Ichabods secure game with crucial catch

Frankie Estanol

The Washburn mens baseball team (25-13, 20-8 MIAA) has been on a tear as of lately, sweeping a tough Lindenwood Lions team over the weekend.

Due to weather conditions the three-game series was moved to start Thursday, April 19. The Ichabods are in a two-way tie for 2nd in the region. With 10 games left in the season they look to push for a top seed in the MIAA tournament. The Bods currently hold a five game winning streak heading into this weekend’s contest.

Washburn struggled on offense to start the series off, but took the first game 4-2 on another solid start from pitcher Nick Silva. He earned his eighth win and still remains undefeated, throwing seven complete innings with two runs allowed and three strikeouts. The Ichabods would only scatter four hits but used aggressive baserunning to help ignite some momentum on offense. Center fielder Parker Gibson would single in the first inning then steal second and third. He would then score on a throwing error by the Lions. A double steal in the top of the second inning by Lindenwood tied the game 1-1. Payton Soichers deep sac fly in the same inning snatched the lead back for the Ichabods 2-1 scoring Tanner Triggs who finished 2-3 on the day. WU would not hold the lead as Lindenwood scored in the third to tie it up again at 2-2. Momentum would stay on Washburn’s side, however, in the third inning as they score dtwo unearned runs to take the lead for good.

After Riley Krane reached on a dropped third strike to open the inning, he scored on a triple by David Gauntt. Gauntt then scored on a sac fly by Lance Barkley. Barkley also earned his fifth save of the season. The Bods clinched the weekend series on Friday pitching their way to a win. Again Lindenwood would have more hits (6), than Washburn who finished with five. But tough pitching and good defense helped squeek out a win. Mike Hefferan (6-2) pitched 5.1 innings with six strikeouts while giving up four hits, six walks and one run. WU Pitchers Jaren Kutzke, Greg Mason and Dan Gabler would each contribute on the hill until handing the ball to Lance Barkley for his sixth save. With the game scoreless through three innings, the Ichabods were able to get some momentum going while Payton Soicher broke up Lindenwood’s no hit bid on a single up the middle. He then advanced to third on two throwing errors by the Lions.

However in the fourth inning, great at-bats for the Ichabods drew three walks and a pair of hits that featured the first two runs of the game and the lead. David Gauntt and Lance Barkley drew back-to-back walks before Triggs, who finished with two hits for the second straight game, lined a single to right field to load the bases for WU. Payton Soicher then faced an 0-2 count before drawing an RBI walk. Zane Mapes, who got hit-by-pitch but was overturned by the umpire, took the next pitch into center field to score Barkley. The Lions would get one in the sixth off a bases loaded walk, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Payton Soicher drew his second walk in the game, then scored the Ichabods final run when Riley Krane hit a dribbler to third base and beat out the throw to first after sliding.

There were certain points in the ball game where things seemed to be really confusing for the umpires and brought both head coaches from both teams to come out and argue. Washburn was able to keep composure very well finishing the game 3-1.”As long as they’re not completely getting us down in the dugout, we stayed up, we stayed positive,” said Soicher of how the team was able to stay focused. “We knew we were going to piece it together and get the win.”

With a three game win streak and a chance of sweeping an MIAA series for the third time, Washburn themselves in a hole on Saturday but stay in the game to pull off the victory.

The Lions held a 6-4 lead but two straight runs sent the Bods to extra innings. RBI from Parker Gibson and Zane Mapes tied the game at 6-6 for a shot at the sweep. In the bottom of the 11th, catcher David Gauntt hit a walk-off single to win 7-6. Ultimately the Bods would use five different pitchers and scatter 10 total hits to earn their ninth win in their last 10 games.

Washburn is back in action this weekend for another MIAA series against Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. Starting Friday at 3 p.m., they begin the stretch of the last 10 games of the regular season.