Power and pitching propel baseball in win 7-3 over Central Oklahoma


Kohichiro Yamada

Washburn’s team celebrates after scoring April 8, 2022, Topeka, Kansas. Washburn defeated Central Oklahoma 7-3 in the game.

Coming off a midweek non-conference romp over William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, Washburn baseball stayed hot with a 7-3 win over the University of Central Oklahoma April 8 to open the three-game series.

The Ichabods controlled the lead from the second inning on as they never trailed the Bronchos with strong pitching and hot bats at the bottom of the order.

“It’s good to see those guys down there producing and doing it,” said head coach Harley Douglas. “If we can have guys contributing and doing that it’s going to be a good sign for us as the season continues.”

With the win, Washburn moved to 24-11 on the year and 14-7 in conference play.

Sophomore Casey Steward stayed hot on the mound, throwing a scoreless first two innings, striking out two. Sophomore center fielder Connor Scott led off the second inning with a triple off the left field wall.

Junior Cal Watkins put the Ichabods on the board with a sacrifice fly into center field, scoring Scott.

Freshman left fielder Easton Bruce returned from injury with a one-out single. Two batters later, senior catcher Kros Bay singled into center field, two errors in the field allowed Bruce to score and make it a 2-0 game.

“Easton pushed hard to get himself back and get there and so now it gives us opportunities to move athletes into different spots and get guys in the lineup,” Douglas said.

Bruce returned just one game after regular starter at third base, Zion Bowlin, exited the lineup with an injury, making his return even more critical.

“I would just like one time to be able to sit down and look at the roster and be able to make a lineup card with everybody healthy,” Douglas said.

Junior Cale Savage kept the line moving with a single into left field, scoring Bay to complete the three run inning.

Steward kept the Bronchos without a hit until the fourth inning where he gave up one, but kept the visitors scoreless.

The second and third hits off Steward came in the fifth inning, putting Central Oklahoma on the board with one run.

Scott started the bottom of the sixth inning with a single and was quickly brought home on a high home run into right field from Watkins.

“I was just trying to hit a ball hard somewhere and the wind carried and really helped me out today,” Watkins said.

Two batters later, freshman right fielder Trevor McCollum followed suit with a home run of his own, this time to left field, making it a 6-1 game after six.

“Trevor didn’t get a bunt down and we kind of got into his rear end on it and then he comes up and drives a fastball for a home run and gets one of the runs back,” Douglas said. “That’s a testament to how hard he works.”

After throwing six innings, Steward exited in the top of the seventh, finishing with six strikeouts and allowing only one run on four hits. The recent string of strong starts helped build the trust of the coaches.

“I think it’s shown with us moving and getting him into that Friday night spot,” Douglas said. “When he gets into a groove and gets them uncomfortable he does a great job.”

Senior Rane Pfeifer took over to begin the inning, allowing one hit and walking two batters to load the bases, but escaped unscathed without allowing a run.

Senior third baseman Brett Ingram picked up a one-out single in the seventh inning, and moved to third on a double from Scott. A balk on the Bronchos’ pitcher scored Ingram to make it a 7-1 game.

Senior Dalton Huggins took over pitching responsibilities in the eighth inning and allowed one baserunner, but got out of the inning without surrendering a run.

Going into the ninth inning, junior Cash Crane took over on the mound, allowing two runs and three hits before senior Joel Casillas took over, retiring the next three batters to give Washburn a 7-3 win.

Coming into the series the Ichabods had a one game lead over the Bronchos for fourth place in the MIAA standings, moving to two after the win.

“It’s really big because we want to have a chance to host the first part of the conference tournament,” Watkins said.

Steward moved to 4-0 on the year with the win, Watkins picked up two hits and drove in three runs in the game while Scott had three hits, finishing a home run short of the cycle.

The Ichabods will look to pick up a series win in game two April 9 starting at 2 p.m.

Edited by: Alyssa Storm, Glorianna Noland