ST. LOUIS -- Washington (Mo.) used a five-run third inning to jump out to a 7-2 lead before holding on for an 8-7 win against No. 11-ranked Birmingham-Southern on Thursday afternoon at Kelly Field.
The win gave Washington U. a sweep of the two games against the Panthers. The Bears improved to 13-14 with the win, while Birmingham-Southern fell to 25-8 after dropping back-to-back games for the first time this season.
The Bears got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Kyle Kozak singled to center field with one out. After running the count full, senior Kyle Billig roped a single through the right side to move Kozak to third. Billig stole second, and junior Brandon Deger lined a full-count pitch to left-center field for a two-RBI single to put the Bears ahead 2-0. Junior Andrew Goldstick lined a shot down the third-base line, but Birmingham-Southern's Matt Brown made a cross-body diving catch for the second out. Sophomore Max Golembo hit a two-out double to right-center to put runners on second and third for Washington U., but a strikeout ended the inning.
Birmingham-Southern answered in the top of the third with four consecutive one-out singles to tie the game at 2-2. With runners on first and second, graduate student Stephen Bonser caught a liner back at him and threw to second for the double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, the Bears batted through the order to score five runs on five hits. Juniors Chris Lowery and Zack Kessinger hit back-to-back singles to start the inning, and senior Andrew Dwoskin drew a walk to load the bases. Kozak hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Lowery and moved Kessinger to third. Billig was hit by a pitch to again load the bases, and Deger hit a sac fly to center field. Goldstick hit a two-out RBI-single up the middle to make the score 5-2. Golembo followed with his second double of the game to drive in Billig, and Goldstick scored on the throw to put the Bears ahead 7-2. Price lined a single to left field, but Golembo was thrown out at home to end the inning.
The Panthers got the bases loaded with no outs in the top of the fourth, but were limited to just one run to trim the Bears' lead to 7-3. In the next inning, Birmingham-Southern got three-straight two-out singles to score two runs and make the score 7-5. Junior Kunal Patel came in to pitch after Bonser was hit in the shin by a come-backer, and got a fielder's choice to end the inning as Birmingham-Southern left the bases loaded. The Panthers made it a one-run game in the top of the seventh, scoring a run and loading the bases with one out, but the Bears turned a double play to keep their 7-6 lead.
Lowery led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple down the right-field line. Dwoskin hit a one-out single through the left side to give the Bears an 8-6 lead, but Birmingham-Southern got a fielder's choice and a groundout to get out of the inning as Washington U. left two runners in scoring position. In the top of the eighth, the Panthers got runners on second and third with one out after a hit by pitch and a double, but freshman Scott Nelson got a flyout and a foul popup to end the inning. The Panthers got runners on the corners with back-to-back singles in the top of the ninth, before freshman Brad Margolin came in to pitch for the Bears. The first batter he faced hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to make the score 8-7, but Margolin got back-to-back strikeouts of the Panthers' fourth and fifth batters to end the game and seal the win for Washington U.
Birmingham-Southern finished with a season-high 20 hits, just one for extra bases, but left 16 baserunners stranded in the game. Washington U. tallied 14 hits, including at least one by all nine players who batted. Golembo finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and an RBI. Lowery was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Kessinger also went 2-for-4 with one run, while Price was 2-for-5. Deger finished 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and a game-high three RBI.
Bonser went 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on 12 hits in his seventh start of the season. Patel (2-1) picked up the win giving up two hits in 1.1 innings of relief. Freshman Nick Gollin and Nelson each allowed one run on three hits in one inning of work. Margolin earned his third save of the season with his scoreless ninth inning.