Baseball's Anthony Smith Saves Day With Two-Run Game-Winning Homer In Colonials 10-9 Win
March 24, 2004
ARLINGTON, VA - Anthony Smith saved the day again for the Colonials (13-10) on a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to put GW up for good 10-9 over Norfolk State (8-17) at Barcroft Park. Smith who leads the team in batting average, RBI and wins drove in four runs on a double and a homer one day after pitching seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts.
The Colonials used 10 runs, 12 hits and eight walks to slip by the Spartans after relinquishing the lead in the eighth. GW scored five runs in the third, three in the sixth and then the deciding two on Smith's two-run, two-out home run in the bottom of the eighth. Every Colonial reached base and four of the nine with hits had multi hit games on the day. Smith, a freshman led the way for GW with his team-leading ninth double and team-tying sixth home run en route to four RBI. He now has 36 RBI which is 14 more than any other teammate while hitting .429 with an .814 slugging percentage.
Tom Shanley extended his hitting streak to six games with a single in the third. The sophomore now has at least one hit in each of his games after returning from a hamstring injury and has raised his average to .323. The next batter in the third, Anthony Raglani then walked for the first of his four consecutive walks after singling in his only at bat. After the second out in the third, Smith provided some early magic with a two-run, two-out double to the right field corner to get the Colonials on the board. After Geoff Milsom walked, Brad Rosenblat hustled his way to a two-run single when he beat the shortstops throw to first. Not only was Rosenblat safe, but two runs scored as the runners were in motion with two away in the third. Bill Simpson then singled in Milsom to complete the scoring with the Colonials fifth run of the inning.
Owens also led off the Colonials next scoring inning when he hit his fifth double to deep left field to open the sixth. Raglani walked again in the sixth and Owens advanced to third on a wild pitch ball four. Ryan Roberson then looped an RBI single to shallow left field to score Owens on one of his two singles. Raglani and Roberson moved into scoring position on a crafty double steal which put the Colonials in scoring position with only one out. Jeff Fertitta, normally a switch hitter, elected to bat righty and drove in both runners with one of his two singles. Fertitta moved within one RBI of ninth place on GW's all-time list. Not only was GW issued eight free passes on walks, but the Colonials swiped five bases of their own and picked up seven more on wild pitches and one on a balk. Roberson leads the Colonials with six stolen sacks while Raglani who has five this year snatched two.
In an interesting turn of events, GW reliever Avi Rasowsky blew a save in the top of the eighth when four runs scored but then earned the win in the bottom half of the inning when Smith's two-run two-out home run on a 1-1 count launch the Colonials ahead of the Spartans. Nick Koken then entered the game to pitch a scoreless ninth for his third save of the year. Koken, a junior, is now tied with Mike O'Connor for second all-time with 10 career saves at GW. Both Koken and Rasowsky now need just nine more appearances to make the Colonials all-time appearances list as juniors. Dennis Gramolini pitched an inning in his third appearance of the year and first work since March 9th is just four appearances shy.
Nate CasaGrande made his first start of the year for the Colonials and pitched four fair innings. He allowed only three hits and one earned run but four runs scored under his watch with two walks and two strikeouts. Dan Pfau who has a perfect 9-0 record for the Colonials became the pitcher of record by pitching a 1-2-3 fifth on two strikeouts but was robed of his 10th career win when the Spartans battled back and took a late lead. Simpson who is the only GW pitcher who has not allowed a run was equally effective when he pitched a three-up, three-down sixth on two strikeouts while batting as the DH.
The Colonials were again plagued by errors with three defensive miscues resulting in five of the Spartans nine runs. Each of the Colonials fielders however redeemed themselves defensively and did so in critical situations. In the second inning, center fielder Matt Owens tried to make a diving play on a ball hit to him with two outs. He was positioned well and gambled by going for the ball on what would otherwise not have been a routine play but the ball popped out of his webbing as he fell to the ground. With the runners going, NSU scored its second run, after a sacrifice fly on the previous at bat, on what should have been the third out. He brushed the dirt off and came back to make a dazzling and dizzying play in the fourth inning when he tracked down a ball hit well over his head and to the deepest part of the park. He reached over his head just short of the wall to snag what would normally be an extra-bases hit. Owens also ended the Spartans threat in the seventh when he keyed an inning ending double play. After driving in a run on a double, NSU sent Bradley Langston who was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt to try to score on a sacrifice fly. Owens made the catch in center and then relayed an on-target throw home by way of Smith the first baseman for the tag out by Fertitta at home to end the inning.
Shanley committed an error in the fourth on a groundball that first eluded him and then got hung up in his glove. Two plays later however, the sophomore made a great play on a ball that was knuckled back up the middle after the pitch was in on Langston's hands. Shanley made a basket catch behind second avoiding the runner and the shortstop for the second out. NSU scored two unearned runs on a single to left from Thomas Starkey to bring the Spartans within a run with a 5-4 score. In the eighth, Alfred Corbin who moved from first base to become the losing pitcher hit a leadoff single. In the eighth, Brandon Norvell reached on the Colonials third and final error on a routine grounder to Roberson at third. Juan Serrano next hit a two-run double to again bring NSU within one. Charles LaLane tied the score at eight with a single up the middle the scored Serrano and then scored the go-ahead run himself on a single from Langston. All told, NSU scored four runs, though only two were earned, in the eighth, an inning that has become the Colonials nemesis. This year, GW has been outscored 29-15 in the infamous eighth, epitomized by losing two late leads to James Madison on four runs twice earlier this year. Roberson too would redeem himself in the ninth again pitted against Norvell when he robbed him of a hit by making a diving catch for the second out in the ninth on a line drive.
The Colonials escaped with their 11th win at home in 14 tries this year. They have now won four-straight games leading up to their three-game A-10 opener with Massachusetts at home this weekend.