The Oles took a major step forward this week in their quest for a MIAC playoff berth and NCAA Regional bid by sweeping home doubleheaders with Hamline (Saturday) and Carleton (Tuesday).
In one game of both conference match-ups, the Oles have looked like the team that earned six consecutive playoff berths and three conference titles between 2000 and 2005. St. Olafs convincing 10-0 game one victory over the Knights and the teams 8-3 game two win against Hamline followed a blueprint that the Ole coaching staff has been preaching all season long: Be aggressive at the plate and allow the teams vaunted pitching staff to do the rest.
Both victories featured outstanding pitching performances and offensive attack that produced a number of extra-base hits.
The other half of the Oles 4-0 week, did not go quite as smoothly. Despite collecting 12 hits in against Hamline starter Kyle Foster in game one on Saturday, it took a two-out, eighth inning single from Tyler Johnson 09 for St. Olaf to escape with a 2-1 win.
Carleton put a bit of a scare into their cross-town rivals in game two on Tuesday as well, jumping out to an early 4-0 lead before St. Olaf recovered for a 6-5 victory.
Our wins this past week were huge, said Chris Terrazas 07, who hit two two-run home runs in game two Saturday. They put us in a great position to vie for the MIAC championship.
In addition to Terrazas, another key contributor to the Oles perfect week was pitcher and shortstop Todd Mathison 09. Mathison did not allow a run in 10 total innings of work on the mound, earning the win in game two on Saturday (with three scoreless frames) and again in game one on Tuesday.
Mathisons complete game shutout of the Knights extended his scoreless innings streak to 18 and improved his record to 6-0.
For his efforts, Mathison was named the MIACs Pitcher of the Week.
Right fielder Andrew Schmeising 08 also had an excellent week at the plate. Schmeising collected three hits and scored two runs against Hamline and also went 4-7 with three RBI and three runs scored Tuesday.
With the wins, St. Olaf improves their record to 11-3 in the MIAC (22-6 overall) and moves into a first place tie with St. Thomas atop the conference standings. The Oles and Tommies square off on Saturday in St. Paul for what is arguably the biggest MIAC series of the season.
These are definitely important games [on Saturday], Terrazas said. This is where well see what were made of as a team.
St. Olaf has just six conference games remaining until the 2006 MIAC Tournament, which will be held May 12-14.