St. Louis, Mo., March 26, 2016 – The Washington University in St. Louis baseball team dropped game one of its doubleheader against Illinois Wesleyan University 4-2, but the Bears bounced back and erased a four-run deficit to win game two 6-4 Saturday afternoon at Kelly Field.
WashU moved to 15-9 overall, while Illinois Wesleyan stands at 7-8 after the doubleheader split. The Bears begin a five-game roadtrip with a four-game series at Grinnell College Saturday-Sunday, April 2-3, in Grinnell, Iowa.
GAME ONE: ILLINOIS WESLEYAN 4, WASHU 2
The Titans got on the scoreboard first in the top of the third, turning a leadoff double into a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI single. WashU answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Junior Tate Maider was hit by a pitch to start the inning. After a sacrifice bunt by junior Spencer Egly moved Maider to second, senior Kyle Kozak lined a single to left-center field to tie the game at 1-1.
Illinois Wesleyan got the run back with a first-pitch solo homerun to start the top of the fourth inning as the Titans regained a 2-1 advantage. IWU added another run in the top of the fifth, turning a leadoff walk into a 3-1 lead, but junior Bill Heisler got a groundout, a strikeout and a flyout to leave two Titans in scoring position.
In the bottom of the sixth, junior Ben Browdy was hit by a pitch, and sophomore Conor O'Hara and freshman Wright Lindgren drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out. Maider lined a pitch deep to left field for a sacrifice fly that scored Browdy to cut the lead to 3-2. The score remained 3-2 until the Titans added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, Maider lined a leadoff single to center field, but the Bears were unable to push any runs across as the Titans held on for the win.
The Titans outhit WashU 11-7 in the game, and both teams left nine baserunners stranded. Junior Austin Darmawan went 3-for-5 at the plate to lead the Bears offensively. Senior Julian Clarke (2-2) took the loss on the mound for the Bears, allowing three runs on seven hits in four innings of work. Heisler pitched four scoreless innings of relief, while junior Matt Clohisy allowed on run on two hits in the ninth inning.
GAME TWO: WASHU 7, ILLINOIS WESLEYAN 4
The Titans took advantage of a leadoff error by the Bears and got four hits to score four runs in the top of the first inning. The Bears also took advantage of an error in the first inning. Senior Max Golembo reached on a one-out error and junior Christian Santos lifted a double to right-center. Golembo then scored on a wild pitch and O'Hara delivered a two-out RBI single through the right side to score Santos and cut the Titan lead to 4-2.
After that four-run first inning, junior Scott Nelson settled in to scatter five hits over the next 5.1 scoreless innings. The Bears got back-to-back singles from Maider and Kozak to start the bottom of the fourth, but a fielder's choice and double play allowed IWU to maintain its 4-2 lead. In the top of the fifth, the Titans looked like they would add to their lead after back-to-back one-out singles, but Kozak threw out a runner trying to steal third. Nelson then got a huge strikeout to get out of the inning.
The Bears made IWU pay for the missed opportunity after a pitching change for the Titans in the bottom of the fifth. Golembo and Santos lined back-to-back singles to the outfield to put runners on the corners. After Santos stole second, Browdy drove an 0-2 pitch to the gap in left-center to tie the game at 4-4. Browdy moved to third on a groundout before Lindgren bounced a single up the middle to give the Bears their first lead of the game.
WashU added an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth after Darmawan reached second on an error, then advanced to third on another error. Golembo hit a grounder to the pitcher that he fielded and threw home, but Darmawan slid safely under the tag at the plate to extend WashU's lead to 6-4. Browdy got an RBI groundout in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-4, and freshman Sean Clarke got a pair of flyouts and a groundout to end the game.
WashU finished with a 13-9 hits advantage in the game, and four Bears had multi-hit performances. O'Hara finished 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Golembo (2-for-5, RBI, three runs), Santos (2-for-4, two runs) and Browdy (2-for-5, three RBIs, run) had two hits apiece.
Nelson (2-4) earned the win on the mound, scattering nine hits and allowing four runs, one unearned. He also recorded six strikeouts in his 6.1 innings of work. Sean Clarke notched the first save of his career after retiring all eight batters he faced.
Bear Notebook: The Bears are 7-1 at home this season … Golembo had hits in both games to extend his hitting streak to 17 games … Game two was Browdy's team-leading eighth multi-RBI performance of the season … Golembo's three runs scored in game two increased his career runs total to 138, moving him into a tie for seventh with Dave Huegy (1986-89) on WashU's all-time leaderboard … The game two win was Nelson's 10th career victory … Sean Clarke has not allowed an earned run in 9.1 innings of relief this season.