Baseball Comeback at Division I Saint Louis Falls Short in 5-4 Loss
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St. Louis, Mo., February 27, 2010 – The Washington University in St. Louis baseball team erased a four-run deficit against NCAA Division I Saint Louis University in its 2011 season opener on Sunday afternoon but it was not enough as the Billikens brought the game-winning run across the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure a 5-4 victory.
Sunday afternoon’s game marked not only the 2011 season opener for the Red and Green but the first game under new head coach Steve Duncan. Washington University and Saint Louis University were meeting for the first time since April 17, 1996.
WUSTL sophomore Max Gordon was impressive in 4.2 innings of middle relief work, fanning six batters and yielding just one base hit. Gordon walked three of the first four batters he faced in the bottom of the fifth inning, but worked his way out of the jam and went on to retire 13-straight Billikens.
Gordon did not relinquish a single hit until Saint Louis centerfielder Danny Brennan sent a two-out double to left centerfield in the bottom of the ninth inning. After Gordon walked Zach Miller, senior HT Flanagan relieved him on the mound, but he gave up the game-winning base hit to Jon Myers.
Junior Brandon Rogalski made the start for Washington University, pitching the first game of his career. After pitching through trouble in the first and second innings, Rogalski gave up two runs in the third and fourth innings as Saint Louis built a 4-0 lead.
SLU’s Jerry Mancuso was perfect through his first four innings, but the Bears finally cracked the Billiken starter in the fifth. Rogalski led off the inning with a sharply hit double to left field and went on to score on a Joe Noon sacrifice fly to left.
Washington U. tallied two more runs in the sixth inning, cutting the Saint Louis lead to just 4-3. Senior Miguel Davis walked to start the sixth and made the score 4-2 by coming home on a throw down to second on a Kyle Billig steal. After senior first baseman Matt Skinner lined into a double play, senior Travis May singled up the middle, advanced to second on a balk and scored on a Rogalski single.
Gordon retired the side in the bottom of the sixth and the Bears came all the way back to knot the score at 4-4 in the top half of the seventh. Sophomore Stephen Bonser hammered a base hit down the third base line and moved over to second on a wild pickoff by Derek Mazzio. Davis brought him home from second with his first RBI single of the season, but that was the last run the Bears would score.
Neither team scored in the eighth inning and Washington University’s scoring opportunity in the top half of the ninth did not yield a run. Noon singled with one out in the ninth and Duncan elected to bring Matt Polites in to pinch run. Polites stole second and reached third on a Bonser groundout but was stranded there and SLU won the game in the next half inning.
Rogalski’s final line as the starter was four innings with two earned runs and a strikeout. He was also 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.
The Bears were scheduled to play a second game on Sunday afternoon at Fontbonne University, but the game was cancelled due to wet field conditions.
Washington U. (0-1) will return to action on Tuesday, March 1, when it welcomes Greenville College for a single game at Kelly Field in St. Louis, Mo. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.