GW Softball Heads to Atlantic 10 Championship as No. 4 Seed
May 8, 2012
WASHINGTON - The George Washington softball team travels to St. Louis this weekend for the Atlantic 10 Championship, hosted at Saint Louis University's Billiken Sports Complex. The fourth-seeded Colonials will take on fifth-seeded Charlotte in the first game on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET. Links for Gametracker and live video streaming can be found at Championship Central.
The A-10 Championship is a six-team double-elimination event, with the winner receiving the league's automatic bid to compete in the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the GW/Charlotte contest will face top-seeded Massachusetts on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, while the loser will take on the loser or the No. 3 Temple/No. 6 Saint Joseph's game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET in the tournament's first elimination game.
The Colonials (22-28) earned their first A-10 Championship bid since 2007 and just the second in the 10-year history of the program with an 11-9 league record. GW lost both tournament contests as the No. 6 seed in 2007, falling to No. 3 Saint Louis and No. 5 Charlotte. The Colonials were picked to finish eighth out of 11 teams in the 2012 preseason poll, but finished two games above .500 in A-10 action to earn the No. 4 seed in the 2012 tournament.
GW's 22 wins on the year are the third-most in program history and are just two shy of the school record of 24 set in 2006. In addition, the Colonials have won more Atlantic 10 games (11) than any other GW squad, surpassing the old mark of nine set in 2007.
Despite splitting the regular-season finale doubleheader with Saint Louis on Saturday, GW has won 13 of its last 18 games after starting the season 9-23. The Colonials are batting .298 as a team during the hot streak and have scored 5.4 runs per game while allowing just 2.8. Junior Tara Fogarty is batting .385 with four home runs and 15 RBIs during that stretch, while senior Lauren Wilson is hitting .367 with 21 RBIs, 19 runs scored and nine extra-base hits, including five home runs.
The Colonials' 38 home runs equals the program record originally set by the 2007 squad, and Wilson and junior Autumn Taylor have both hit a team-best 10 home runs, matching Jackie Yaniga's single-season record set in 2005. In addition, the duo is tied for second all-time at GW with 16 career round-trippers.
Taylor is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak, the longest on the team this season. She is batting .464 (13-for-28) with two doubles, two homers and eight RBIs in those nine games. Junior Sandi Moynihan is hitting .526 (10-for-19) with three extra-base hits, six RBIs and six runs scored during her current seven-game hit streak.
GW's 72 stolen bases this season are a new program record, surpassing the 2006 squad's 71 steals. The Colonials rank second in the A-10 in the category, behind Saint Louis' 81 stolen bases. Wilson and senior Amanda Zakeri have each matched Elana Meyers' single-season record with 22 steals, ranking third in the conference. Zakeri now ranks second all-time at GW with 38 career stolen bases, while Wilson is tied for third with 33.
Seniors Kara Clauss and Heidi Penna have become a formidable 1-2 punch for the Colonials in the circle. The duo has combined for a 12-4 record and a 1.72 ERA with four shutouts over GW's last 18 games. Clauss broke Amanda Gabriel's single-season record with 14 wins on the year, and she has equaled Gabriel's all-time mark with 35 career victories.
Charlotte (28-24, 10-10 A-10) has lost five of its last seven games following a doubleheader split with A-10 rival Dayton on Saturday. Brianna Gwaltney leads the Atlantic 10 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs, and she is batting a team-best .317 on the year. The 49ers are batting .258 as a team and have scored a league-high 234 runs. The pitching staff is paced by Lexi Betancourt, who is 15-12 with a 2.84 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 187.1 innings of work.
The 49ers swept the Colonials, 4-3 and 4-2, on April 1 at GW Softball Field. Freshman Victoria Valos homered in the nightcap, but GW batted just .196 as a team against Charlotte. The Colonials are 2-11 all-time against the 49ers. GW went a combined 3-7 against the five teams in the A-10 Championship.