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ISSUE 117 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/23/2004

Baseball weathers stretch

By Ryan Maus
Staff Writer

Friday, April 23, 2004

In college baseball, one of the requirements for having a successful season is building a solid, deep pitching staff. Thankfully, this has been the hallmark of recent Ole teams and the 2004 version is no exception.

St. Olaf played nine games over a period of seven days and escaped with a 6-3 overall record (6-1 in the MIAC), thanks in large part to some stellar pitching performances.

On April 12, the Oles traveled to Macalester and split a doubleheader with the Scots by scores of 7-2 and 3-4. Ace Charlie Ruud 04 dominated the first game, picking up his third win on the season.

In the second game, the Oles led 3-1 going into the seventh but suffered a last-inning meltdown by committing three costly errors, allowing Macalester to score three times and steal the win.

The following day, the hapless Carleton Knights made the trek across town and were soundly trounced 17-3 and 8-2. The Oles pounded out 16 hits, including a trio of triples in game one, and Will Huepenbecker 05 went 6 1/3 strong innings in the second game to earn the win.

St. Olaf suffered a rare home sweep at the hands of a tough St. Scholastica team on April 14, losing 8-6 and 4-1. The Saints broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning of game one by scoring four runs, two of which came on costly Ole errors.

In game two, the Oles could not muster anything offensively, wasting a solid outing by Dan OMalley 06.

The Oles got a short reprieve before traveling to Bethel on Saturday, where they pulled off an impressive sweep of Royals, 6-1 and 9-1. Ruud and Eric Tobias 06 each turned in outstanding pitching performances, and Nick Rost 07 went 5-7 with 2 RBI on the day.

Head coach Matt McDonald was especially pleased with Saturdays sweep.

To beat Bethel soundly twice at their place was huge for us, McDonald said. We got two great pitching performances &those were two very big wins for us. Every conference win is a big one, and we have to win a whole bunch of them to get into the [MIAC] tournament.

On Monday, Luther and St. Olaf hooked up in the latest chapter of one of college baseballs oldest rivalries. This installment would live up to its billing as the Oles defeated Luther in an epic slugfest by an astounding 21-20 score.

With strong winds blowing straight out to leftfield, the two teams smacked a combined seven homeruns. For the Oles, Danny Johnson 04 went 4-6 with 3 runs scored and 5 RBI, including a towering homerun in the second inning. Joe Pavelko 04 went 3-6 with 4 runs scored and 3 RBI. He also hit a key two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

Overall, McDonald seemed satisfied with his teams performance, but he realizes that the regular season is still far from over.

Every team we play from here on out is a good team, McDonald said. And they are all going to be teams that we are competing against for playoff spots every one of them.

St. Olaf now sits with a 13-9 overall record (7-1 within the MIAC), good enough for second place in the conference.

The teams next home games are on Saturday, when they will take on Gustavus in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

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