Mixed results in away swing for Bears
For 12 straight games, the Washington University softball team (24-6) could not be beaten. Then came unlucky number 13, a 4-1 loss, against Division II Maryville University on Thursday night.
Co-captain senior Megan Fieser singled to start off the third inning before stealing second and tying the 58 steal career mark of Amanda Roberts (2002-’06). “Megan is very deserving of breaking any record because she’s put so much time and energy into the program,” head coach Leticia Pineda-Boute said. “She’s even gotten faster than her freshman year.” Hitchcock brought Fieser home with an RBI single to right field giving the Bears a 1-0 advantage.
Wash. U. had recorded two outs when two errors and a few hits gave the Saints a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third. “Defensively, we’ve been crumbling under pressure,” Pineda-Boute said. “When we’re facing good pitching, we can’t afford to make the errors we’re making and win a close game.”
The Saints turned up the heat in the seventh inning, adding two more runs. Wash. U. was poised to regain the upperhand with the bases loaded and with two outs, but Hitchcock’s pop-up ended the game.
The Bears split the next two games, ending this past weekend weekend on a sour note with a 3-1 loss to Illinois Wesleyan University.
“We’re definitely a team that’s not accustomed to losing,” Fieser said. “Having that loss is almost kind of good…it’s going to really motivate us.”
Illinois Wesleyan pitcher Christy Engel threw the Bears’ batters for a loop, giving up just four hits and one unearned run. “[Engel] had a very good drop ball, a type of pitch we haven’t seen a whole lot,” Fieser said. “We’re better hitters, but we weren’t making the adjustments.” There was plenty of solid contact that went straight to Titan fielders, according to Fieser.
No runs were scored till the sixth inning as both teams picked up a run. Junior Claire Voris had already recorded two outs in the seventh until the Titans scored after two Bears errors. The errors set up a bases loaded situation, but Voris retired the final batter. Wash. U.’s offense had nothing in reply as relief pitcher Lauren James struck out the side in the final inning.
In the first game of the IWU tournament, Wash. U. defeated Hope College 6-2. The offense produced 12 hits with three apiece from senior Ashton Hitchcock and sophomore Alyssa Abramoski. Hope struck first, picking up a run in the first and second inning. Voris tied the score with a two out two RBI to right field in the third inning. Hitchcock and Abramoski had RBI singles to add on the score in the fourth before the Bears scored two more runs off of two errors in the fifth.
“I’m just really happy that I’m hitting the ball. I hadn’t been hitting earlier in the season, and I just decided to simplify my approach,” Abramoski said. “I think that really helped.”
Wash. U. returns home for the next eight games. The Bears open with a doubleheader against NAIA opponent Harris-Stowe State University on Saturday at noon before closing out the weekend with another doubleheader against Fontbonne University starting at noon on Sunday.
“We really feel at home and I think we’ll be raring to go,” Fieser said.
With additional reporting by Alex Dropkin