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ISSUE 119 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/24/2006

Spring Preview, Baseball: Hurlers look to lead Oles

By Ryan Maus
Sports Editor

Friday, March 24, 2006

On the heels of yet another successful season, the St. Olaf baseball team figures to contend for a conference title once again in 2006.

One of the college’s most successful sports programs, the baseball team has captured MIAC championships during its history, and finished the 2005 regular season in second place with a 13-7 conference record. The season ended in disappointment, however, as the Oles were quickly eliminated from the MIAC Tournament, which was won by St. Thomas for the second consecutive year. This year, St. Olaf looks to ride the strength of the conference’s best pitching staff, one that lead the league in ERA during conference play (2.75), as well as opponent batting average (.225) and fewest hits allowed (115). The starting rotation will be anchored by two returning seniors, power lefty Eric Tobias and hard-throwing righthander Dan O’Malley. The pair combined to post a 2.96 ERA last season while striking out 80 batters in 103 and 1/3 innings. Paul Johnson ‘08 also returns after a solid collegiate debut, posting a team-best 1.87 ERA in 43 and 1/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.

Offensively, St. Olaf looks to improve upon a unit that struggled to score runs at times last season, finishing in the lower half of the conference in many offensive categories. The team returns every starting position player from a year ago, and hopes to improve from an added year of experience.

Third baseman Chris Terrazas ‘07emerged as a threat in his first year as a full-time starter last season, leading the team with a .398 batting average, 28 RBI and an outstanding .570 slugging percentage. Terrazas earned both All-MIAC and third team all-region honors last year.

Andrew Schmeising ‘08 also figures to build off a stellar 2005 season. The Ole right fielder was the team’s best hitter in the early part of the season and finished with a team-high 49 hits.

St. Olaf also posses one of the best defenses in the league, committing just 48 errors a year ago to post an excellent .962 fielding percentage.

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