March 20, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC - The George Washington Colonials (5-8, 1-1 A-10) softball team will clash with the Saint Louis Billikens (8-14) in a 2:00 pm doubleheader, Saturday, March 22 at the Billiken Sports Center. The Colonials went 1-2 against the 2007 A-10 Championship runner-up, with its one victory advancing GW to its first-ever Atlantic 10 Championship in the regular season finale.
Scouting The Billikens: Second-year head coach John Conway led Saint Louis to a program-best 29 wins in his first season with the Billikens. In doing so, Conway also helped SLU to its first A-10 Championship appearnace and title game in 2007. Four Bilikens enter its Atlantic 10 opener batting at least .300 with freshman Caitlin Trevillyan leading the way with a .359 average. Sophomore Nicki Jost and junior Rachel Heet are second and third on the team in average, while Jost, a 2007 All-Rookie Team member, also leads the team with a pair of home runs and 10 RBI. Heet, a member of the All-Championship team comes in with 21 base-hits and a pair of triples to lead the squad. Junior Katie Johns commands the battery behind the plate and is also potent with the bat, and is currently second on the Billikens with eight runs batted in. Junior Annie Dillinger and freshman Kristin Nicoletti are top threats to steal as they are combining for 16 steals in 17 attempts. Senior Lorena Floccari is the ace of the Billikens' pitching staff, entering Saturday with just a 1-5 record, but a team-leading 3.17 ERA. Flocarri started the regular-season finale last season at GW and she gave up all seven runs on six hits in four innings of work. Freshman righthander Erin Kelly (6-3, 3.32 ERA) and sophomore Stacy Gillete (1-6, 6.28 ERA) should also see time in the circle for the Billikens.
How We Got Here: With six players batting over .300, the Colonials currently lead the Atlantic 10 offensively with a .325 team batting average. Senior Katie Miller and sophomore Amanda Gabriel are both batting over that mark, and are tied for the league lead with four home runs apiece, as GW also has a league-leading 14 home runs as a team. Gabriel is also the ace of the Colonials' pitching staff with a 4-4 record and 2.50 ERA. She has six complete games in her eight starts and has struck out 54 batters in 47.2 innings, while walking just eight. Senior Jackie Yaniga leads the team with a .400 batting average, and is followed by a slew of Colonials who have been on fire with the bat. Freshman Katie Terrazas is batting .385, Miller (.378, 4 HR, 9 RBI) senior Chrysanthi Halkiotis (.372, 1 HR, 8 RBI), junior Carrie Higdon (.343, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 7-7 SB) and Gabriel (.310, 4 HR, 7 RBI). Sophomore Amanda Holst has played all over the diamond in 2008, but could remain a fixture in the outfield with her range and strong arm. Redshirt sophomore Elisa Van Kirk commands the pitching staff and is also second on the team with three home runs, but leads the team with 10 RBI. Junior second baseman Tori Sensi is batting just .237 but has six RBI and leads the team in sacrifice hits. The Colonials have had three different players earn A-10 weekly awards so far this season (Yaniga - Player, Gabriel - Pitcher, and Miller - Player).
Preseason Prediction: Saint Louis was picked third in the 2008 Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll. GW was picked seventh.
2007 Matchup Recap: Senior, and reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week, Katie Miller leads active GW players against SLU, as she batted .375 in three games against the Billikens in 2007. Two of those hits were crucial in GW's 7-4 win over Saint Louis in the regular-season finale. Yaniga batted .300 in the three games. Gabriel appeared in all three games in the circle against the Billikens. Despite finishing with just an 0-1 record in her three appearances, she struck out 13 batters in 13 innings, while allowing just one walk. Saint Louis won the first game, 7-4 in extra innings. GW won the second game, 7-4 to advance GW to the A-10 Tourney. SLU picked up a come-from-behind victory in the Tournament.