March 23, 2013

Washington U. Baseball Sweeps St. Norbert, No. 24 Illinois Wesleyan

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St. Louis, Mo., March 23, 2013 – Behind strong pitching performances by seniors Matt Tracy and Stephen Bonser, the Washington University in St. Louis baseball team earned wins over St. Norbert College and No. 24-ranked Illinois Wesleyan University Saturday afternoon at Kelly Field. The Bears battled to a 1-0 win over St. Norbert before earning a 6-3 victory over the Titans.

Washington U. improved to 12-6 on the season with the wins. St. Norbert, who lost to Illinois Wesleyan 2-1 in the first game of the day Saturday, dropped to 7-4, while IWU also ended the weekend with a 7-4 record. The Bears return to action with a doubleheader against Grinnell College beginning at Noon Friday, March 29, at Kelly Field.

Washington U. 1, St. Norbert 0
Tracy (2-2) scattered six hits and recorded four strikeouts to earn the complete-game shutout victory for the Bears in their first game of the day. The Green Knights' best opportunity to score came in the top of the seventh, when they got the bases loaded with one out after a double, a hit-by-pitch and a walk. Tracy got out of the jam with a called strikeout of Nick Dagneau, followed by a ground ball hit to sophomore shortstop Andrew Goldstick.

Offensively, the Bears were limited to six hits in the game, but took advantage of a critical one-out error in the bottom of the eighth to score the game's only run. Sophomore Brandon Deger delivered a one-out single up the middle to start the rally for Washington U., before senior Alan Komorowski pinch ran for him. Komorowski advanced to third when St. Norbert catcher Jose Godinez sailed a ball over the first baseman on a throw down to first. After sophomore Noah Doppelt drew a walk, Goldstick recorded his second hit of the game, a single through the left side to score Komorowski. A double play ended the inning for the Bears, but Tracy sealed the win with a pair of groundouts and a foul out in the ninth.

Washington U. 6, #24 Illinois Wesleyan 3
In the second game of the day, the Bears scored a pair of runs on four hits and an error in the bottom of the second to take an early lead. Sophomore Brian Cizek, Deger and Doppelt hit three-straight singles to open the inning, before Goldstick singled to shallow right-center field to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. Doppelt came around to score when IWU catcher A.J. Nathan muffed a throw to first trying to turn a double play on a bunt by freshman Max Golembo.

The score remained 2-0 in favor of Washington U. until Illinois Wesleyan scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game. The Bears answered in the bottom of the inning with four runs on five hits to regain a 6-2 lead. Senior David Madson led off with a single through the left side. Golembo, junior Kyle Billig and sophomore Chris Lowery hit three-straight one-out singles. Freshman Kyle Kozak reached on a fielder's choice that scored Golembo. After Cizek drew a two-out walk, Deger delivered a two-RBI single to center field to push the Washington U. lead to four runs.

Illinois Wesleyan got the bases loaded with one out in the top of the eighth on a hit-by-pitch, a walk and a single. Bonser pitched out of the jam with a pop up and a fly out to preserve the 6-2 lead. In the top of the ninth, the Titans loaded the bases on back-to-back singles and a walk. Senior Ryan Furtick got Nathan to hit into a double play to Lowery at third base. IWU scored a run on the play and drew a walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but a fly out to Golembo in right field ended the game.

Bonser (4-1) scattered 10 hits and allowed just two unearned runs in eight innings of work, while recording two strikeouts. Furtick closed the game for the Bears, allowing one run on two hits and two walks in the ninth inning. Both teams finished with 12 hits in the game. Eight players recorded hits for Washington U. in the game, including two each by Billig, Lowery, Deger and Madson.

Bear Notebook: Washington U.'s 12 hits against Illinois Wesleyan gave the Bears 11 double-digit hit games this season … Billig's run scored against Illinois Wesleyan moved him into a tie for eighth on the Washington University career runs list with Brandon Rogalski (124) … The win for Bonser was the 16th in his three-year career at Washington U., one shy of entering the Bears' all-time top-10 career wins list … Prior to walking IWU's Bobby Czarnowski in the eighth inning, Bonser had thrown 40-straight innings without issuing a walk … Billig recorded hits in both games, bringing his hitting streak to eight games … Lowery has had 11 multiple-hit games for Washington U. this season … Goldstick and Lowery have each reached base in their last 11 games in a row.