Bears lose 3 straight out of 4 on road trip

| Senior Sports Editor

Senior Remy Midkiff bats on March 27 against the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Despite a 12-3 record at home, the Washington University baseball team is just 3-8 away from Kelly Field after a woeful 1-3 road trip over the weekend against Beloit College and Webster University.

“We knew coming [into this weekend] Beloit and Webster were two of the better teams we were going to play, so we were trying to get geared up for this series,” pitcher Adam Merzel said. “We would obviously like a different result, but the only thing we can do from here is regroup, take it one game at a time and win every game we play.”

On Friday, the Bears split a doubleheader against Beloit. Starter Jeremy Rogoff took the mound in the first leg, but he ran into trouble, giving up seven earned runs in seven innings. However, he escaped with the win

The Red and Green offense started hot, picking up four runs in the first inning and then two in the second, but the Buccaneers slowly chipped away at the lead.

Up just 8-7 in the sixth inning, Beloit loaded the bases with one out. Rogoff forced third baseman Jordan Jaenicke to ground into a double play, and the Bears escaped the jam.

He then put the Buccaneers down in order in the seventh, picking up his sixth win on the season.

“[The win] wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t like my last two games, but what’s most important was getting the victory,” Rogoff added. “I had a pretty big adrenaline rush that last inning, and it worked out.”

In the second game of the doubleheader, it was the Buccaneers who took an early lead, taking a 4-0 lead after two innings. Starting pitcher Bryce Hrovat pitched just 3 1/3 innings, giving up two leadoff home runs and five earned runs.

Faced with a 5-2 deficit in the fifth inning, Wash. U. picked up three runs to tie the game. Mid-rally, head coach Ric Lessmann was ejected for arguing with the home plate umpire. After the ejection, juniors Travis May and Matt Bayer hit back-to-back RBI singles.

“The two singles right away were probably frustration with the umpires as much as seeing our coach support us and have faith that we would do the right thing there,” Bayer said. “It gave us a little bit of inspiration right away, but as the game went on, it kind of wore off, and it was kind of stressful without a coach in the dugout.”

Relief pitcher H.T. Flanagan struggled through the eighth inning. After throwing a wild pitch with the bases loaded, he gave up a three-run home run to Andrew Heer, his second of the day. The Buccaneers put nine runs on the board, winning the game 14-6.

“It’s been the same story all season,” Rogoff said. “If we don’t throw strikes and we don’t throw more than one pitch for a strike, we’re going to get hit.”

In the doubleheader against Webster on Saturday, the Bears were outscored 35-3 and never led in either game.

Merzel gave up five earned runs through 2 1/3 innings, as the Gorloks took a 6-0 lead after the third in the opener.

“Webster was one of the best hitting teams we’ve seen all year, and I know from a personal standpoint, I didn’t locate nearly as well as I should have,” Merzel said. “When you make mistakes against a good team, they capitalize.”

While the Bears got two back on Bayer’s RBI double in the fourth and Miguel Davis’ RBI sacrifice fly one inning later, Webster would score eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Reliever Michael Fletcher gave up seven earned runs in two innings, as the Bears lost 18-2.

In the nightcap, the Red and Green did not score until the sixth inning, putting one run on the board on another Bayer RBI double. It would not matter, as the Bears’ pitching staff gave up 17 runs in the loss, including seven in the fifth inning.

Wash. U. (15-11) travels to Greenville, Ill., on Saturday, April 10, to play a doubleheader against Greenville College (12-5). The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

“We can’t change what happened this weekend and we have an uphill battle ahead of us, but I still think we have a lot of potential to play hard the rest of the season,” Rogoff said.

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