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ISSUE 119 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/10/2006

Oles play Dome ball, start 3-1

By Ryan Maus
Sports Editor

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis may be considered a less-than-adequate home for major league baseball, but for small college teams like the St. Olaf Oles, it is nothing short of a godsend.

Sheltered away from the snow and freezing temperatures under the Dome’s 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 O’Malley ‘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.

Monday’s 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. O’Malley threw a complete game but took the loss.

“We’re 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 team’s performance in the first week of the season. “I was really encouraged at how well our new guys played, and I think we’ve got a nice mix of returning players as well. It’s 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.

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