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The GW Hatchet

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Baseball’s A-10 Championship run comes to a close after historic push to third day of play

Graeme Sloan | Contributing Photo Editor
Junior Dominic D’Alessandro rounds home plate and high fives assistant coach Dave Lorber after a home run in the Colonials’ first game of the day Friday.

Baseball’s season and Atlantic 10 Championship run ended Friday night with a 9–4 loss to No. 2 seed George Mason in the consolation bracket finals at Tucker Field.

The No. 7 seed Colonials (32-26) won their first game of the day 5–4 against No. 4 Richmond. After trailing the Spiders through six innings, senior utility player Isaiah Pasteur hit a three-run blast to left center field to give GW the win.

The Colonials lasted through three elimination games and ended their tournament run as the first No. 7 seed team to reach the third day of play in the A-10 tournament.

Head coach Gregg Ritchie said his team’s ability to execute the role of the underdog shows the resilience and heart of every man on his squad.

“It shows the passion they have for each other and for this game,” he said. “They left nothing back.”

Game one

The Colonials trailed for six innings against No. 4 seed Richmond before Pasteur’s 10th home run of the year secured a 5–4 victory over the Spiders and a trip to the consolation bracket final Friday afternoon.

Pasteur led the team in the batter’s box, connecting on two of the Colonials’ six hits in four appearances at the plate.

On the mound, sophomore pitcher Elliott Raimo made his return after sitting out due to injury since May 5.

Raimo’s start was short-lived, and he was pulled after hitting his first batter and throwing only one pitch to the second.

He was replaced by junior reliever Will Kobos, who earned the win holding the Spiders to three runs on nine hits.

Senior outfielder Mark Osis said the grit of the pitching staff was crucial to their success against Richmond and in the tournament overall.

“These guys are tough and they do what’s asked of them,” he said. “They come up telling coach they’re ready for more even when it doesn’t make sense for them to still be ready.”

Kobos retired his first batter, but then found himself in a jam after a walk and a wild pitch put runners on second and third.

A single by Richmond sophomore third baseman Justin Cook gave the Spiders their first run of the day. On the next play, sophomore second baseman Nate Fassnacht’s hesitation on a ground ball allowed Richmond to pull ahead 2–0.

In the bottom of the first, aggressive baserunning by sophomore outfielder Steven Barmakian helped GW tally its first run. After reaching base on a single, Barmakian stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He scored on an infield line drive hit by senior infielder Robbie Metz to cut Richmond’s lead.

After a 1-2-3 third inning, Kobos gave up another run in the fourth inning on a double to deep left field. A gutsy fielder’s choice play by senior first baseman Matt Cosentino to the plate stopped another Spider from scoring.

The Colonials got within striking distance of the lead when junior designated hitter Dominic D’Alessandro smacked a solo home run to narrow Richmond’s lead 3–2, but the Spiders responded with a run of their own in the top of the seventh, putting them ahead 4–2.

Pasteur knocked a game-saving long ball with two on base to overcome Richmond’s lead and put the Colonials up 5–4.

[gwh_image id=”1059098″ credit=”Graeme Sloan | Contributing Photo Editor” align=”none” size=”embedded-img”]Freshman Trevor Kuncl celebrates after Isaiah Pasteur launched a home run to boost the Colonials 5–4 and secure their win Friday.[/gwh_image]

With only one run of breathing room, freshman pitcher Pat Knight relieved Kobos in the eighth inning. Knight retired his first two batters, but after giving up a walk, he was replaced by sophomore pitcher Jaret Edwards who forced a groundout to end the inning.

Edwards completed the four-out save by retiring the Spiders in the ninth, securing the win for the Colonials and advancing them to the consolation bracket final in a rematch against George Mason.

Game two

A battered GW bullpen struggled to contain George Mason’s offense in GW’s second game of the day Friday night. Eight different pitchers took the mound in the team’s 9–4 loss.

Only four available Colonials on the roster did not see time in the game.

Ritchie said the effects of being short-staffed in the bullpen were exacerbated by the quick pace of the tournament.

“It does limit your energy level in terms of physicality,” he said. “When you extend the day out, the body takes a little beating, but they did a hell of a job.”

The Colonials had trouble generating offense at the plate against George Mason junior pitcher Brandon Marconi. Marconi held GW to two runs on five hits in seven innings of work and struck out six Colonials on the night.

“Their guy threw a good game,” Ritchie said. “We didn’t get to him early enough and we just didn’t shut him down.”

Knight started the game toeing the rubber for GW and gave up a two-run home run to senior first baseman Trevor Kelly in the first inning, creating a deficit the Colonials were unable to come back from.

After allowing the first two batters he faced in the second inning on base, Knight was relieved by Edwards.

With runners on second and third, a sacrifice fly to left field was caught by freshman outfielder Trevor Kuncl, who launched the ball to senior catcher Brandon Chapman at home plate. Chapman held onto the ball through a hard slide by George Mason’s runner to secure the double play and keep the score 2–0 heading into the bottom of the second.

The Patriots tacked on four more runs against three Colonial pitchers in a tumultuous fourth inning. Edwards left the game after a misjudged fly ball by senior outfielder Mark Osis gave up a triple and a subsequent single allowed another run.

Edwards was replaced by Pasteur, who recorded only one out before being moved back to the infield. Pasteur gave up two runs on two hits and a walk before being replaced by senior pitcher Kevin Hodgson, who closed the inning for the Colonials.

George Mason’s Kelly crushed his second home run of the night against Hodgson in the fifth inning to put the Patriots ahead 7–0. A sacrifice fly from second baseman Alejandro Aponte in the next inning added another insurance run to the tally.

The Colonials’ first runs of the night didn’t come until the seventh inning, when redshirt freshman outfielder Colin Brophy pinch hit a two-run home run to make the score 8–2.

In his first career at-bat, junior pitcher Nate Woods loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth when he was hit by a pitch. Cosentino said the team’s excitement when Woods reached base despite the scoreboard was evidence of the positive demeanor of the squad through the ups and downs of the season.

“It was kind of a microscopic version of our whole season,” Cosentino said. “It was so much fun, and good things were happening.”

With the bases loaded, Chapman and redshirt junior first baseman Sam Martin added back-to-back RBI singles to push the score to 9–4, but the damage the Patriots had done in earlier innings was too extensive to recover from.

Osis, in his last game with the program, said although the team fell short of their championship aspirations, he gained a lesson more important than an A-10 title.

“These coaches took a shot on me by giving me a chance to play here. Something that will stick with me forever is that they taught me to believe in myself,” he said. “So if you look at it that way, we didn’t lose a thing.”

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