ST. LOUIS • Ladue right-hander Rob Ewald felt comfortable on the mound on Thursday afternoon at St. Louis University High’s Sheridan Stadium.

Ewald allowed one hit and struck out 13 batters in 6 2/3 shutout innings, as the visiting Rams beat SLUH 4-0 to hand the Jr. Bills their first loss this season.

“This is a big win for us,” Ewald said. “This is our rival. This is one of our big rivals every year. We want to come out and beat these guys. We’ve lost to them a couple times in the district championship and we want to change that this year. I think this is a good step toward that.”

A senior who has signed with Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, Ewald allowed one hit in four scoreless innings of relief against host SLUH in a 3-2 loss in the district championship game a year ago.

“I’m just comfortable against these guys and comfortable in this setting,” he said.

On Thursday, in a matchup against SLUH ace and Texas Christian signee Brian Howard, Ewald (3-0) continued his success against the Jr. Bills. He allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the first inning and issued five walks among his 119 pitches, but kept SLUH (12-1) off the scoreboard.

“This is what he’s capable of doing,” Ladue coach Rob Garrett said. “He had a really nice outing against the same team last year and he has that ability every time he goes out there. He was just really dialed in today.”

Lex Kaplan relieved Ewald with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and got the final out to close out the victory for Ladue (11-1), the No. 3 team in the large-schools rankings.

The Rams got a run in the second on Dylan Barstow’s RBI double to left-center field and added another in the fifth when Ryan Glazer led off with a single and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Levi Greenberg.

That was all the offense Ladue would muster off Howard (3-1), who allowed two runs on four hits, struck out six and walked one in five innings. Howard had not allowed an earned run in 18 innings in his first three starts.

“I thought Brian pitched well,” SLUH coach Steve Nicollerat said. “He pitched good enough to win, but we didn’t do much for him behind him.”

The Rams added two more runs in the sixth inning. Ewald made it 3-0 on an RBI single to left-center and Glazer followed with an RBI double for the final tally.

SLUH had opportunities against Ewald, but couldn’t turn them into runs. The Jr. Billikens left five runners stranded in scoring position.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do early and I think they did,” Nicollerat said. “They got the big hit when they needed to get it. We didn’t make the play in the field. You have to give (Ewald) credit for that. It’s not like we did anything wrong. He was just better than we were.”

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