Stephen Bonser Throws No-Hitter as Bears Sweep Double Header with Fontbonne
BOX 1 | BOX 2 | BONSER INTERVIEW
St. Louis, Mo., May 1, 2011 – Washington University in St. Louis sophomore Stephen Bonser applied an exclamation point to the end of the regular season by tossing a no-hitter in an 8-0 win over Fontbonne University in the second game of a double header on Sunday afternoon at Irv Utz Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. Senior Adam Merzel threw a four-hit shutout in the Bears’ 4-0 win in game one.
Bonser was completely dominant against Fontbonne fanning nine batters, which included striking out the side in the fourth with three called third strikes. HIs day was nearly perfect if not for a dropped fly ball by freshman Kyle Billig in center field to start the top of the sixth inning.
Bonser rebounded by striking out Cody Schmelzle and getting Ricky Walden to fly out to center. The closest Fontbonne came to a base hit was with two outs in that same inning as Matt Suda smoked a line drive down to first but senior first baseman Matt Skinner made a diving grab to preserve the no-no.
“Joe Noon and I knew that they would have trouble with the off-speed pitches so we started fast ball then mixed it up a little bit with a curve ball, change up, and things were working,“ Bonser said. “Guys were also making some plays out in the field, especially in the sixth inning with Matt Skinner making that diving catch to save my day.”
Offensively junior Brandon Rogalski and Billig each had a nice game at the plate. Rogalski went 2-for-4 but recorded an RBI in each at-bat, including solo home run in the fifth inning, his team-leading sixth long ball of the year. Billig went 3-for-4 in the leadoff position, snapping an 0-for-15 slump in addition to stealing two bases and scoring three runs.
Rogalski ends the regular season with school records in base hits (74) and RBIs (60) while batting .438 and slugging .722 with 28 stolen bases. Billig improved his single-season record to 34 stolen bases, which ranks fourth in Division III.
Senior David Oman recorded the first base hit and RBI of his career with a hard hit single to left field in the bottom of the sixth, scoring senior Matt Bayer from third. The Bears scored three runs on five hits during the big inning that saw them extend the lead to 8-0.
The first game started as a pitcher’s dual until Washington University broke it open with three runs in the sixth inning. Merzel retired seven of the first eight batters he faced before giving up a base hit to Ryan O’Rourke with one out in the third.
On several occasions Merzel managed to work around runners on the base paths with successful pick off attempts. He picked off three runners and used another good move in the fourth with runners on first and third to catch Josh Taylor off the bag at first, leading to a run down before Skinner caught Sean Fisher trying to steal home.
Merzel struck out seven batters and issued just three walks, picking up his sixth win of the year, his second complete-game of the season and the first shutout of his career.
Noon delivered an RBI base hit out to left to score senior Travis May and give the Bears a 1-0 lead in the second inning. May’s score represented the only run of the game for either team until he hit a two-RBI single in the sixth inning to break open the game.
Washington University concludes the regular season with a 29-17 overall record, with the 46 games played representing a new single-season school record. The Bears, who are currently ranked No. 6 in the NCAA Central Region will now wait to see if they qualify for an at-large berth into the 2011 NCAA Division III Tournament when this year’s tournament field is announced on Monday, May 16.