Colonials’ Three Game Sweep Led by Historic Pitching


Nathan Breisinger

It’s the first time in program history when three Colonial pitchers each have complete game shutouts in consecutive games

Cam Wickline

Robert Morris’s softball team’s season has been full of ups and downs as they continue to make their way through conference play.

Their weekend series against Northern Kentucky was another one of those ups, this time one of historic proportions.

Dana Vatakis, Jane Garver, and Madison DeVault all threw complete game shutouts, a feat that has never been achieved in Robert Morris softball history. This dominance helped the Colonials to a series sweep with scores of 2-0, 5-0, and 5-0.

The Colonials three-headed-monster of Dana Vatakis, Jane Gaver and Madison DeVault gave up just six hits over the three-game series, with none going for extra bases.

While this level of play could not be foreseen, this group has been showing signs going back to the beginning of the season.

The anchor of the rotation has been Vatakis. She sports a 1.78 ERA in non-power-five games across a formidable sample size of 63 innings. She has recently taken a step up, going from good to straight up unhittable.

Since the start of Horizon League play, Vatakis has pitched in three conference games, going 21 innings giving up zero runs in the process. In other words, three consecutive complete games. All of this has put her in the running for Horizon League Pitcher of the Year. Among players with at least 80 innings pitched (the number of innings average starting pitchers have reached in conference), Vatakis is fourth in ERA and first in opponent batting average.

With the ace of the staff already known, the rotation’s number two was more of a question. Unfortunately for Jexx Varner, that question still exists. Fortunately for him, it has not been because of poor performance.

DeVault appeared to be the pitcher with the upper hand going into the season and she has done everything she could to keep her spot. She has pitched to the tune of a 3.28 ERA and has heated up as of late. She has not surrendered a run over her last 15 innings, including two innings against power five crosstown rival Pitt.

Garver seemed to be the pitcher on the outside looking in to start the season, meaning she did not get a chance to pitch in the Detroit Mercy series after rain shortened it to two games.

Since that series, she has pitched 23.1 innings and given up just one run. Included in that span was domination against MAC opponents, going six and two thirds innings with zero earned runs against Akron and five and a third innings with one unearned run against Kent State.

As a whole, this Colonials pitching staff has been in control on the mound both in recent weeks and throughout the season. That is why their line scores over the weekend felt more like a continuation of success than a one-off performance.

In order of games played, their lines were…

Dana Vatakis- 7 IP,1 H, 6 K, 3 BB, 0 ER

Jane Garver- 7 IP, 3 H, 10 K, 5 BB, 0 ER

Madison DeVault- 7 IP, 2 H, 9 K, 1 BB, 0 ER

Jexx Varner said this of his pitchers’ performances.

“That was unbelievable. The one thing that we’ve always talked about with this staff is building a staff together that it’s not just about going your four innings then you hand it off to somebody else…Each one of them grab the ball for their game and know the next game is somebody else’s to step up and do it. This was obviously huge proof of that this weekend.”

The staff said that knowing just how good each other are is one of the biggest things helping them, instead of adding pressure it creates an aura of confidence.

“We just believe in each other and no matter what we have each others’ back and know that no matter who is out there, we’re gonna do the thing.” said Dana Vatakis

All of that is to say this weekend’s performance was historic, yes, but surprising, no.

If you want to catch these white-hot pitchers in action, the Colonials will try to melt the Penguins of Youngstown State on Tuesday at YSU Softball Field at the Covelli Sports Complex to begin a three-game series.