coach Danielle Henderson took out sophomore pitcher Julianne Bolton in favor of junior pitcher Jenna Bradley.
Fales held UMass scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, leaving GW in a one-run deficit entering the seventh and final inning.
Singles by junior utility player Abby Schaub and freshman outfielder Ashley Corpuz brought in one run each, giving GW a one-run lead with one out in the seventh. But Greco blew the game open, hitting a three-run bomb to score her, Torres and Lew to extend the lead to four.
Despite UMass infielder Abby Packard batting in one run in the bottom of the seventh, the Colonial lead proved too much for the Minutewomen to overcome, and the two teams split Friday’s doubleheader.
In Saturday’s third game, GW bats came out late once again, with a four-run seventh inning cementing a 7-2 Colonial victory and a much-needed series win.
Cano returned to the mound, pitching all seven innings, allowing seven hits with zero walks and five strikeouts. She also contributed an RBI, sending Greco home on a sacrifice fly in the third inning, GW’s second run of the inning.
After Greco’s score brought the score to 2-1 in the third, the Colonials never looked back. Ritchie batted in Torres in the fifth with a single, pushing the lead to 3-1. UMass responded in the bottom of the inning, with pinch runner Graime scoring off a junior shortstop Bella Pantoja double, entering the sixth 3-2.
Following a scoreless sixth, GW came out swinging in the seventh. After Lew walked on the first at-bat, Greco reached first on an error at second base, and the fumble also allowed Lew to reach third.
Ritchie recorded her second RBI when she batted in Lew on a fielder’s choice, setting up Greco at third base. Sophomore utility player Gabby Polsky faced the mound with runner’s on first and third and singled on a fielder’s choice, but the Minutewomen threw Greco out at home for the second out of the inning.
Junior infielder Alena Ramirez walked on the next at-bat, loading the bases for Corpuz. The freshman delivered with a single, scoring in Polsky, Ritchie and Ramirez off a UMass error at second base, extending the GW lead to 7-2.
DiPasquale pitched all seven innings, only striking out one Colonial compared to six hits and six walks allowed. Smart base running was crucial for GW, who used their six walks to take advantage of the shaky UMass infield unit.
The team begins its final series May 6 at noon in a two-day, three-game series against Fordham at the GW Softball Field on the Mount Vernon Campus.
This article appeared in the May 1, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.