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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Walk-off single gives GW an opening day victory

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

It was opening day, but the Colonials couldn’t catch a break all game.

Freshman Andrew Selby, the team’s No. 9 hitter, changed that luck. It was his walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth that gave GW a 3-2 win over University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. Selby would go a perfect 2-2 at the plate, his hits coming in the seventh and ninth innings, with two runs batted in and two walks.

The Hawks jumped on the board first in the fourth, as senior pitcher Aaron Weisberg was punished on two flat sliders. A couple hits snuck inside the foul lines and despite five strikeouts through three innings, GW was down two.

Over the next three innings, the young Colonial offense flirted with scoring, but the Hawks halted them with solid defense, cleanly fielding every ball on the snowless Barcroft Park turf.

Just after, before the start of the seventh inning, it started to rain; and the odds began to tilt in GW’s favor.

In the bottom of the seventh, they finally pushed one across on a seeing-eye single from Selby that snuck through the right side of the infield. The next batter, junior college transfer Ryan Xepoleas, sent a deep shot to right-center that was tracked down by the UMES center fielder. It would have scored two.

“I turned to a couple of the guys in the dugout and said, ‘Here it is, we’re going to get it again. We’re going to have one fall,’” head coach Gregg Ritchie said.

In the eighth, it was small ball that got the job done for GW. The reigning Atlantic 10 coach of the year elected to play the percentages with his cleanup hitter, senior Owen Beightol, at the plate. Runners were on first and second with no outs. Bunt. Second and third one out.

Then, a sacrifice fly to center field from freshman Bobby Campbell, who had made a spectacular double-play at third base to end the seventh inning, tied the game. The Colonials would fail to push another across in the frame.

On the mound, Ritchie elected to use one of his freshmen, Eddie Muhl. The sidearmer worked himself into a jam with a lead-off walk, but slowly shook off the nerves and settled in. A couple ground balls and he was out of it; time for the offense to take a crack at an opening day win.

It would come down to the freshman right fielder, batting last in the lineup.

Freshman first baseman Cody Bryant singled up the middle to start the inning. Ritchie pinch ran freshman Joey Bartosic and as sophomore catcher Matthieu Robért faked a bunt attempt, Bartosic had stolen second. A couple pitches later, Robért laid down a sacrifice, but it was fielded and thrown to third – Bartosic was safe.

Electing not to walk the bases loaded and set up a force play, UMES brought their infield in and pitched to Selby – daring him to end it.

He responded by smacking the ball through the right side of the infield once more for the game-winning single, as the whole team stormed out of the dugout to celebrate down the line.

“The older guys pounded it into us that we needed a win right away,” Selby said. “Keep battling and keep fighting and we definitely saw that today, getting down 2-0 and then scratching and clawing to get runs and tie it up and eventually get a win.”

Weisberg started the game strong on the mound, recording five of his six strikeouts in the first three frames, but he failed to get any run support. Weisberg would go seven innings with two earned runs and five hits, spotting his fastball and nicely dropping off his off-speed pitches.

“For the first time out there, to be able stretch myself out felt good, especially early on,” Weisberg said. “Last couple innings I was kind of out of gas, but that’s kind of expected. Got to get used to everything.”

The Colonials, who did not record their first win until the 10th game of the season last year,
will look to improve on their 1-0 record in a three-game series against Southeastern Louisiana this weekend.

This post was updated Feb. 20, 2014 to reflect the following:

Correction appended
The Hatchet incorrectly identified Andrew Selby as Alexander. We regret this error.

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