St. Louis, Mo., March 21, 2015 – The Washington University in St. Louis baseball team had its eight-game win streak snapped with a 12-9 loss to Illinois Wesleyan University, but rallied for a 6-5 win over Concordia University-Chicago in the final game of the day Saturday at Kelly Field.
ILLINOIS WESLEYAN 12, WASHU 9
WashU took advantage of two Titan errors in the bottom of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead, but Illinois Wesleyan answered with two runs on three hits in the top of the second to tie the game at 2-2. The Bears sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, scoring five runs on six hits to regain the lead. Junior Kyle Kozak led off the inning with a single down the right field line, and advanced to second on a passed ball before scoring on a single through the right side by sophomore Austin Darmawan. Darmawan stole two bases and sophomore CJ Price reached on a single to the pitcher, before a single by senior Chris Lowery made it 4-2 in favor of the Bears.
Senior Zack Kessinger drove in two more runs on a single up the middle to knock the Illinois Wesleyan starting pitcher out of the game after just one inning of work. After a pitching change, senior Brian Cizek doubled down the left-field line to put two runners in scoring position, and Kessinger scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Brandon Deger to extend WashU's lead to 7-2 before the inning was over. Illinois Wesleyan answered in the top of the third with four runs to cut the Bears' lead to 7-6. In the top of the fourth, the Titans plated four runs on four hits, a walk and a hit by pitch to take a 10-7 lead.
Illinois Wesleyan added two more runs in the top of the seventh to extend its lead to 12-7. The Bears were shut down offensively after the second inning, managing just one hit and five base runners over the next five innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Darmawan started WashU's rally with a one-out single up the middle. Lowery hit a two-out single to keep the inning alive for Kessinger, who drove in his third run of the game with a single to right field to make it 12-8. After a pitching change for the Titans, Cizek roped a double to the gap in right center to score Lowery and cut IWU's lead to 12-9, but a pop up ended the threat for the Bears. In the bottom of the ninth, sophomore Ben Browdy led off with a single, but the Titans got the next three batters out to end the game.
The teams combined for 33 hits in the game, 19 for Illinois Wesleyan and 14 for WashU, and both teams left 10 runners stranded. Darmawan (3-for-6, two runs, RBI) and Lowery (3-for-5, two runs, RBI) led WashU with three hits each. Kessinger went 2-for-5 with a team-high three RBIs and two runs. The Bears' first four batters accounted for eight of the nine runs scored by the team in the game. Junior Michael Johnson (0-1) took the loss for the Bears, allowing four runs on three hits in 2/3 of an inning of relief.
WASHU 6, CONCORDIA-CHICAGO 5
Concordia-Chicago took advantage of a pair of errors by WashU to score the first run of the game in the top of the first, and added another run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the third to take a 2-0 lead. After being limited to one hit through the first three innings, the Bears scored two runs on three hits in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. Price drew a one-out walk, and Lowery drove a double off the left-field fence to put two runners in scoring position for WashU. Kessinger lined a single through the right side of the infield to drive in two runs to make it 2-2. Deger kept the inning going with a two-out single, but a called strikeout ended the Bears' rally.
In the top of the fifth, the Cougars regained the lead, scoring the go-ahead run on a squeeze bunt to make the score 3-2. Kozak led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, and after running the count full, senior Andrew Goldstick stroked a single to shallow right field. Kozak, who was going on the hit and run, advanced to third to give the Bears runners on the corners with no outs. Price flew out to center field with one out, but it was deep enough for Kozak to score on the sacrifice fly to tie the game again at 3-3.
Kessinger drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth for the Bears, and Cizek sliced a 2-2 pitch through the hole on the right side of the infield to move Kessinger to third. Deger hit a ground ball to the shortstop, but beat out the throw to first on the potential double play, driving in Kessinger to give the Bears their first lead of the game at 4-3. In the top of the seventh, Concordia-Chicago scored two runs to retake the lead at 5-4, but Kozak threw out a base runner at second to end the inning.
The Bears answered with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Kozak lined a leadoff single over the second baseman, and moved to second on a sac bunt by Goldstick. Darmawan laid down a bunt along the third-base line, but the ball was thrown out of play by the Cougar third baseman to allow Kozak to score the game-tying run. Lowery was hit by a pitch with two outs, and Kessinger reached on a fielding error by the second baseman that scored Darmawan for what proved to be the game-winning run.
Senior Dom Quaranta and sophomore Matt Clohisy shut down the Cougar offense in the final two innings as WashU hung on for the win. Quaranta (1-1) picked up the win for the Bears, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. Clohisy earned his fourth save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. Kessinger led the Bears offensively, finishing 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
WashU (11-4) finishes the weekend with a second game against Concordia-Chicago (6-8) at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Bear Notebook: Kessinger's five RBIs on the day brought his career total to 126, passing Steve Steinbruegge (1997-00) and Cornell Foggie (1985-88) for sixth on the Bears' all-time career leaderboard … Lowery moved into a tie for ninth on WashU's all-time list with his 34th career double … Clohisy has now thrown 13 2/3 career innings without allowing a run … Lowery extended his hitting streak to 12 games … Kessinger and Lowery have both reached base safely in all 15 of WashU's games this year.