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ISSUE 118 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/15/2005

Baseball rediscovers lumber

By Ryan Maus
Sports Editor


Friday, April 15, 2005

Coming off an offensively challenged effort against Augsburg last weekend, in which the Oles scored just two runs in their doubleheader split with the Auggies, St. Olaf head baseball coach Matt McDonald was looking for a little something more from his hitters during Saturday’s twin bill with Macalester.

Needless to say, he got it.

The Oles earned a convincing sweep of the Scots in their first two home games of the season Saturday, winning by decisive margins of 10-2 and 23-3.

“We definitely struggled last weekend [against Augsburg],” McDonald said. “They pitched pretty well and did a good job of keeping the ball away from our hitters. We entered the Macalester game with a different mindset – trying to stay patient and put the ball in play – and it paid off.”

In addition to seeing two Ole victories, the large crowd of Ole fans witnessed the debut outing of the newly renovated Mark Almi Field. The field received a much-needed facelift this past offseason, with the addition of new dugouts and a new seating area behind home plate.

Against the Scots, St. Olaf pounded out 29 hits in the two games, just a week removed from their three-hit showing in game one last week against Augsburg.

Will Huepenbecker ’06 started his fourth game of the season in the home opener, going the full seven innings while allowing two runs on five hits.

Huepenbecker wasn’t at his sharpest Saturday (he walked four batters, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter) but benefited from some excellent defense and plenty of run support. The Ole ace had already lost two 1-0 decisions this spring.

“Before Will hurt his elbow two years ago [Huepenbecker missed most of 2003 and part of 2004 with the injury], we thought that he would be a top-of-the-rotation guy for us,” McDonald said about his young righthander. “He’s now regaining that form. Will’s really athletic, throws three or four pitches for a strike and has a lively fastball that keeps hitters off balance.”

Offensively, the Oles took advantage of three costly Macalester errors and some clutch hitting by their number two and three batters. Chris Terrazas ’07 and Andrew Schmiesing ’08 went a combined 7-7 in game one, with Terrazas gaining two RBI. Evan Klefsass ’07 also hit a two-run homer in the fifth, the first of his collegiate career.

The second game of Saturday’s double-dip was yet another slugfest, with St. Olaf scoring in every inning but the sixth, which included seven runs in the third and 10 in the fourth. Starter Eric Tobias ’06 didn’t allow an earned run in four innings of work, and Terrazas completed an outstanding day at the plate with two more hits and two more RBI. Larry Nava ’05 had a season-high four RBI, and Kyle McDermott ’07 had a pinch-hit three-run homer in the fourth.

Wednesday, the Oles traveled across the river for a doubleheader battle against Carleton, an opponent they had defeated 18 straight times. The streak came to a crashing halt in game one as the bats fell silent and the Knights used a two-out, three-run double in the bottom of the sixth to procure a 4-3 win.

Dan O’Malley ‘06 personally insured that the Oles would start a new streak, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning, before surrendering two hits in a shutout, 9-0 win.

St. Olaf’s record is 4-2 in the MIAC and 11-9 overall. McDonald spoke about his team reaching the halfway point of their season.

“We have struggled at times, but I think we’re settling in to different roles on our team,” McDonald said. “Our expectations for the second half are really high. We’ll be judged on how we do from here on out.”

The Oles will play at home once again this weekend as they host the Pipers of Hamline for a doubleheader Saturday. Game time is 1 p.m.





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