Washburn University baseball's doubleheader sweep over Concordia-St. Paul on Sunday extended its win streak to four games, and the Ichabods clinched the series with their third straight win over the Golden Bears in a four-game series which will conclude on Monday.

WUbaseballjube1Washburn's Ike Book (33) is congratulated by his teammates after a second-game home run in a 5-4 win over Concordia-St. Paul. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

WUbaseballjube2Washburn's Trey Adams (3) is mobbed after his game-winning hit in Sunday's 5-4 second-game win over Concordia-St. Paul. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

The Ichabods had suffered a brutal stretch in early February, winning just one of their first eight games with four of their seven losses in that stretch decided a single run.

Washburn found its stride after taking its bumps and bruises earlier in the month and the Ichabods are now only two games below .500.

"We've been put together with arguably the toughest schedule in the country early on," Washburn coach Harley Douglas said. "We knew that we were going to have it tough. We had to go down and play some really good (Great American Conference) teams and had some tough games in Florida. They're outside every day, and it's always tough there.

"When you lose four games by one run, we start to question if we are doing this right or not. But now that we are two weeks settled into the season, we can get back to playing some teams at home and feeling more comfortable. This (series) gave us some resilience to get going and not second guess ourselves."

The Ichabod baseball team has had the edge over Concordia-St. Paul in this series' first three games.

Washburn won Saturday's contest 4-3 and posted 7-3 and 5-4 wins in Sunday's twinbill.

Sunday's games were opposite from each other.

In the 7-3 victory Washburn just had to hang on for its victory after a pair of superb pitching performances, while the 5-4 Washburn win was catapulted by a Trey Adams walk-off knock.

In Washburn's Game 1 win, the Ichabods got a quality start from senior Rane Pfeifer. In Pfeifer's five innings of work, the righty punched out nine batters, giving up two hits, walking four batters and giving up two earned runs.

"Rane threw really well," Douglas said. "(Rane) has been battling some back issues, but he's really starting to settle in and feel a bit better. He's finding out what he can do and how he can do it. I was impressed with him. His (velocity) was up where it needed to be. If we have him and Casey (Steward) throwing it like Friday and Saturday, we feel like we can compete with anybody."

Those two earned runs were in the top of the sixth after he was pulled out of the game.

Washburn's first-inning start was picture-perfect. Defensively, Pfeifer recorded two strikeouts and a fly out to centerfield on just 12 pitches.

The Ichabods created havoc with the bats in the bottom of the first inning. Four hits supported Washburn's four-run opening inning.

Sophomore Easton Bruce opened up the scoring with a two-run single, bringing in Trey Adams and Cal Watkins. Connor Scott got two more runners home immediately after Bruce's two-run single with a two-run double.

Washburn had a 4-0 advantage before Concordia-St. Paul could find its sunflower seeds.

The Ichabods added another run in the bottom of the third from the bat of Andrew Paulsey. Paulsey pushed the ball in the gap near the first base bag scoring Cale Savage from third base, giving Washburn a 5-0 cushion.

Concordia-St. Paul's bats came alive with a three-run inning in the top of the sixth inning. Washburn's five-run lead was decreased to just two.

The Ichabods responded in the bottom of the seventh inning with an Adams two-run double that trickled out to an enormous gap in right-centerfield. Washburn extended its lead to 7-3.

From the sixth inning to the end of the ninth inning, freshman southpaw Griffin Huiatt pitched three innings of shutout baseball. Huiatt's efforts of keeping the Golden Bears away from home plate earned him a three-inning save to secure Washburn's 7-3 victory.

Starting senior pitcher Jack Brimacombe faced some troubles in the opener of Game 2. Brimacombe couldn't quite make it out of two innings in his start giving up three earned runs, five hits and three walks.

In the second inning, Washburn junior lefty Cole Warner replaced Brimacombe and gave Washburn some quality innings.

Warner threw 5.1 innings, giving up three hits, a run, one walk and averaged 12 pitches per inning in his relief stint. However, Warner's ability to force batters to hit the groundball and get his defense involved changed the course of the contest.

"That's three outings now that Cole has been really good," Douglas said. "We kind of found his niche a little bit towards the end of last season. We got him out of the (bullpen), and he's now in a role where he gets started pretty quickly. We can get him to settle in and go four or five innings rather than start him. He's really relished the role, and he's been electric for us."

In the top of the fifth, Warner faced his first bases-loaded jam.

Due to an error in right field, a walk, and a single, Warner faced some adversity. Nevertheless, Warner struck out a batter with two outs and kept Washburn's deficit at three.

Sophomore Ike Book made up for his defensive error in the top of the fifth in the loudest way possible in the bottom of the inning. Book nailed a first-pitch home run that bounced off the right-field scoreboard.

"One of the things about us is that we have a lot of dudes who will pick each other up," Book said. "Even after I gave up an error with no outs, guys picked me up. Cole (Warner) pitched the rest of the inning with no runs allowed. The guys produced some hits and did their jobs. The guys picked me up as anyone else would."

Paulsey loved Book's two-run home run so much that he decided to get one himself. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Paulsey hit his long ball out to right-centerfield to give Washburn its first lead at 4-3.

"(Book) took full advantage of the opportunity and energized us all," Douglas said. "Andrew (Paulsey) came through with that big hit for us. I knew it was in the gap, but I didn't know if it was going to carry out or not. I thought it went through the wall instead of over it, but we'll take it."

Game 2 was a seven-inning contest, so Paulsey's game-leading home run was enormous for Washburn's situation.

Concordia-St. Paul would tie the game up at the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly out to deep center field, sending a Golden Bear runner from third to home.

Washburn had its walk-off opportunity in the bottom of the seventh inning and capitalized on it.

A sacrifice bunt from Otto Jones, a Book single and an intentional walk to Watkins would set up Adams with the bases loaded and just one out.

Adams smacked the ball on a 1-1 count to deep left center and sent Caden Bressler home, and the Ichabods would celebrate its hard-earned 5-4 victory.

"This series has been pretty big for us and our confidence," Book said. "One thing that I like about our team is that we don't make a bunch of excuses for ourselves. When you look back at some of those games that we were right in before, we couldn't get over the hump. But we weren't there making excuses. So we go out here and try to be better than we were before."

Washburn (5-7) will conclude its four-game series with Concordia-St. Paul (0-3) on Monday at noon at Falley Field.

Game 1


Concordia - St. Paul (0-2) 000 003 000 – 3 4 1

Washburn (4-7)                  401 000 02X – 7 8 1

W -- Pfeifer (1-0). L -- Dahlberg (0-1). Save -- Huiatt (1). 2B -- Washburn: Adams (2). SB -- Washburn: C. Scott (5). Concordia-St. Paul: Nelson  (3).

Game 2 (seven innings)


Concordia-St. Paul (0-3) 030 000 1 – 4 8 0 

Washburn (5-7)                000 022 1 – 5 8 2

W -- Warner (2-0). L -- Sherman (0-1). 2B -- Concordia-St. Paul: Thimsen. 3B -- Washburn: C. Scott. HR -- Washburn: Paulsey, Book. Concordia-St. Paul: Juliar.