Ninth-Inning Rally Falls Short for WUSTL Baseball in Season-Ending 3-2 Loss to Illinois Wesleyan
Millington, Tenn., May 17, 2012 – The Washington University in St. Louis baseball team scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning, but left the tying run on base as Illinois Wesleyan University defeated the Bears 3-2 in an elimination game at the NCAA Division III Baseball Central Regional on Thursday afternoon at USA Stadium.
Washington U. ended its season with a 28-14 record with the loss. The Bears finished 0-2 in their first NCAA Championship appearance since 2009, falling to 3-16 all-time in the NCAA Championship. Seniors Michael Fletcher, Kevin Paule and Brandon Rogalski concluded their careers at Washington U. with a 99-58 record.
Trailing 3-0 entering the ninth inning, freshman Zack Kessinger was hit in the foot with a pitch to lead off the inning. Sophomore Andrew Dwoskin made the score 3-2 when he drove a ball off the inside of the foul pole in left field for his second home run in as many games. Junior David Madson reached on a one-out walk to put the tying run on base for Washington U., but a strikeout and a fly out ended the game and the Bears’ season.
The two teams remained scoreless through the first four innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Illinois Wesleyan got its first two batters on board with walks, but a fielder’s choice and a pair of strikeouts by junior Stephen Bonser ended the scoring threat. In the top of the fifth, Paule singled to the gap in right-center and advanced to second when the right fielder was unable to field it cleanly. Madson followed with a single up the middle, but Paule was gunned down at the plate trying to score on the play.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Titans took advantage of two errors by the Washington U. defense to score a pair of unearned runs. After a leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt, it appeared that Washington U. would get the lead runner out on a fielder’s choice at third, but Dwoskin was unable to hang on to the ball and the runner scrambled safely to the base. The next batter hit a ball to center field and the runner on third was called safe on a close play at home to give the Titans a 1-0 lead. Illinois Wesleyan added a second run when the next batter singled through the right side and sophomore Kyle Billig bobbled the ball in right-center field. Illinois Wesleyan used a leadoff double to extend its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth on a double play.
Bonser (6-4) threw his fifth complete game of the season, taking the loss despite allowing just one earned run. He scattered six hits and walked two batters, while recording five strikeouts in the game. Madson finished 3-for-3 with a walk to lead the Bears offensively. Dwoskin (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, run) and freshmen Andrew Goldstick (2-for-4) and Chris Lowery (2-for-4) recorded two hits each. Washington U. out-hit the Titans 10-6 in the game.
Bear Notebook: It was the 29th game that Washington U. tallied double-digit hits … Illinois Wesleyan also earned a one-run (2-1) win over the Bears in the teams’ only meeting this season on April 24 … It was just the second time this season that Billig did not reach base, snapping a 24-game hitting streak … Rogalski finished in the top-10 in eight career offensive categories – first in hits (216), second in batting average (.407), third in triples (12) and RBIs (142), fourth in doubles (43), fifth in steals (48), eighth in runs scored (124), and 10th in games played (143) … Washington U. set five single-season records in 2012:
-- Billig – 59 runs (tied 1986 record by Cornell Foggie); 35 stolen bases
-- Rogalski – 178 at bats; 77 hits
-- Freshman Max Zhang – 0.69 ERA with two earned runs in 26 innings (breaking record of 0.73 ERA set by John Herzing in 1967).