Baseball Slips On Spiders With 7-6 Loss In The 10th Inning
ARLINGTON, VA - For the second straight day the Colonials and Spiders locked heads for 10 innings with the final game of the series going to Richmond 7-6. The final box score could not have been much closer as both teams committed three errors and Richmond edged GW with one hit and one run both collected in the 10th inning. The Colonials took two of three against their rival Richmond and remain in first place in the Atlantic 10 West despite Sunday's extra-inning one-run loss.
George Washington (24-14, 9-3 A-10) and Richmond (18-14, 6-3 A-10) played three close contests worthy of their rivalry playing a total of 27 innings including four extra innings which forced two game to 10 innings. The Spiders kept battling back and prevailed by scoring four runs in the final three innings for their first win of the series. The Colonials gave up four unearned runs and a 4-0 lead to lose. Both teams committed three errors allowing six unearned runs collectively. GW also left 15 runners on base compared to Richmond's 10.
In a rematch of yesterday's late-inning battle the same two pitchers closed out the game with Nate Kuchta (4-2) earning the win this time while Derrik Lutz (3-5) picked up the loss. The game again played into the 10th inning but the Colonials could not answer Richmond's run in the top of the first extra frame. Despite the loss, the Colonials are well positioned in the Atlantic 10 and remain in first place in the A-10 West with a 9-3 record. Half of GW's A-10 opponents have lost a conference series due to rain which will need to be made up in the week before the Atlantic 10 tournament.
GW scored two runs in the first inning off of Richmond's starter Rob Berzinskas. Matt Owens hit the first pitch to left center for a single to start off the effort. Tom Shanley then reached on an error by the shortstop. Owens would move to third on a line-out to right by Anthony Raglani. Owens then scored and Shanley moved to second on a balk by Berzinskas scoring the first run. The freshman pitcher then hit Roberson with a pitch. After an out, Jeff Fertitta singled to left field scoring Shanley from second and giving the Colonials a 2-0 advantage. Fertitta now has 134 RBI in his career and needs just two more to move from ninth to eighth on the all-time list.
The second inning started like the first for the Colonials when Brad Rosenblat led off with a single to center. The fleet-footed outfielder than stole second for one of his two steals of the day. With two outs, he then scored all the way from second on a RBI single through the left side of the infield by Shanley. Shanley's hit was out of the reach of a diving third baseman and slipped passed the shortstop who would not have had a throw from deep in the hole. With two outs Rosenblat was gunning for home once the ball came off of the bat giving Shanley his 25th RBI of the year. Shanley has now has a nine-game hitting streak going and has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games which is all but one since coming off of a hamstring injury. The sophomore leads the team in batting average hitting .354 this season and .380 in his career.
In the third, the Colonials got their third leadoff hitter to reach when Roberson was hit by a pitch for the second time. Roberson then stole second for his ninth steal in nine attempts keeping him perfect on the base paths this season. He then moved from second to third on a fly-out to the right fielder, Geoff Milsom drove in Roberson with an RBI single to the shortstop. The ball initially appeared to be a routine grounder to end the inning but it took a bad hop at the edge of the grass and darted under the shortstops mitt for which he was not penalized with an error. Milsom who was fortunate to get an RBI was then caught stealing to end the inning. Richmond did make defensive changes as the game tightened in the later innings bringing in Anthony Sandstrom to play shortstop in the fourth and Josh Farkes to play right field for the ninth and 10th innings.
Freshman pitcher Anthony Smith was rolling until he was tagged for two runs in the fourth inning of his outing. He had allowed four walks but only one hit up to that point. In the fourth he gave up four singles three of which were hit consecutively with one out. Farkes, Matt McKenna and then David Thomas each singled to load the bases with one out. Chris Dolan got an RBI when he grounded into a fielder's choice but beat out a double play. Leadoff hitter Bryan Pritz singled to left field to drive in Richmond's second run of the game.
In the fifth inning Raglani roped his ninth home run of the season, a solo shot, to center field. It was his 20th homer of the year leaving him just three shy of teammate and classmate Ryan Roberson for 10th all-time. Raglani, who is only a junior is now tied with senior Fertitta in homers as well as walks. Raglani picked up two walks and now has 88 in his career he was also intentionally walked after working the pitcher to a 3-0 count. This year Raglani has 32 walks compared to 21 strikeouts and with such a good eye, it is no wonder that his father is an optometrist. Despite being a junior Raglani is on the verge of entering GW's all-time list in seven offensive categories. He needs one double, two walk, three homers, 12 RBI, 16 stolen bases and 35 total bases to make GW's record book.
Smith would pitch a one-two-three fifth and then get pulled with one out in the fifth inning. After a line-out to start the fifth Smith struck out McKenna but the ball got by Colonials catcher Joe Michalski. McKenna reached on Michalski's errant throw which was at the first baseman's feet and on a collision course with McKenna had it been caught. Thomas then singled prompting Smith's replacement when the sophomore threw three-straight balls to Dolan. Avi Rasowsky entered the game at that point and threw the final ball of the walk but the base on balls was still charged to Smith. Rasowsky's appearance was his 47th as a Colonials pitcher which leaves him just three shy of the all-time list and ties him with senior Dennis Gramolini.
In the first full batter that Rasowsky faced, he got Pritz to ground out to the third baseman but McKenna scored on the play. On the next batter, Rasowsky struck out Sandstrom to end the four-out inning. Rasowsky had two more unearned runs score under his watch when Jim O'Leary led off the eighth with a routine grounder to the third baseman. On the error Roberson back peddled and failed to get in front of the ball as it hit off of his glove on its way into the outfield allowing O'Leary to reach. Rasowsky got McKenna to strike out but gave up a triple to Thomas which scored O'Leary the whole way from first. Dolan then grounded out to Roberson at third in what should have been the third out but instead Dolan's unearned run tied the score at five.
Richmond would score the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth and lead the game for the first time when Dan Pfau started the inning on the mound for GW. He gave up a leadoff single to Ben Zeskind and then allowed him to reach second when his errant pickoff attempt sailed over the first baseman's head. Pfau then struck out Jim Fasano but the ball was in the dirt forcing Michalski to throw to first for the out while the go-ahead run moved to third on the wild pitch. Derrik Lutz then entered the game for the Colonials and pitched to pinch hitter John Cronin who slapped a ball to the pulled-in shortstop Milsom who stopped it but was unable to collect the ball and make a throw in time. Cronin's infield single drove in Zeskind to put Richmond in front for the first time, 6-5. Lutz walked O'Leary on a full count but took advantage of the runner at first when he got pinch hitter Alex Wotring to ground the ball back to him en route to a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
The Colonials who are becoming known as the cardiac kids managed to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth by loading the bases with no outs but could not managed to plate the winning run forcing a 10th inning for the second straight game. Smith who was GW's starting pitcher but stayed in the game as the designated hitter and led off the bottom half of the ninth. Smith drilled a ball to the first baseman which hit him in the webbing of his glove on a short-hop. The ball popped out and was almost picked up in time by the second baseman to throw out Smith at first but he reached safely on the first baseman's original error. Mickey Shupin then hit a ball up the middle which went directly over second base before being fielded by the shortstop. The shortstop who would not have had time to make the throw to first with Shupin's speed opted to touch second himself but was a second late as Smith slid in safely. Milsom then bunted the ball in hopes of sacrificing himself to advance the two runners. The pitcher fielded the ball in time to throw out Milsom at first but elected to force out Smith, the tying run, at third. His throw at third was too close to call and the ball skipped past the third baseman as Smith and the throw arrived at the bag at the same time. Amidst the madness and the errant throw from the pitcher Shupin then sprinted home to tie the game. With no outs and runners at first and second, Brad Rosenblat laid down a sacrifice bunt to the third baseman which advance both runners and moved the winning run within ninety feet of home. Pinch hitter Steve Santy then walked to load the bases for the only one out and the top of the lineup coming up. Owens grounded the ball to the third baseman who threw home in time to force out a desperately diving Shupin at the plate. Shanley then had a chance to be the walk off hero for two games in a row but grounded out into a fielder's choice as the second baseman flipped to the shortstop to end the inning and the Colonials hopes of a walk off in the ninth forcing a 10th inning for the second straight game in the series.
In the 10th inning the Spiders scored their seventh and deciding run and their first earned run since the fourth inning. Going into the 10th inning GW coach Tom Walter apparently played prevent defense switching the positions of each of his infielders including the catcher in hopes of preventing a Richmond run. Thomas singled through the left side to reach first. He moved to second on Dolan's successful sacrifice bunt which was fielded by the first baseman Roberson, prompting the question who's on first, who threw to second baseman Shupin for the force out. Thomas advanced to third on a wild pitch from Lutz that allowed him to move into scoring position with just one out. The next batter Pritz capitalized on the opportunity with a line drive to the left fielder Raglani who had to run to the line to make the catch. Thomas tagged and scored as Raglani's off balance throw sailed wide of home.
In the bottom half of the 10th Raglani did his job to get on base with a walk to open the inning. Roberson the Colonials cleanup hitter however struck out against Kuchta who pitched the final frame. Smith, the Colonials RBI leader was replaced by pinch hitter Bill Simpson who started his college career with two home runs in his first start earlier this year. Simpson however also struck out failing to move Raglani into scoring position. With two away, Shupin had another chance to match his heroics of the previous inning but also struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt. Despite the Spiders celebration the play and the game were not over until the catcher successfully threw down to first for the force out Shupin as Raglani was running with two outs in the 10th.