St. Louis, Mo., March 23, 2019 – The Washington University in St. Louis baseball team posted a pair of wins over Illinois Wesleyan University on Saturday at Kelly Field taking game one 6-0 before edging the Titans 2-1 on a walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.
WashU improved to 11-3-1 on the year with the wins while IWU fell to 7-6 on the season. The Bears pitching staff combined to allow one run on 18 innings pitched and 13 hits surrendered. WashU also struck out 18 batters in the doubleheader.
Game 1: WashU 6 – IWU 0
Senior John Howard threw eight innings of shutout baseball but allowed three consecutive batters to reach base to start the game. The St. Louis, Mo.-native picked a runner off before striking out the final two batters of the inning to emerge unscathed despite the trio of base runners.
Meanwhile the Bears offense was held hitless for three frames before freshman shortstop Caleb Durbin singled to lead the fourth inning off. Junior centerfielder John Ostrander knocked Durbin in with a line drive single up the middle with the bases loaded. One batter later, junior catcher Thomas Gardner cashed in two more runner to give the Bears a 3-0 cushion.
Sophomore leftfielder Sean Robinson legged out a double to right centerfield to lead off the fifth inning before Durbin was struck by a pitch to put a pair of runners on. Junior third baseman John Brinkman knocked in both runners after senior second baseman's second successful sacrifice bunt. Freshman right fielder Jackson Gray put the Bears ahead 6-0 with a run scoring single following a stolen base by Brinkman.
Howard recorded nine straight outs from the sixth-through-eighth inning before the Titans had the first two runners reach in the ninth. Brinkman shifted to the mound and struck out the final three batters to close out the contest in favor of the Bears.
Game 2: WashU 2 – IWU 1
WashU had two strange circumstances lead to runs in the nightcap. After four innings of scoreless baseball the Bears struck first in the fifth inning.
Gardner led the inning off with a walk and swiped second before a single by Ostrander allowed him to advance to third. A passed ball allowed Gardner to put the Bears ahead 1-0.
Sophomore pitcher Ryan Loutos held IWU off the board for the opening 4.1 innings of play before sophomore Troy Bauer took over. He totaled two innings pitched and was charged with the Titans run after walking a batter in the seventh inning that eventually scored to tie the game at 1-1.
Sophomore pitcher Mitchell Black nearly pitched around Bauer's walk but an unassisted putout at first base with the bases loaded allowed IWU to score on the throw home for an attempted double play.
Gardner once again sparked the Bears as he reached base with one out in the ninth inning on a dropped third strike. Freshman pinch hitter Brendan Hall drilled a ball into deep left field for a double. Freshman Tim Van Kirk pinch ran for Gardner and scored on a sacrifice fly ball to right field by sophomore third baseman Collin Kahal.
Black picked up the win, throwing 2.2 innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out two batters.
The Bears will host Illinois Wesleyan Sunday, March 24 at 11 a.m. The schedule was bumped up one hour due to rain in the forecast. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.