The St. Olaf baseball team did just that over the past two weeks, traveling to three different locations to play their last 14 games. After splitting a doubleheader with Northland College in the Metrodome on March 19, the Oles traveled to southwestern Florida from March 21-28 (where they played a 10-game schedule, winning six), and finally were able to open their conference season Saturday afternoon against Augsburg College.
Saturdays doubleheader, originally scheduled for Parade Stadium in Minneapolis, was moved to Cannon Falls, Minn. because of field conditions. The Oles lost game one 1-0 despite a strong pitching performance from Will Huepenbecker 06, but bounced back to win game two 2-0.
In the first game, Huepenbecker battled Auggie starter Darren Ginther for six and a third innings in a classic pitchers duel. The Oles managed just three hits and did not advance a runner past second base all game, while Augsburg finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Tim Wahl.
In game two, Eric Tobias 06 threw a complete game, three-hit shutout, while Tony DeLaHunt 05 and Brian Astry 07 contributed RBI hits in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively. Andrew Schmiesing 08 went 2-3 with a run scored.
On the teams eight-day trip to Port Charlotte, Fla. over spring break, the team played a number of quality non-conference opponents. Monday, March 21, St. Olaf took on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, splitting a doubleheader with the Pointers, winning 12-8 before falling 21-5. Dan Hansen 05 got the victory in game one, allowing just one run in five innings of relief. Chris Terrazas 07 and Schmiesing homered for the Oles.
Tuesday afternoon, St. Olaf was pitted against the Sailfish of Palm Beach Atlantic College. Huepenbecker was the tough-luck loser in the 1-0 game one loss, but Paul Johnson 08 earned his first collegiate victory with a complete game, 4-0 shutout in game two.
Wednesday, the Oles were defeated by Bowdoin College 5-2 in a six-inning, rain-shortened affair. Three Ole errors led to four unearned runs for the Bears, but St. Olaf was threatening when the game was called due to a thunderstorm.
The University of Chicago proved to be just the right medicine for the floundering Ole baseball team on Friday afternoon, as St. Olaf soundly trounced the Maroons by scores of 17-2 and 11-2. DeLaHunt had five RBI in game one, and Schmiesing hit a grand slam in the second game. Andy Dass 08 and Dan OMalley 06 each threw complete games for their first victories of the season.
Saturdays doubleheader went equally well for the Oles, as they overpowered the punchless Panthers of Greenville College 5-0 and 23-3. Hupenbecker was the winner in game one, striking out 11 batters while allowing just four hits. In game two, eight different St. Olaf batters collected hits, and Terrazas had seven RBI.
In the teams tenth and final game in Florida Sunday afternoon, the Oles saw their four-game winning streak snapped with a 10-8 loss to St. Norberts College. The Knights scored eight times in the games final two innings to pull out the victory.
All of St. Olafs games in Port Charlotte were played at the Charlotte Sports Park, former spring training home of Major League Baseballs Texas Rangers.
Coupled with their 1-3 record prior to heading south, the Oles currently stand with an 8-8 overall record and are 1-1 in the MIAC. The team opens their home season Saturday afternoon against Macalester at Mark Almi Field. The action gets underway at 1 p.m