Ichabods baseball open with Panthers

From the ashes Junior pitcher Brett Ash has compiled a 4-4 record this season with an ERA of 3.32. Last season, Ash had a 3.99 ERA with a 7-5 record.

Starting off the season on the right foot is important for any team. The Washburn baseball team is looking to start this season off stronger against Drury University, after being swept by the Panthers last season. Due to poor weather conditions, the Bods went into their opening series last season with little practice.

“We stepped out of a gym and essentially went and played. We didn’t hit well the whole weekend,” said Steve Anson, Washburn head baseball coach.

Senior third baseman/pitcher Tyler Bean also noticed a lapse in last year’s opener.

“We were dead. We were cold and came out flat,” said Bean.

This season, inadequate practice time can not be an excuse. A warm winter allowed Washburn to practice outside for a majority of the spring semester. Despite a recent muddy outfield, the Ichabods have been able to prepare for Drury on the diamond instead of in a gym. Last year, the Bods struggled to score runs, only posting six total runs in the three-game series. Lack of seeing live pitching was a major factor, but Bean said the Panthers pitching staff deserved some credit.

“They had a pretty good pitching staff,” said Bean. “But this year, our lineup is deeper. As far as it goes, we don’t have a hole in the lineup anywhere.”

The Ichabods lost 3-1, 9-3, and 10-2 last year against the Panthers, striking out a total of 27 times. Although two of the starters Washburn faced last year are gone, and only sophomore right-hander Will Landsheft is left, Anson said his team better be prepared to face some talented pitchers.

“We didn’t have a good approach to the plate as a team last year,” said Anson. “I don’t know who they have returning this year, but I expect to see some good arms”

The Bods return their ace, junior Brett Ash, who threw a solid game in the season-opener against Drury last year. Ash pitched six innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits. Ash will be on the mound for game one against the Panthers, who went 35-19 last season and are projected to finish second in the West in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Bean will also see time on the mound, when he is not playing third base.

“We’ve looked good and I think we’re ready to play,” said Anson. “We’re more prepared to go play this year than last year.”

The Ichabods will travel to Springfield, Mo., to face off with Drury Feb. 24 at Meador Park. The series will consist of four games, with a Saturday doubleheader.