Baseball: Pitchers dominate day, but Bears split twin bill

| Sports Editor

Junior Matt Skinner gets an Illinois Wesleyan player out in a 3-0 loss on March 20.

It’s been one week since the end of the University Athletic Association tournament, in which the Washington University baseball team had an earned run average of around 10.60, gave up 25 runs in a single game and struggled pitching-wise through each of the five games played.

If anything, the Bears’ pitching performances in Saturday’s doubleheader negates the troubles of the tournament. Wash. U. picked up a 9-0 victory over Benedictine University and a 3-0 loss to Illinois Wesleyan University.

In the first game of the doubleheader against Benedictine, senior starting pitcher Jeremy Rogoff was nearly unhittable. He pitched a complete game shutout, giving up only three hits while striking out 10 batters.

“It was probably the first time all year that I’ve been able to get all the pitches to work in one game, and I also think our defense really helped me a lot,” Rogoff said. “I was able to rely on them and just be confident that if I were to let them hit it, my defense was going to back me up.”

The Bears took advantage of a bases-loaded error in the third inning, getting on the scoreboard with two runs. Junior Miguel Davis’s RBI groundout in the fourth pushed the lead to three.

“When [Jeremy Rogoff] goes out there…we know that he’s going to shut down the opposition, so all we need to do is get a couple of runs,” junior Matt Bayer said. “That takes a lot of pressure off of us, which obviously makes it easier to hit.”

Six more runs came in the fifth inning, while on the other end, Rogoff’s dominance continued. He pitched four straight hitless innings to end the game, striking out the side in the eighth inning.

“I was able to really go after the bottom of their lineup, and I think that’s where I had a lot of my strikeouts,” Rogoff said.

Despite the loss against IWU in the second leg, starting pitcher David Liebman had a strong performance, giving up just two runs in eight innings.

Both teams were held scoreless until the seventh inning, in which the Titans pushed across a two-out RBI single. An RBI sacrifice fly in the next inning doubled the deficit to two runs.

“They caught a couple of breaks, and it worked out for them,” Liebman said.

Meanwhile, the Bears were shut down, picking up just two hits in the final three innings.

“It just seemed like any time that we hit the ball hard…any time we would get anybody on base, their pitcher would get a hard ground ball for a double play,” Bayer said. “A lot of it was just bad luck, bad timing, but their pitcher definitely threw a good game as well.”

The Bears were scheduled to play another doubleheader against Benedictine and Illinois Wesleyan on Sunday, but the games were cancelled because of rain.

“We obviously wanted another chance to play Illinois Wesleyan,” Bayer said. “At least in my three years here, we haven’t beat them yet. We want that good win against a good team, and it just seems like every year we’re that close.”

Washington University (9-6) hits the road to take on Illinois College for a doubleheader on March 23.

“[The wins] give us a lot of confidence going forward,” Rogoff said. “I just know that we have the ability to shut a lot of teams down, and we still haven’t completely put together that many games where our pitching, our defense and our hitting have all been at their best. That’s just something we need to work on as the season goes on, but it definitely helped us put [the tournament] out of our memories.”

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