Baseball Wins Ninth Straight, 6-3, Over GMU With Three-Run Ninth
May 4, 2004
FAIRFAX, VA - Freshman Anthony Smith lifted GW over local rival GMU with a ninth inning home run after starting the game as the pitcher. George Mason tied the score at three in the seventh after Smith left his pitching post. The freshman was able to finish with his bat what he was not able to on the mound when he hit a solo home run to open the ninth and lift the Colonials to their season-best ninth straight victory.
George Washington (33-14, 15-3 A-10) and George Mason (31-13, 15-3 CAA) battled for nine innings with the Colonials pulling away on a three run ninth inning keyed by Smith's late inning heroics. Smith, who saw his two run lead slip away, was clearly fired up after hitting his home run in the ninth to break the 3-3 tie and pumping his fists as he rounded the bases.
Smith's home run was his team leading 13th of the year giving him 63 RBI which is now tied with George Mason's Chris Looze for sixth in the NCAA with 1.43 per game. Smith also doubled to tie for first at GW with 12. The freshman is now in first place for the Colonials in average (.364), home runs (13), RBI (63), slugging percentage (.695) and tied in doubles (12).
Almost forgotten in the excitement was the fact that Smith was the starting pitcher, saved from his Sunday start so that he would be fresh to go against a powerful Patriots team. Smith left the game with two out in the seventh and a one-run lead which would vanish due to three wild pitches by his relievers. On the day, Smith allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking three.
Avi Rasowsky (6-1) under whose watch the tying score crossed the plate in the seventh earned his earned the victory. Rasowsky's who is second on the team with six victories moved to eighth all-time in winning percentage with an 11-4 (.733) career record. Derrik Lutz, last week's A-10 Rookie of the Week, pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his ninth save of the season. Lutz leads the A-10 in saves and is now tied for ninth in the NCAA this season while moving up to fourth in career saves at GW.
Anthony Raglani opened the scoring in the first with his 10th home run of the year, a solo shot over the right center field fence. With the two-out homer, Raglani is now three homers shy of making GW's all-time list as a junior. He needs four home runs to tie teammate and classmate Ryan Roberson for 10th all-time at GW with 24 dingers. George Mason responded in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score at one. Leadoff hitter Jeff Palumbo bunted a 2-1 pitch for a base hit single to the third baseman Roberson who was playing too deep to throw him out. The next batter Bruce Baldwin singled through the left side moving Palumbo to second. Palumbo stole third with the ball still in Smith's hand when Roberson was shaded away from the bag at third. Palumbo scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Adam Innerst. Innerst hit a sinking line drive to right field and Brad Rosenblat made diving catch, one of several great plays to get the second out.
The Colonials scored again to go on top 2-1 in the second leadoff by Smith's 12th double of the year. After being moving to third on grounded by Jeff Fertitta, Geoff Milsom came through with an RBI single to left center field to score Smith. Milsom has been on a tear of late and has lifted his average to .361 this year.
Smith and the Colonials held the Patriots at bay getting out of two bases loaded jams with little damage. In the fifth inning, Smith got out of trouble when Chris Looze punched out looking on a full count with two outs and the bases juiced. Looze, the Patriots leading hitter is ironically Smith's offensive rival in the NCAA. During the day, Smith notched another RBI to match the junior Looze with 63 and sixth on the nation's leaders list. Looze meanwhile had multiple RBI opportunities leaving six runners on base against Smith alone and eight ducks on the pond all day. Most notable was the showdown between them in the fifth when Looze would lose as the freshman struck out the junior looking to end the inning.
The Colonials were granted another run in the top of the sixth on a gift from Patriots starter Jake Glanzmann who was otherwise effective in his start. With two outs, Glanzmann walked Rosenblat on four pitches, two of which were thrown behind him. Rosenblat reached first with two outs and Jeff Fertitta coming up. Before Fertitta could ground out to the third baseman on a full-count to end the inning, Rosenblat had rounded the bases taking one with each of Glanzmann's three wild pitches.
The Colonials, always chivalric, returned the favor in the bottom half of the sixth courtesy of two interesting defensive plays, or misplays that led to a Patriots run. Smith opened the inning with a leadoff walk to Innerst who advanced to second on a wild pitch. The next batter hit a ball high in the air almost directly to second base which none of the fielders could find. As the infield scattered, the ball fell in for a single which allowed him to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. The next batter, Robby Jacobsen, put down a bunt-single to load the bases with no one out. Smith who fielded the bunt had to spin and throw as a lefty and Mickey Shupin covered first from second but did not extend out far enough in catching the ball to get the umpires call. Despite giving up one run, Smith was fortunate to get Kyle Barrett to ground into a double play for two quick outs before Jimmy Freund was friendly enough to pop out to end the inning.
GW used three pitchers to get out of the seventh. Smith got the first two outs of the inning before giving up a single to Baldwin who went four-for-four all singles and one walk. Baldwin moved to second and then to third on two wild pitches from Dan Pfau who came in to face Looze and lost him to a walk. Avi Rasowsky then replaced Pfau to face Innerst. Rasowsky threw another wild pitch allowing Baldwin to score and Looze to take second before getting Innerst to fly out. But the damage had been done as the Patriots tied the score and Smith was no longer the pitcher of record with the score now tied at three.
The cardiac Colonials came back again in the ninth inning with some late inning heroics. Smith helped the Colonials cause with a solo homer to give GW the edge. Not satisfied with just one security run, Rosenblat singled with still no one out. Fertitta then drove in Rosenblat all the way from first with a double to left centerfield. The senior slugger needs just seven more total bases and seven more doubles to make GW's all-time lists. He now has 141 RBI which is eighth all-time at GW. With Fertitta at second, Milsom hit his second single and for GW's fourth-straight hit against reliever Josh Morrison. After a Michalski strikeout, Fertitta scored on a sacrifice fly from Matt Owens for GW's third run of the ninth inning.
The Colonials have a season-best nine game winning streak going which is tied for their 11th longest all-time. Last year, for the first time, GW had two winning streak of more than 10 games when they won 11 straight twice. GW has nine more regular season games left and would need to win all but two to reach 40 during the regular season. GW could match their all-time wins of 42, accomplished in 65 games, in the regular season by winning out the final nine-games of the year. The Colonials need to win only one more conference game to clinch a spot in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
The Colonials Thursday game against Mount St. Mary's has been cancelled to keep from exceeding the regular season limit of 56 games. GW plays next when they take on conference opponent Xavier at home this weekend. GW will play two seven-inning games on Saturday followed by a single nine-inning game on Sunday. There will be a bus provided for fans from Smith Center departing at 11:15 am on Saturday for the doubleheader. Sunday's game will feature senior day honoring GW's three senior players before the noontime start.