St. Louis, Mo., April 20, 2018 – The Washington University in St. Louis baseball offense supported junior John Howard's masterpiece on the mound as the Bears claimed a 6-1 victory over University Athletic Association (UAA) foe and No. 10-ranked Case Western Reserve University Friday afternoon at Kelly Field.
WashU improved to 16-12 overall and 5-4 in UAA play while dropping the Spartans to 23-5 and 10-3 in the UAA. The Bears also evened its record to 3-3 on the season against top-25 ranked opponents. WashU's strength of schedule jumped up seven spots to third in the country at .597.
Despite surrendering the first run Howard settled into a groove, throwing eight total innings surrendering six hits and one walk while striking out seven batters. He struck out the side in the fourth inning.
The Bears had three relative quick innings at the plate before opening things up in the fourth with four runs. Junior Evan Nagel's leadoff single got things started as his hustle allowed him to reach second base as the leftfielder bobbled the ball. Sophomore John Brinkman followed with a single through the left side and two batters later sophomore John Ostrander cashed in the equalizer with an infield single.
Freshmen Henry Singer loaded the bases with a line drive to right field before classmate Johnny LaMantia cleared the bases with a deep drive to left field for a triple. LaMantia's triple pushed the Bears ahead 4-1.
WashU added a run each in the fifth and sixth innings. Brinkman knocked in senior Auggie Mense with a single in the fifth, while sophomore Brian Schutter's sacrifice bunt scored Singer in the sixth to extend WashU's lead to 6-1.
The Spartans continued to fight with hits in the seventh through ninth innings. Freshman Collin Kahal helped erase a leadoff single in the seventh by initiating a double play. Mense caught a low flying line drive in right field before doubling up the runner on second to end the top of the eighth inning.
Brinkman pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth to close out the victory including an inning ending strikeout.
Howard improved to 5-3 on the season while maintaining a sub-1.00 earned run average for the season. He currently has a 0.99 mark which lowered his career-ERA to 2.19 which ranks fifth in school history.
The Bears and Spartans will face off tomorrow in a doubleheader beginning at Noon, as WashU will attempt to set an attendance record at Irv Utz Stadium. Free hot dogs will be available for fans, as well as concessions and multiple chances for students to win St. Louis Cardinals tickets in a raffle. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.