Baseball records 4-0 weekend behind strong hitting, timely pitching

| Staff Reporter

A 15-run inning, an inside-the-park bunt home run and a walk-off single were just a few of the unusual moments in a four-win weekend for the Washington University baseball team.

The Bears began the weekend with a whopping 21-2 victory against Greenville College on Friday before defeating Fontbonne University 2-1 and 13-3, respectively, in a Saturday doubleheader. To complete the spotless weekend, Wash. U. trounced Iowa Wesleyan University 15-5 on Sunday.

Brad Margolin pitches in the Bears’ game against Fontbonne University on Saturday afternoon. Margolin only gave up one hit on nine innings pitched in nine innings.

Brad Margolin pitches in the Bears’ game against Fontbonne University on Saturday afternoon. Margolin only gave up one hit on nine innings pitched in nine innings.

“Top to bottom, everyone is hitting the ball really well. We’re barreling baseballs, we’re getting guys [on base] and we’re finally hitting with some power which we haven’t done up until this point, but this weekend we kind of broke out of that shell,” senior Max Golembo said.

In their only road game of the weekend, the Bears belted 11 hits in a 15-run fourth inning to break open a 2-2 tie against Greenville. Junior Ben Browdy (4-for-4, four RBIs) smacked an RBI triple and a three-run double in the inning as he fell just a home run shy of the cycle for the game.

On the mound, senior Julian Clarke (3-3, 4.46 ERA) secured the victory after allowing two earned runs on four hits in four innings of work before being taken out with the game well in hand.

Back at the friendly confines of Kelly Field, the Bears offense took a short break in the middle of a high octane weekend. Fontbonne pulled ahead 1-0 as the Red and Green produced just two hits in the first five innings. But junior Austin Darmawan got the Bears on the scoreboard with a little bit of luck and a whole lot of speed. After successfully reaching on a bunt single, Darmawan took advantage of two throwing errors to come all the way around to score in an inside-the-park homerun.

The game remained in a 1-1 deadlock until the bottom of the ninth. Sophomore Conor O’Hara belted a leadoff single and senior Kyle Kozak drew a walk to put two runners on base with nobody out. Junior Spencer Egly laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and Darmawan was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Golembo then delivered a walk-off single into center field to give the Bears a 2-1 victory.

While Golembo may have provided the game-winning hit, junior Brad Margolin (4-1, 3.81 ERA) fired a complete-game one-hitter on the mound and retired the final 22 batters in a row to put the Bears in position to win. Margolin allowed one unearned run, notched nine strikeouts and didn’t allow a walk, all in an efficient 98-pitch performance.

It was a bounce back start for Margolin, who allowed 11 earned runs in 13 innings in his previous two starts. To try to reverse course, Margolin focused on hitting his spots and keeping the arm slot the same for his slider and his fastball in order to baffle hitters at the plate.

“Obviously the results were pretty great to have, but, I mean, having the outings before kind of made me work a little bit harder and try to throw a little bit better in my bullpen work building up to this game,” Margolin said. “My slider was sharper than it had been in the past couple games and I was spotting it up pretty well.”

For head coach Pat Bloom, Margolin’s start was exactly what the Bears needed after the pitching staff allowed 31 total runs in three games to Grinnell College last weekend.

“He was in total command all day, and we really needed that because as a pitching staff we’ve been underperforming relative to our ability lately,” Bloom said. “It takes high-end, quality starts from our veteran arms like Brad [Margolin] to be able to help us get on the right track.”

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Bears fell behind 3-1 heading into the bottom of the third inning. Unlike the earlier game, however, the Red and Green’s offense exploded, scoring one run in the third and fourth runs in the fourth to build a 6-3 lead. The Bears added four runs on three hits in the sixth inning to put the game away as they nabbed a 13-3 victory.

Overall, Wash. U. clubbed 16 hits behind a balanced offensive attack, with nine players recording at least one hit. Meanwhile, junior Scott Nelson (4-4, 4.91 ERA) pitched the second complete-game of the day for the Bears, conceding just four hits and one walk while firing seven strikeouts.

On Sunday afternoon, the Bears maintained the momentum on offense with a 17-hit performance as part of a dominant 15-5 win over Iowa Wesleyan. Browdy continued his torrid stretch of hitting with two three-run homers and eight RBIs to add to his team-leading 51 RBIs this season. The power surge wasn’t limited to Browdy, however, as junior Tate Maider connected on a solo homerun, his third of the season.

After posting four consecutive wins this weekend, the Bears improved their record to 20-11. Next up for the Red and Green is a road game at Webster University on Tuesday before a three-game series at home against the University of Chicago.

Additional reporting by Aaron Brezel.

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