St. Louis, Mo., April 9, 2014 – A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning by freshman CJ Price lifted the Washington University in St. Louis baseball team to a 3-2 walkoff win over No. 11-ranked Birmingham-Southern College Wednesday afternoon at Kelly Field.
With the score tied 2-2, senior Kyle Billig led off the bottom of the ninth for the Bears with a single up the middle. Billig was caught stealing on the next pitch, but junior Brandon Deger singled through the left side to put the winning run on base for Washington U. Senior Dylan Reid pinch ran for Deger and junior Andrew Goldstick hit a soft grounder to Birmingham-Southern's shortstop Evan Grovenstein, but his throw to second went into right field and Reid advanced to third on the error. After sophomore Max Golembo was intentionally walked to load the bases, Price ran the count full before driving a fly ball to left-center field. Reid tagged at third and easily beat the throw to score the game-winning run for the Bears.
Birmingham-Southern struck first in the game with a leadoff single that came around to score on another single before the Bears turned a double play to end the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the third, Golembo stroked a one-out single up the middle and stole second. Junior Chris Lowery singled to shortstop to move Golembo to third, and junior Zack Kessinger followed with a two-out single through the right side to tie the game at 1-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, Deger roped a triple off the middle of the left-center field fence with two outs. Goldstick took the first pitch he saw and lined a double over the third baseman's head to put Washington U. ahead 2-1. Birmingham-Southern got the bases loaded with one out in the top of the fifth, but junior starter Dom Quaranta got a popup and a grounder back to the mound to get out of the inning unscathed. In the top of the sixth, the Panthers again loaded the bases, but a flyout to right field ended the inning and kept the score 2-1 in favor of the Bears.
The Panthers got their first two batters on board with a single and a double in the top of the seventh inning, before Quaranta was replaced by freshman Nick Gollin. Gollin gave up a sacrifice fly that tied the game, but got another flyout to center field and Billig made a perfect throw to sophomore catcher Kyle Kozak who tagged the potential go-ahead run at the plate to end the inning. Gollin retired the next six batters he faced to keep the score 2-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth inning.
Birmingham-Southern outhit the Bears 11-10 in the game, and both teams left nine baserunners stranded. Golembo, Lowery, Billig and Deger each finished 2-for-4 at the plate for Washington U. Goldstick and Kessinger had the other two hits for the Bears, and each accounted for an RBI. Quaranta pitched six strong innings, scattering 11 hits and allowed two runs, while striking out three. Gollin (3-1) picked up the win for the Bears with one strikeout in three shutout innings of relief.
Washington University (12-14) and Birmingham-Southern (25-7) square off in another game at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 10. It will be the 14th straight home game for the Bears, who then travel to Iowa Wesleyan College Tuesday, April 15.
Bear Notebook: It was the third walkoff win for the Bears this season … Washington U. improved to 8-4 this season when recording double-digit hits … Billig made his 150th career start for the Bears, and is tied for sixth with Andy Shields (2004-07) on Washington U.'s career games played list … Billig's two hits brought his career total to 180, which is tied for fourth with Zander Lehmann (2006-09) on the WUSTL career leaderboard… Golembo has reached base in all 26 games this season … Deger extended his hitting streak to nine games.