Sheltered away from the snow and freezing temperatures under the Domes white Teflon roof, the Ole baseball team opened its season with a solid 3-1 record after sweeping a doubleheader with UW-Superior last Thursday night and splitting with Elmhurst College Monday afternoon.
After enduring a rather unusual start time Thursday (the games got underway at about 10 p.m. and did not finish until almost 3 a.m.), St. Olaf began its 2006 season with an offensive explosion. The Oles scored four runs in the first inning of game one and banged out 13 hits in a 13-3 victory.
Offensively, second baseman Josh Maus 08 led the attack with a 3-5 effort, including the second home run of his career in the fourth inning. Josh Schultheis 07 also contributed with two doubles, a triple and three RBI.
Pitcher Eric Tobias 06 earned the victory with four and two-thirds innings in his first outing of the young season, striking out 10 while allowing three runs.
The morning cap was, like so many Ole contests in 2005, a low-scoring affair. Dan OMalley 06 held Superior to just three hits in five innings of work, and Paul Johnson pitched two scoreless frames to earn the save in the Oles 2-0 victory.
Mondays action with the Elmhurst Blue Jays, located outside Chicago, featured a much more reasonable 12:15 p.m. start time. St. Olaf took game one 9-4 but fell in the second game 3-2.
The Oles flashed their newfound offensive prowess again in the fourth inning of game one, scoring four runs on a bases-loaded walk, a two-RBI single from Maus and an RBI single from Chris Terrazas 07. First basemen Tyler Johnson 09 also went 3-3.
Paul Johnson labored through four innings, and Andrew Dimick 08 delivered with three innings of solid relief to earn the first win of his college career.
Game two was a back-and-forth effort, with Elmhurst scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh innings for the win. St. Olaf stranded the bases loaded and had a runner thrown out at the plate in the seventh inning.
Johnson struck out to end the game, just two pitches after his narrowly missed potential game-winning double down the right field line. OMalley threw a complete game but took the loss.
Were satisfied with the 3-1 record, but we know that there is still plenty of room for improvement, said Tobias, a two-year captain, about his teams performance in the first week of the season. I was really encouraged at how well our new guys played, and I think weve got a nice mix of returning players as well. Its going to be a fun season.
The Oles will remain idle until they travel to Florida March 22-29 for their annual Spring Break trip. The Oles will play 10 games in eight days in sunny Port Charlotte, Fla., and begin the MIAC season April 1 against Bethel University.