ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The baseball team kicked off its 2011 season with a road heartbreaker Tuesday, as they blew a late lead against Washington - St. Louis and lost 8-3 at Kenny Field. Though they were dealt the loss, GC looked good through seven innings and gave up only seven hits in the game.
Things looked promising early as Greenville jumped out to quick lead, scoring on sophomore Cole Lawson’s two-run double in the second inning. The Panthers would add another run in the inning and lead Washington University 3-0 after two.
However the theme of the day for the Panthers turned out to be a failure to capitalize. In the top of the third inning, Greenville's Kenny Trager hit what appeared to be an RBI double to left center field, but David Massengill failed to score on the play thanks to a crisp relay from centerfielder Kyle Billig to shortstop Greg Gleicher to catcher Joe Noon, who made the tag at the plate.
The Washington defense prevented another run in the fifth inning. Massengill was on second base and Justin Hubbard stood at first when Kenny Trager singled to centerfield. The Bear’s Billig made another heads up play and caught Hubbard taking too large a turn at second base and threw him out before Massengill came around to score.
Washington University's first baseman Matt Skinner caught fire at the plate late, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. His leadoff double in the sixth inning led to a run to make the score 3-2, and he tied the game with a base hit through the right side of the infield in the seventh inning. The Bears went on to record three runs in the seventh and eighth innings to put the game out of reach.
Leading GC at the plate in the losing effort was Trager. The sophomore went 2-for-2, with two walks and a double.
Greenville’s sophomore pitcher Derrick Reckmman had an impressive season-opening performance, going four innings and giving up only one run while striking out four. Senior Daniel Covert was charged with the loss, giving up two earned runs in three innings of work.
Senior Zach Cain picked up the win for Washington University, coming in for relief in the fifth inning and pitching four and one-third innings of scoreless baseball. He gave up just three hits and one walk with two strikeouts to halt the Panthers in the Bears' winning effort.
Greenville (0-1) next takes the diamond as they welcome defending NCAA Division III national champion Illinois Wesleyan for a Saturday afternoon doubleheader on March 5. The games will be played at Robert E. Smith Field with game one scheduled for 12 p.m. and game two starting at 2:30 p.m.