What you missed from a full weekend of spring sports
This weekend represented the most full days of Washington University sports in more than a year, with four different teams of Bears in action. The baseball team swept the University of Dubuque in a doubleheader Saturday, softball dropped two blowouts to Wartburg College, golf freshman Caraline Oakley won her first college tournament and the men’s tennis team returned to the courts in a nail-biter against Division I University of Memphis.
Here’s what you need to know about the weekend in Wash. U. sports.
Baseball sweeps doubleheader from Dubuque to rise to no. 3 nationally
Last season, the Wash. U. baseball team was briefly ranked No. 1 in the country. The Bears’ assortment of ace pitchers and solid lineup made them a terror for opponents. This season, through five games, it appears that nothing has changed. They remain undefeated after a road trip to the University of Dubuque this weekend where they won both games of a doubleheader, 7-0 and 10-2, and have risen to No. 3 in the national Division III baseball rankings.
The pitching staff—which has been extraordinary with such regularity, it’s starting to feel ordinary—allowed only five hits on the afternoon. In game one, through seven innings, senior Ryan Loutos allowed two hits against 12 strikeouts before senior Jared Fong entered to close the game. Game two was a similar story. Senior Troy Bauer allowed a home run in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2, but the Bears didn’t allow another run and they put up eight more of their own. All five pitchers for the Bears on Saturday were seniors. The services of a number of talented junior and underclassman arms were not required.
“We’re just so deep and so experienced,” Loutos said. “You know whoever you put out there, you can trust them to go shut a team down, no matter who they are. We never really feel like we’re out of a game. Even if we do give up three runs, I feel pretty good that we’re going to hold them there. It’s just fun.”
On the flip side, the Bears’ batters lit up their opponent. The Red and Green put up 12 hits in the first game and 14 in the second. Junior Tim Van Kirk drove in four runs while going 3 for 5 at the plate in the second game.
“It’s been nice my first few starts, pitching well and then also getting good run support behind me,” Loutos said. “It just makes all the pitchers’ lives easier. It’s so much easier to pitch with a lead. It’s so good to see our offense take care of business this year.”
The Bears will play a double header against Cornell College on Friday before playing a three-game series against DePauw University—home of beloved former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White—on Saturday and Sunday.
Softball falls in twin blowouts to no. 20 Wartburg
The softball team failed to score over 12 innings of play in a Saturday doubleheader against No. 20 Wartburg and dropped the two games, 9-0 and 10-0. The two losses bring the Bears to 2-5 on the young season.
Wartburg showcased its top-25 status throughout the doubleheader. Each Knights pitcher tossed a complete game and Wartburg held Wash. U. to just three hits overall, lowering the Wartburg staff earned run average to just 1.42 on the season. The games were just the fourth and fifth time in the last three seasons that opponents have kept the Bears scoreless.
Things started well for Wash. U. on the mound, too, as pitcher junior Madison Denton held the Knights scoreless through the first four innings of the first game, but the Bears eventually faltered. Wartburg’s pair of one-out singles in the fifth set the table for a six-run frame that quickly left the Bears in the dust. The Knights then added three more runs in the sixth to put the finishing touches on the victory.
The second game was much of the same. Junior Katie Gould led off the home first for the Bears with a single and sophomore Payton Irwin doubled in the second inning, but Wash. U. could not convert those hits to runs. The Bears did not reach base again for the rest of the afternoon. Wash. U. committed four errors and three different Knights had multi-hit games, as they piled on in the late innings to secure another big win.
“I think it’s great to play good teams because you want to compete against the best all the time,” head coach Michelle Venturella said Monday. “That is how you’re going to get better, when you’re facing an opponent and they’re challenging your defense to see if you’re thinking the game the way you should. We are trying to play the game a certain way, and we’re not doing it yet.”
Venturella noted that it has been hard to get effective practice time in the early season, though she said many teams have faced those same constraints. “I think a lot of teams have [faced limitations], which is why we don’t really harp on it,” she said, “but we do value practice. We do value the team being together for practices, and that has been a struggle.”
Despite the losses, Venturella was optimistic about what is to come for the Bears. “There’s no doubt that we’re continuing to learn every time out there,” she said. Wash. U. will take on Westminster College in two games Sunday that will serve as a rematch of last Wednesday’s doubleheader, which the Bears and the Blue Jays split.
Golf freshman wins tournament
Freshman Caraline Oakley won her first collegiate tournament this weekend at Millikin University. By day one, she was already four strokes ahead of the competition. Oakley was the only Bear in action this weekend. Later this month, Wash. U. is set to host their own tournament.
Men’s tennis falls to Division I University of Memphis
After more than a year without competitions, the Washington University men’s tennis team was back in action Sunday, as the Bears lost their season opener to the Division I University of Memphis, 4-3.
Graduate student Scott Altmeyer, who played three seasons at Colby College before joining Wash. U. this year, partnered with sophomore Abhi Ramireddy to win the first doubles match. Yet the Bears could not maintain the lead. Junior Ethan Hillis and freshman Gaurav Singh also won their doubles match, but the Bears dropped four of the six singles matches to lose the day. They will return to the courts with a match 2 p.m. Saturday against DePauw University at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park.
Associate Editor Matthew Friedman contributed research.
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