St. Louis, Mo., May 19, 2019 – The No. 5-ranked Washington University in St. Louis baseball team concluded the 2019 season by clinching a program best 34th win to stave off elimination before falling in a heartbreaking comeback win by No. 17 Coe College Sunday afternoon at Kelly Field.
The Bears finished the year with a 34-7-1 record, as the 34 wins tie a previous record achieved in 2006 and 2015. Coe earned a trip to the NCAA Division III Super Regionals with the game two victory and improved to 36-6 on the year.
Game 1: WashU 10 – Coe 5
As was the case in the previous games of the Regional, WashU fell behind early but refused to give in. The Bears eclipsed a 2-0 Kohawks lead in the fifth inning with five runs of their own.
Freshman designated hitter Brendan Hall knocked in the first runs of the game for WashU, crushing the ball off the fence in deep left center. Sophomore left fielder Henry Singer and freshman shortstop Caleb Durbin scored the equalizing runs on the double by Hall.
Sophomore centerfielder Sean Robinson cashed in Hall with an infield single up the middle to give WashU a 3-2 edge. The Bears tacked on two more runs on a bases loaded walk by freshman right fielder Jackson Gray and a sharp line drive single by freshman catcher Zac Styka.
Junior pitcher Matt Ashbaugh held Coe at bay with a career-high seven innings pitched. He held the Kohawks to eight hits and five runs while striking out three batters. Ashbaugh improved to 7-0 on the year with the victory while senior pitcher John Howard picked up his first career save by pitching two perfect innings in relief.
WashU playing as the visitor during game one added runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Durbin hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Junior first baseman John Brinkman singled in Hall in the eighth and sophomore third baseman Collin Kahal doubled in two runs in the ninth before Robinson knocked him in with a single.
Robinson led the team with three hits. Brinkman, Gray, Durbin and Kahal all had multi-hit performances.
Game 2: Coe 4 – WashU 3
Sophomore pitcher Troy Bauer pitched a career-high five innings and held the Kohawks without an earned run on four hits and a walk. He also struck out five batters in the process before handing the ball over to sophomore Jared Fong in the sixth.
Unlike the previous games of the Regional, WashU claimed a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Bears scored on a single by Brinkman to capitalize on back-to-back walks to start the game by Robinson and senior second baseman Evan Nagel.
The 2-0 lead remained true until Coe scored its first run of the game in the fifth inning. The Kohawks run was unearned in the fifth and was also unearned in the sixth to tie the game at 2-all.
However, WashU answered back quickly to take a one-run advantage again in the bottom half of the sixth. Brinkman doubled to start the inning off before Gray singled up the middle, allowing Brinkman to beat the throw from centerfield.
Fong held the Kohawks in check for the next two frames while striking out a pair of batters in three total innings pitched. Howard took over the ninth, pitching for the third time overall during the Regional, and second time of the day. He nearly clinched his second consecutive save in just his second relief appearance of the year, but Coe's Riley LeGrand drove a 3-2 pitch to deep centerfield for a lead changing home run.
WashU who had shown resiliency in rallying from multiple games this Regional faced off against the Kohawks shortstop/closer TJ Johnson in the ninth. Johnson surrendered his first run of the season against the Bears during Saturday's action.
Hall led things off with a pinch hit to left field and was pinch ran for by freshman Tim Van Kirk. He reached second base on a sacrifice bunt by Robinson that nearly was a hit as the ball hugged the first base line. Nagel walked for the second time but the Bears were unable to extend the game further falling 4-3.