Baseball shuts down Augustana for sweep

| Sports Editor

As the Washington University baseball team enters the toughest part of its schedule, it continues to fire on all cylinders. The Bears beat Augustana College 4-2 and 6-2 Friday at Kelly Field, making it six straight victories for the team following an 0-2 start to the season.

Augustana had averaged 9.9 runs per game prior to Friday’s action, scoring fewer than seven runs just once all season. On Friday afternoon, however, Wash. U.’s pitching, which has allowed just eight runs over the six-game winning streak, had the upper hand.

There is an old baseball proverb that states that if hitting is timing, pitching is upsetting timing. Wash. U.’s starting pitchers, senior Julian Clarke and junior Brad Margolin used that notion to hold Augustana to a season-low two runs—twice.

“I thought [Clarke] and [Margolin] did a nice job of keeping them off-balance,” head coach Pat Bloom said. “I thought they used the breaking stuff effectively; [they] were able to work inside a little bit, and I think we stayed away from some of their power.”

Clarke started the first game, allowing just three hits over a complete game effort. He was perfect through 3 2/3 innings, and only ran into trouble in the sixth inning. After the leadoff hitter reached and advanced to second on an error by junior left fielder Scott Nelson, Clarke walked the next hitter. A sacrifice bunt put a pair in scoring position for the Vikings, but Clarke then got a big strikeout, one of just three on the day. Unfortunately for the Bears, Clarke could not get out of the inning unscathed, allowing a two-run single and relinquishing the lead. Both runs were unearned.

Clarke would recover to retire the last 10 Vikings in a row to end the game.

Junior second baseman Ben Browdy delivered the big blow for the Bears, a bases-clearing two-out double after an Augustana error loaded the bases and extended the bottom of the seventh inning.

In the second game, Margolin delivered six innings of two-run ball before junior relief pitcher Matt Clohisy and Nelson closed the door, combining for five strikeouts over the final three frames. The offense was active, scoring six runs spread across five separate innings.

Most of the offensive activity on Friday, however, came from the top of the lineup: junior shortstop Austin Darmawan and senior center fielder Max Golembo each had a pair of multi-hit games, and Browdy had five runs batted in. Each member of the middle of the lineup, junior first baseman Tate Maider, junior third baseman Spencer Egly, and sophomore right fielder Conor O’Hara, picked up a hit in the second game.

Notably absent in the second game’s lineup was junior designated hitter Christian Santos, who struck out three times in the first game. Bloom made it clear that his hitters will need to make adjustments in order to have competitive at-bats.

“I think with any of our guys, they have to go out, and they know they have to go and put out good hitting approaches at-bat to at-bat,” Bloom said. “It isn’t about going out and getting hits or not striking out, it’s more of the process of the approach, and if we see guys not adjusting their approach from at-bat one through at-bat three or four, then we’re going to try to find somebody else who’s going to give us an opportunity there with a better approach.”

Bloom expects to continue experimenting with lineups, especially the bottom third, until he finds a group that sticks.

“I’m not [the] type of coach who necessarily has to stick with one lineup,” Bloom said. “We’re going to continue to adjust our personnel as need be to give us the greatest matchup opportunities and [the greatest] chance to win that particular ball game.”

In Florida, the Bears will take part in the round robin University Athletic Association Championship. Their winning streak ended with a 3-1 loss to No. 3 Emory University Sunday.

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