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GW shaves a clean slate to sweep conference home-opener

Sophomore Kevin Mahala hit his third home run of the season Saturday in game two of the Colonials' three-game series against St. Bonaventure. GW swept the series to push their record to 13-8. Sara Gleysteen | Hatchet Photographer.
Sophomore Kevin Mahala hit his third home run of the season Saturday in game two of the Colonials’ three-game series against St. Bonaventure. GW swept the series to push their record to 13-8. Sara Gleysteen | Hatchet Photographer.
This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

No beards, no problem.

Clean shaven for the first time since October, the baseball team swept its Atlantic 10 series against St. Bonaventure, winning the first two games by one run and blowing out the final game to the tune of 8-1 on Sunday.

The beards were buzzed down after being beaten 1-0 against Delaware State Wednesday afternoon. The Colonials mustered just four hits, stranded five runners on base and popped out 16 times, unable to show enough fight to win – unable to show enough fight to keep their beards.

“I felt like we needed to figure out how to clean the slate and we talked about it: ‘We’re going to get clean, we’re going to clean the slate up and we’re going to go to town again,’” head coach Gregg Ritchie said. “It took root a little bit and guys played with a little more purity.”

On Sunday, junior Shane Kemp took the mound to try to complete the sweep, in front of a crowd of scouts. With eight radar guns tracking the 6-foot-3, 180 pound righty hovering around 90 miles per hour, the junior college transfer was wild to start. In the first inning he escaped a potential threat with an inning-ending double play after a mound visit calmed him down.

“He threw the best fastball right after that, down in the zone and, boom, double play,” Ritchie said. “But he’s got to be able to do that on his own. You can’t make 90 million visits to calm him down.”

The third inning proved to the be the bugaboo for the Colonials. After being handed a four-spot in the second inning, Kemp was unable to retire a hitter: a run scored courtesy of a single, wild pitch and another single.

Junior Jacob Williams would come in relief and go the distance, throwing a scoreless seven innings on 103 pitches, giving up six hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

“I was going to battle with him if [coach] had told me I wasn’t going back out, but he told me I was going back out so I wanted to make the most of it,” Williams said. “ I wanted to finish it.”

The Colonials had the good favor of a couple crooked innings, with the four-spot on three hits in the second inning and three runs on three hits and an error in the sixth.

Sophomore Kevin Mahala continued a hot series with another RBI, totaling four in the three games. He singled in the first run of the game after back-to-back walks set up the rally in the second.

GW scratched out two runs courtesy of suicide squeezes, one in the second with sophomore Eli Kashi and one in the fifth by sophomore Bobby Campbell on a two-strike pitch.

“We get the job done for the situation needed and that’s it,” Ritchie said. “There’s no one on this team that’s a consummate three-hole or foul-hole or five-hole hitter. We’re not to that point yet. We’ve not developed to that point, we haven’t gotten to the situation to that point. So every single guy is going to expected to do his job at the moment.”

Series Recap

Friday: 6-5 GW
Junior Bobby LeWarne picked up his team-leading fourth win. He threw seven innings with 102 pitches, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks, scrambling at times.

After giving up a run in the first inning, LeWarne fell behind further, giving up a first-pitch home run to the first batter in the second inning. In the sixth, pitching with a lead, he would retire the first two batters. Then he gave up a walk, single and a walk to load the bases before he would close the inning with a ground out to second.

GW would take the lead permanently in the third inning when they scored four runs on six hits, all scored with two outs. Sophomore Andrew Selby doubled to right field and then freshman Brandon Chapman singled in two runs. Another double by Mahala drove in two more runs.

Usually lockdown in his set up role this season, redshirt senior Craig LeJeune did not record an out in the eighth after giving up a single and a two-run home run to bring the Bonnies within one. Freshman Tyler Swiggart came in and closed out the inning, before
sophomore Eddie Muhl would come in the ninth to pick up the save, stranding the tying run 90 feet away.

Saturday: 1-0 GW
The pitching staff threw nine shutout innings, led by freshman Robbie Metz, who picked up his second win in seven innings with 124 pitches. He gave up six hits with three walks and four strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 0.57.

Metz worked out of trouble in the fifth aided by a diving grab from freshman Matt Cosentino, playing for a banged-up senior Ryan Xepoleas, who bruised his knee in warm ups before the game. Cosentino laid out in center field with two outs and runners on first and second.

Freshman Kevin Hodgson pitched a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and Muhl picked up his league-best seventh save.

GW scored their lone run on the bat of Mahala, who homered just over the left field fence in the sixth inning. It was his third home run of the season.

“Everybody’s giving me crap because there’s a lot of wind yesterday,” Mahala joked. “I’ll be the first to say that it probably wasn’t well deserved, but I’ll take it.”

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