Baseball's Sweep Slips Away With 15-12 Loss To SJU After 10-0 Lead
April 10, 2004
NORRISTOWN, PA - The Colonials were looking at their best conference start since 1990 until they gave up nine runs in the sixth inning to lose 15-12 to SJU in the final game of the series. The Colonials (22-12, 7-2 A-10) scored six runs in the first inning and led 10-0 after the top of the fourth but let the Hawks (7-29, 2-7 A-10) swoop in to swipe the game.
The Colonials hit around in the first inning en route to a six run inning. Matt Owens started the effort with a single. After Raglani walked, Ryan Roberson drilled a three-run home run to left field. Not only did his blast clear to fences but it hit a car a couple of rows deep in the parking lot at least 400 feet away. The homer moved Roberson into 10th place on GW's all-time list as a junior with 23 in his career. After walks to Anthony Smith and Jeff Fertitta, Geoff Milsom singled to load the bases. Brad Rosenblat then drove in two more runs with a double to left center field. Joe Michalski drove in Fertitta from third on a fielder's choice to the left fielder for the sixth and final run of the top of the first inning.
In the second inning Tom Shanley led things of with a single but was thrown out when Raglani grounded into a double play. Roberson's grounder to the third baseman would have been the final out of the inning but he bobbled the ball and allowed Roberson to reach with two outs. Anthony Smith then came to the plate batting fifth despite being the starting pitcher. He helped his cause by crushing a two-run dinger to deep centerfield at least 400 feet from home. Fertitta doubled for one of his two hits but was stranded at second with two outs already on the board.
The Colonials added two more runs in the top of the fourth to take a 10-0 advantage and seemingly have the game in hand. Roberson walked and Smith singled making it first and third with one out. Fertitta then singled in a run, his second RBI of the day, to right center field. Smith would score on a wild pitch to put the Colonials ahead by 10 runs.
Despite a sizeable lead, things began to come unraveled in the bottom of the fourth despite several chances to get out of jams. The Hawks Jason Volker led off with a double but Smith struck out Greg Mason for the first out of the inning. The next batter Nick Baldasari should have been out also on a routine grounder to the shortstop but Milsom made an error fielding the ball. Smith then got within one strike of retiring the next three batters but failed on all three occasions. With one more out he would have escaped the inning without allowing an earned run but instead he walked to Hawks to load the bases and gave up a grand slam home run to SJU's leadoff hitter Ryan Standanlick on a 2-2 count. With the damage done, Smith struck out the next two batters to work his way out of the fourth.
In the fifth inning, the Hawks struck again scoring one run on Smith although they were in position to score more. Bill McCollum led off with a single and moved to second on a throwing error from Colonials third baseman Roberson that allowed Volker to reach first. Volker was forced out at second on a fielder's choice by replacement catcher Dustin Onulak but McCollum advanced to third. Baldasari blasted a ball to right centerfield which scored McCollum and resulted in a double. Onulak, however, tried to score from first and was thrown out on a nifty relay from Rosenblat to Shanley to Michalski who tagged him out at the plate. Smith then shut the door getting Iampietro to line out to Matt Owens in center. Smith's day would be done with five innings of work in which he struck out six but gave up six runs, five of them earned, on five hits and five walks. He missed with one pitch which resulted in a grand slam but was still in excellent position to pick up his sixth win as the Colonials led 10-6 after five.
GW even added two insurance runs in the top of the sixth courtesy of wild Hawks pitching. Smith, who remained in the game as the designated hitter walked followed by a walked which resulted in a Saint Joseph's pitching change. Fertitta then walked and Milsom and Rosenblat where both hit by pitches. Rosenblat's team-high ninth HBP pushed a run across and gave him an RBI. Michalski who was the only Colonial without a hit but did account for two RBI grounded into a fielder's choice allowing Fertitta to score the Colonials final run of the game.
Walks were one of the stories in the game as the Colonials walked 10 times and had three batters hit by pitches. Unfortunately they issued nine walks themselves six of which were to the last three batters in the Hawks lineup. Errors again proved costly for the Colonials as sloppy fielding led directly to four runs and the Hawks only won by three.
The Hawks had pitching woes of their own as their starter, Al Braun only lasted one inning. Their second pitcher Joel Grimshaw pitched for four innings but allowed five runs all but one of which was earned. Joe Mucci faced three batters in the sixth walking one of them and hitting two to push in a run. McCollum, who came to the mound from first base, pitched well shutting down GW for the final four innings to pick up his first win in six decisions.
After Smith's start the Colonials struggled to get outs. Bill Simpson relieved Smith in the sixth and had not allowed a run in his collegiate career when he entered the game. He exited quickly without retiring an out and was slapped with six runs, five of which were earned on three hits and two walks. Nick Koken came in and pitched fairly well the rest of the way but was pegged with the loss when three runs scored despite only one being earned.
The sixth innings was simply disastrous for GW as SJU scored nine runs six hits while benefiting from three walks, a wild pitch, a past ball and an error. Two balls got lost in the sun when they were popped to left field but neither was caught dropping in for a sun-assisted single. In fact, on one of the plays, Raglani still had a force out at third but his throw got away from Roberson allowing the Hawks ninth run to score even though he should have been forced out. The Hawks 11th run of the game also came in in surprising fashion as Koken struck out the first batter that he faced on a pitch in the dirt. The ball got by Michalski and allowed to score from third and Volker, the tying run to move to second. Baldasari then hit his second double to tie the game and by bringing in Volker. Baldasari would score the go-ahead run on a double from the number-nine hitter Brian Schappert. Before the loss, The Colonials had been on match their fastest start since 1990 when the team won their first eight in the A-10 before losing. In 1989, GW won the first 10 in the A-10 before losing game 11 to West Virginia. Had they won today and swept Richmond at home next weekend they would have tied their best conference start in history at 11-1.
The Colonials will play two mid-week games this week hosting Coppin State on Tuesday at 3:30 pm and then playing Georgetown on Thursday at 3:00 pm at Povich Field. The Colonials will then host Atlantic 10 rival Richmond at Barcroft Park for a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday with games starting at noon both days with a doubleheader on Saturday.