Baseball team struggling through toughest part of MIAA schedule

Washburn’s baseball team has fallen on hard times in the 2009 season, going 2-6 in their last eight games against top MIAA teams like Emporia State and Missouri Southern. The Bods have been outscored 20-3 in the last three outings.

Eric Smith

The Washburn baseball team played eight conference games last week, and, well, let’s just say they didn’t have their best stuff.

Going 2-6, the Ichabods were outscored 65-32 and outhit 97-53. They lost three out of four at home to Missouri Southern, split a doubleheader at Fort Hays State and lost two against Emporia.

“We played hard,” said Thomas Holiday. “We just didn’t get the job done. That’s the only thing. It’s no excuse.”

The losses, which moved WU to 14-16 overall and 8-10 in conference, knocked the team from fourth to sixth in the MIAA.

While the Bods’ most recent competition was against three of the five top MIAA teams, Joel Ricketts, WU starting pitcher, felt that the teams weren’t much better than the Bods.

“They just got some lucky hits and they were able to string them together,” said Ricketts. “All of us pitchers have been making good pitches and have been hitting our spots. The batters have just been finding holes. It’s just one of those things that happen, and we’ll have to bounce back from it.”

Next, the Bods will play at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., against Rockhurst, the third of four scheduled games against the Hawks this year. The season record between the two teams is 1-1.

Central Missouri will then come to Topeka this weekend for a four-game series, beginning with a seven and nine-inning doubleheader at 3 p.m. on Friday at Falley Field. It will wrap up at 1 p.m. Saturday with another 7/9 matchup against the Mules.

“I think we’re just going to approach it just like any other team,” said Ricketts. “They’re all just a bunch guys in a different uniform.”

There were few bright spots in the week that was Washburn baseball. The Bods started the week off getting swept by No. 3 Emporia State last Monday in Hays losing 10-1 and 9-8. The games were played in Hays because of unplayable field conditions in Emporia and Topeka.

In game one, the Hornets took a 10-0 lead by the fourth inning, while the Bods were only able to muster two hits. WU’s Curtis Hamilton was shelled, allowing all 10 runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings, earning the loss.

The Bods came back offensively in game two, only to see an 8-6 lead in the seventh topped in the following inning by two solo home runs and another unearned run.

Washburn stayed in Hays to play the Tigers on Tuesday. And after game one, it was looking to be another two-game sweep as FHSU pounded the Bods to the tune of 15-2, while getting outhit 17-2.

However, game two for the Bods proved to be much needed in a week where wins were hard to come by, as WU rallied from three down in the ninth to score seven runs and win 13-9.

Dane Simoneau went 5-for-6 in the game with two doubles and two RBIs while Brian Clark and Cameron Kasel each had three hits.

After a 1-3 road trip, Washburn hoped to have better success at home last Friday and Saturday. That wasn’t the case as Missouri Southern took three out of four from Washburn and held the Bods to just eight runs in four games.

Friday was a split as WU took game one 5-2, never trailing, before losing to the Lions in game two 4-1.

Hamilton redeemed himself from his earlier week performance to get the game one win, going 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on five hits. Scoring for WU came from a variety of sources including Simoneau, who hit an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth to give the Bods the lead for good.

The Lions roared back in the nightcap to win 4-1 thanks to a complete game three-hitter by MSSU’s Garrett Groom.

Saturday was dominated by the Lions as they beat Washburn 10-1 and 6-1.

The first contest saw it all fall apart for Washburn in one inning-the fourth-when Southern plated eight runs to break open a scoreless game.

Washburn was tied through seven innings in game two 1-1 before the Lions tacked on five in the eighth and ninth to earn the victory.

“We can’t do anything about the past,” said Holiday. “All we can do is worry about the future. We just got to make sure the way we played this week isn’t brought into next week. We just got to come back and be more competitive and maybe things will go our way.”