Baseball rocked by Emory

| Sports Editor

Sophomore Brandon Buday hits a ball during a game against Brandeis early this season. (Ella Giere | Student Life.)

The Washington University baseball team was looking for revenge as it prepared for last weekend’s series against Emory. Last season, the team was swept by the UAA champions, but this year the Bears have been like a completely different team. As the squad headed off to Atlanta to face the first-place Eagles, spirits were high — on the field, everything was clicking. A strong performance would not only take the division lead but more importantly, put the Bears in a good position for an at-large playoff bid. Postseason baseball was within reach.

When the Bears entered the eighth inning of the series opening game on Friday up 4-1, the series seemed to be within their grasp. But a resurgent Emory team piled on four runs in the final two innings to knot the game at 5. 

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, runners on second and third, and junior Clayton Miller on the mound the Bears were nearly able to escape the jam. A diving play by third baseman Harry Maurater took away what would have been a game winning single, but the long throw moved first baseman Jack Miller just enough off the bag for the runner to reach base. As the winning run scored, Emory stormed the field.

The Bears were never able to regain their composure. By the end of the weekend, the team looked like a shell of the squad that had won 10 of their last 11 games entering the series. After a 14-9 loss in the second game, the Bears were mercy-ruled on Saturday afternoon and shutout on Sunday. It was a disappointing series for a team that had such high expectations.

WashU’s pitching staff, which had been so consistent in recent weeks, was rocked for 39 runs in 34 innings of play. After a quality start from graduate student Matt Lopes in game one (6 innings, 1 earned run), the Bears three other starters — sophomores Will Henkel and Sebastian Guzman, and first-years Miles Quemuel-Labrador — each struggled on the mound. The squads’ hot bats also seemed to fall cold at the wrong times all weekend long, leaving 36 runners on base over the course of the series. 

Despite a poor showing and disappointing end to league play, the future remains bright for the Bears. Freshman Shane Pelligrino continued to rake all weekend, adding 8 hits and 5 runs. Pellegrino now leads the team with a stellar .371 batting average and .971 OPS. Sophomores Braden Mazone and Brandon Buday also continued to hit well for WashU — both will continue to contribute to winning Bears squads for years to come.

The Bears are now 25-12 and wrap up UAA play at 9-7. After beating/losing to Webster at home Wednesday night, their final set will be a double-header at the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa on Sunday.

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