Baseball splits first two games in series with Central Missouri


Jesse Bruner

Washburn’s dugout celebrates after scoring Saturday, April 2, 2022, at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Washburn defeated Central Missouri 15-4 in the game.

Washburn baseball’s first two games against Central Missouri started in similar fashion with the conference-leading Mules jumping out to early leads.

The Ichabods would fail to recover in game one before ultimately falling 9-3. But in game two, after trailing 4-1, they would score the final 11 runs to win 15-4 after just six and a half innings of play.

“We came out Friday night and gave some runs away, and we knew that if we would have kept it close we had some opportunities,” said head coach Harley Douglas. “To go out and compete and do it the way we did and kind of flush what had been going on I thought it showed the resilience of this team.”

Splitting the two games moved Washburn’s season record to 22-10, while Central Missouri was handed its first loss in 19 games, and the first in MIAA play.

“Any time you got a chance to beat a team of that caliber and the scores that we had today that’s a pretty big accomplishment,” said senior Parker Dunn.

On day one the Mules scored four runs in three innings off of freshman Wyatt Hardy who made the first start of his college career.

After four innings the Ichabods trailed 4-2, with the two runs coming on a second inning double from sophomore Otto Jones and a third inning single by senior Brett Ingram which tied the game at 2-2.

Freshman Austin Gerety gave up one run in the fourth inning before being replaced by senior Dalton Huggins. Huggins completed the next three innings, allowing only one earned run.

Senior Trevor Marreel and junior Cash Crane combined to complete the seventh inning, allowing two and one run in the inning respectively, making it a 9-2 game.

Senior Kros Bay picked up an RBI on a groundout in the eighth to complete the scoring for game one.

Junior Braden Babcock threw a scoreless final two innings for Washburn, but the six-run lead was too large as they fell 9-3 to open the series.

Game two featured a much more explosive offense from the Ichabods, starting with a first inning home run from Dunn to open the scoring.

Sophomore Casey Steward got the start for Washburn and struggled with command early, hitting two batters in the second inning both of which came around to score on doubles. A third run in the inning scored on a wild pitch.

A walk and another wild pitch put a runner on third in the third inning, with the run scoring on an error in the field to make it a 4-1 ballgame after three.

“At that point, when we were down, you just got to think like, it’s a game, you got to go out there and have fun because that’s really all it is,” Steward said.

The Ichabods began the comeback in the fourth inning, scoring five runs on four hits. Two walks began the inning and Jones made them count with a single, scoring one. Junior Cal Watkins was able to dash home on a groundout by Bay.

Senior Tyler Clark-Chiapparelli continued the run with a home run into left field scoring Jones, giving Washburn the lead. Seniors kept swinging the bats as Dunn and Ingram followed with back-to-back doubles to complete the five-run inning.

“We had a lot better bat speed at pitches in the zone throughout the lineup and a lot of guys played a big part in today’s game and I think that was the difference,” Dunn said.

Sophomore Connor Scott jumped on the second pitch he saw in the fifth inning for a leadoff home run. Two walks and a single from Watkins loaded the bases for Dunn who was hit by a pitch, scoring Watkins.

Two more runs were scored after an error by the Mules on a ball put in play by Ingram. Senior Zion Bowlin walked, moving Ingram to second and Dunn to third.

Both scored on a single from Scott, picking up his second hit of the inning and putting the Ichabods up 12-4 after five.

“I think Casey did a really good job of settling in and giving us a chance to get that offense going. And then once we started going it just kept riding pretty well,” Douglas said.

Steward finished his day on the hill after a scoreless top of the sixth inning, allowing only one hit over his final three innings pitched and striking out a pair in the game.

“ I was just trying to trust my pitches and take it one pitch at a time and not try to think ahead, let my defense work a little bit,” Steward said. “As long as I can get ahead, stay ahead and just try to make them get weak contact, that is what I was focusing on”

The Ichabods loaded the bases with no outs to begin the sixth inning but a double play took one baserunner away before Dunn came up. He sent a 3-0 pitch over the right-field fence for his second home run of the day, fourth hit, and racked up five total RBIs with the swing.

Huggins came on to protect the 15-4 lead and did just that, striking out the side to complete the comeback, setting up a rubber match the next day.

“To be able to get today, and show that we are capable of playing with anybody in the country, that is what we have been trying to get our guys to understand,” Douglas said. “These are the games you live for, to try and go out and get a series win against a nationally ranked team.”

Dunn’s 4-4 day was aided by three hits and three RBIs from Scott and three hits from Jones. Ingram also finished with two hits. Steward picked up the win, moving to 3-0 on the year after giving up just three runs over six innings of work.

The win moved Washburn to 13-6 in conference play with the series finale against Central Missouri April 3 at 1:00 p.m.

Edited by: Glorianna Noland, Simran Shrestha