Howard’s Gem Highlights Split with Illinois Wesleyan

Photo by Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photos
Photo by Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photos

St. Louis, Mo., March 25, 2018 – The Washington University in St. Louis baseball team salvaged its rain shortened weekend with a split against Illinois Wesleyan University by beating the Titans 8-1 in the second game after falling 6-1 in the opening game Sunday at Kelly Field.

The Bears are 11-7 following the split while Illinois Wesleyan exited the doubleheader with a 9-4 record on the season. Junior John Howard pitched complete game victory for WashU in the second game, throwing nine innings allowing one unearned run on six hits, no walks and six strikeouts.

Game 1: Illinois Wesleyan 6 – WashU 1

The Bears struck first as sophomore AJ Dunham's double to right field allowed junior Evan Nagel to score after reaching base with a leadoff single in the second inning. Dunham's drive sent the Titans to the bullpen as Nick Watson pitched out of the inning without an additional run crossing the plate.

Illinois Wesleyan answered with two runs in the top of the third. The Titans added three runs in the fifth inning on two hits, an error and a walk.

WashU had multiple runners reach base twice in the final six innings of play, but were unable to advance any Bears past second base.

Freshman Ryan Loutos was tagged with the loss while sophomore Matt Ashbaugh and Rees Viersen combined to throw 4.2 innings, allowing one run while striking out three in relief.

Game 2: WashU 8 – Illinois Wesleyan 1

A bunt single by sophomore Thomas Gardner loaded the bases following back-to-back walks by freshman Henry Singer and senior Auggie Mense in the first inning. Sophomore Brian Schutter knocked in the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly and freshman Mitchell Black made it a 2-0 WashU lead with a run scoring single.

Illinois Wesleyan scored its lone run in the top of the second following a leadoff single by Gino Cavalieri was aided by an error which allowed him to score on a hit by Ben Manski to cut the Bears lead in half, 2-1. The Bears struck back in the bottom half of the frame.

WashU scored four runs in the bottom of the second as Nagel, freshman Collin Kahal, Mense and Gardner were able to score. Gardner had the lone run scoring hit of the inning with a double to right center that plated Mense.

Singer's RBI single through the right side in the third inning to score Nagel with two outs. The Bears led 7-1 following the third inning.

Howard looked stronger as the game continued pitching three-up, three-down innings five times, including the final frame. He finished the game throwing 76-percent of his pitches for strikes while improving to 4-1 on the season.

Gardner, Black and Nagel each had multi-hit performances while Gardner increased his team-high hitting streak to 10-consecutive games. Gardner, Nagel and Kahal led the Bears with two runs scored apiece. Singer stole bases in both games upping his season total to seven which leads WashU.

Up next for the Bears is the opening weekend of University Athletic Association (UAA) play when WashU travels to New York University for a four-game series beginning Friday, March 30 at 3 p.m. (ET). Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.