Baseball Splits Doubleheader With Massachusetts Losing Game Two, 2-1
March 27, 2004
ARLINGTON, VA - The Colonials (14-11) could not generate enough run support for starter Josh Wilkie as UMass took game two with a 2-1 score. Wilkie pitched a three-hit complete game without giving up an earned run but was still tagged with a loss when the Colonials could only create one run.
Massachusetts (6-6) evened their overall and conference records when they scored two unearned runs in the first innings. Leadoff hitter Mike Athas walked after getting two quick strikes and then stole second. He moved to third on a ground out to the first baseman who flipped it to the pitcher for the first out. Cullan Maumus then reached on an error by GW shortstop Geoff Milsom who stopped the ball but could not collect it. Athas seeing that the ball had gotten away from Milsom then continued around third and scored without an RBI for Maumus. Maumus would also later score courtesy of two wild pitches giving him second and then allowing him to score from third with two outs.
Wilkie had a no-hitter going into the fourth inning of GW's seven-inning nightcap with Massachusetts before the Minutemen got to him. With two outs Matt Reynolds bunted the ball towards third base and reached on an infield single for UMass's first hit of the game. Even on the hit, Wilkie made a play for the ball and made a rushed off balanced throw which sailed over the first baseman's head. On the very next play, DH Curt Szado hit the ball to almost the same spot after getting jammed by the pitch. This time Wilkie took his time fielding it but had to force a fast throw which sailed behind the runner in to the backstop allowing both runners to advance an extra base on the errant throw. Wilkie got out of the jam to keep the Colonials close. This is the third consecutive game that Wilkie has started without giving up an earned run. He pitched six innings of a 10-0 shutout against Towson and then beat Marist in a 5-0 complete game shutout before today's unfortunate 2-1 loss.
GW failed to score a runner from third base four times and twice with only one out. In the second, Ryan Roberson advanced to third after walking and Geoff Milsom moved to second after a single before Joe Michalski grounded out to the pitcher. In the fourth inning, Jeff Fertitta made it to third after reaching on a single that was knocked down but not stopped by the third baseman. When Milsom singled for the second time, Fertitta moved to third when the center fielder made an error by overrunning and then bobbling the ball. Milsom then stole second to put runners at second and third with two out for the second time with Michalski coming up. This time GW's DH struck out on a ball in the dirt and was thrown out on the throw to first.
In the fifth and seventh innings GW had their best scoring opportunities and looked at their chance to tie the game go up in smoke. Brad Rosenblat hit a leadoff double down the leftfield line to start things in the fifth. With one out, Tom Shanley set the table for the middle of the Colonials lineup by singling through the left side and moving Rosenblat to third. Anthony Raglani needing only a sacrifice fly to get GW on the board looked at three strikes for the second out of the inning. Roberson then lined out. In the seventh Rosenblat again got the wheels turning this time with his fourth career triple to left-centerfield. Matt Owens then collected an RBI and put GW on the board with a run-scoring double over the centerfielder's head. Shanley sacrificed himself to move Owens, the tying run to third with the middle of the order due up. Raglani again looked at strike three and Roberson went down swinging to stop GW's late-inning rally.
Shanley collected two more hits and has hit safely in all eight games since his return from a hamstring injury. He is now batting .338 after going three for six during the doubleheader. Milsom also smacked two singles and raised his average above .300 to .306 after a four for six day. Rosenblat moved within three triples of GW's all-time list in just his second season with the Colonials when he went two for three with a double and a triple while scoring the team's only run. Matt Owens collected the clubs only RBI on his sixth double of the year.
For Massachusetts Matt Torra earned his third win with nine strikeouts in six and a third innings pitched. He allowed eight hits but only one earned run which prompted his removal in the final inning. Scott Ratliff entered the game with the winning run only ninety feet away and struck out the Colonials three-man followed by GW's cleanup hitter to end the scoring threat and pick up his third save of the year.
The Colonials will battle Massachusetts for the third and deciding game of their first A-10 series at Barcroft Park at noon on Sunday. After both teams using a total of only five pitchers over Saturday's two seven inning games, the bullpens should be fresh for Sunday's nine-inning contest. UMass leads the all-time series with GW 13-10 and both teams are now even at 1-1 in the Atlantic 10 this season.