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ISSUE 118 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 3/4/2005

Wartburg spoils season opener for Oles at Metrodome

By Ryan Maus
Sports Editor

Friday, March 4, 2005

After four weeks of practicing indoors, the St. Olaf baseball team circumvented Mother Nature once again Tuesday night as they opened their season against Wartburg College at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, the Knights spoiled the event for the Oles, defeating St. Olaf by scores of 3-1 and 3-2.

2004 All-MIAC pitcher Eric Tobias ’06 started the first game for the Oles and struggled somewhat with his command. Tobias was touched up for three runs in four innings of work, walking two and uncorking two wild pitches while striking out four. St. Olaf quickly found themselves down 3-0 after the third inning.

Paul Johnson ’08, pitching in his first collegiate game, threw three perfect innings of relief of Tobias, striking out four. However, the Oles could not muster much of anything offensively. St. Olaf collected just four hits in game one, with a Tony DeLaHunt ’05 sac fly in the sixth inning accounting for the team’s lone run.

Game two of the doubleheader was yet another offensively-challenged affair for both teams. St. Olaf starter Dan O’Malley ’06 settled down after a shaky first inning and held the Knights in check, allowing just one run on three hits in five innings of work.

“I tried to do too much by myself early in the game,” O’Malley said. “But I settled down after the first inning and let my defense do the work.”

Despite O’Malley’s stellar outing, the Oles could not garner their starter any run support.

St. Olaf finally broke through offensively in the top of the sixth. Andrew Schmiesing ‘08 led off the inning with a single and scored on Brett Thoreson’s ‘06 triple. Thoreson would later score on a single by first basemen Brett Berry ’06, giving St. Olaf a 2-1 advantage.

The Oles held Wartburg scoreless in the bottom of the inning but saw their slim lead evaporate in the seventh. Wartburg led off the final frame with a single and a triple, and the game-winning run would score two batters later on a wild pitch.

“We learned a lot about what we need to do as a team,” O’Malley said about Tuesday’s losses. “We have the players to do well this season, and now we know some areas where we need to improve.”

St. Olaf will not play its next game until March 18, when they take on Northland College in the Metrodome. The team is also traveling to Florida for an eight-day, ten-game road trip March 21-27.

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