Bears sweep key weekend over ranked opponents
Just seven days ago, the Washington University baseball team was reeling after three straight losses to open its 2012 season, including a 22-9 blowout. This past weekend, against visiting No. 16 Buena Vista University and No. 13 College of St. Scholastica, the Bears showed that those losses are far behind them.
“Some teams would’ve been discouraged losing the kind of games that we lost last weekend; this team knew that we would perform better, they knew we were talented, they had confidence, and we came in against teams that not many people would’ve expected us to beat,” head coach Steve Duncan said. “We played confidently, we played passionately, we played aggressively, and I think our aggressive style of play puts a lot of pressure on the opposing teams, and these teams weren’t able to handle it.”
Wash. U. won all four games, two against each team, to improve to 5-3 on the season. The Bears outscored their opponents 52 to 32, highlighted by a 20-9 win over Buena Vista on Friday, and combined to hit .404 (59 of 146) over the weekend.
“We hit the ball extremely well, and we played with a lot of confidence. We were unfazed from last weekend’s performances—we knew we’d figure it out—but we had some guys step up in a major way and some young players step up,” Duncan said. “I was looking at the stats from the weekend, and it was hard to pick one guy [that made the difference] because there were so many guys that had outstanding weekends.”
In Saturday’s game against St. Scholastica, with the score knotted at eight in the bottom of the eighth and the bases loaded, junior catcher David Madson doubled down the right-field line to bring all three runners in. Madson’s clutch hit would prove to be decisive as Wash. U. held on to win 11-8.
“It was pretty unreal how we were able to answer everything that these guys threw at us. We were never intimidated or nervous or anything like that,” sophomore designated hitter Andrew Dwoskin said. “Everyone knew their role and played it perfectly this weekend.”
Dwoskin had eight RBIs this weekend, including four in Friday’s win, and two hits in each game to add to his .448 batting average on the season.
All weekend, it seemed that each time the visiting team would strike for a big inning, the Bears would fire right back with a big inning of their own.
“Coming in after an inning where you give up a run is a downer, so to strike back really quickly shows a lot about our hitters and a lot about our team that we’re able to respond like that,” junior starting pitcher Taylor Berman said. Berman pitched five innings on Saturday against Scholastica and gave up three earned runs.
Sunday’s 7-5 close win over St. Scholastica was the team’s fifth straight, all against regional opponents. With two more regional games this week at home, on Tuesday against Fontbonne University and on Wednesday against Westminster College, the Bears have the chance to go 7-0 in-region before heading to Florida for their annual conference tournament.
“I don’t think we’re so excited about Florida that we’ll look past the games this week. I think we will be ready to play on Tuesday,” Duncan said.
First pitch against Fontbonne is scheduled at 3 p.m.
“It seems like the momentum has come full circle from last weekend…Right now, everyone’s just really confident going forward and excited to see what we can do the rest of the way,” Berman said.