ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Despite holding a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, a string of Panther miscues allowed the Bears of WUSTL to eek out a close 6-5 win on Tuesday afternoon at Kelly Field.
Washington University took advantage of four walks, a wild pitch and two key hits to score four runs in the bottom of the final frame. In spite of the loss, the Black & Orange posted an impressive early season showing in the clubs tightly contested season opener. Sophomore lefty Cody Hinterscher controlled much of the game’s action from the GC mound, tossing a six-inning, three hit gem to place the Panthers in prime position for the win.
At the plate it was newcomer Ryan Smith who headlined the Panther’s efforts. The freshman first baseman went 2-for-3 with four RBI and a run scored, and also delivered a clutch ninth-inning homer that towered over the left-center wall.
After falling behind 2-0 after two, Greenville cut the lead to 2-1 with a run on a pair of singles in the top of the fifth. In the following inning, the Panthers took the lead, 4-2, when Smith hit a three-RBI double to deep left-center field with two outs. Greenville was threatening to add to its lead in the top of the eighth inning when the Panthers’ first three batters reached base.
With the bases loaded and no outs, GC freshman Tyler Pilcher hit a line drive to first base. In what proved to be the most important play of the contest, the Bear first baseman then stepped on bag for the second out and gunned the ball to third for a triple play. Smith struck again for Greenville in the top of the ninth with a leadoff homerun over the left-center field fence to give the Panthers a 5-2 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Washington University took advantage of four walks, a wild pitch and two key hits to score four runs in the bottom of the final frame and hand GC the 6-5 defeat.
Greenville tallied six hits, but was hurt by the 10 walks issued as well as three errors. Freshman hurler Brian Cizek picked up the win for Washington U., allowing one earned run and striking out one in an inning of relief. Greenville College lefty and sophomore Tyler Mitchell was charged the loss.
“Despite the tough loss, it was nice to see our bats come out early in the season,” commented third-year assistant coach Dan Marsh. “Our freshman stepped right into the lineup and contributed well. That is a good sign for things to come in 2012.”
Greenville College baseball will next take to the diamond on Friday, March 2 when the Panthers welcome Dubuque to Robert E. Smith Field for an afternoon double-dip starting at 3:00 pm.