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ISSUE 119 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/5/2006

Ole baseball hangs tough in title race

By Ryan Maus
Sports Editor

Friday, May 5, 2006

Hyped as one of the biggest MIAC series of the year, Tuesday afternoon’s matchup between St. Olaf and St. Thomas only served to prolong the drama between two teams still vying for the conference crown.

In a doubleheader originally scheduled for Saturday (the games were delayed three times due to rain), the Oles and the Tommies each gained a 4-0 victory to remain tied atop the MIAC standings. Both teams have identical 12-4 conference records with four games remaining in the regular season.

Captain Eric Tobias ’06 was the hero in St. Olaf’s game one victory, turning in a masterful performance with a complete game, five-hit shutout. It was Tobias’ best outing of the season to date, and the Ole improved his overall record on the season to 6-1, also lowering his ERA to 1.73.

Tobias also struck out seven batters on the league’s top offensive team, reaching as high as 87 mph on the radar gun.

“Toby’s performance was a classic case of a senior delivering in a key situation,” said Brett Berry ‘06. “He carried us on his shoulders when we needed him the most.”

“I can’t remember a time when Eric hasn’t been the ultimate competitor,” said fellow team captain Brett Thoreson ‘06. “His game was a big confidence booster for our team.”

Offensively, St. Olaf was able to manage 10 hits against St. Thomas senior ace Dan Leslie, who entered the game with the second-best ERA in the conference and a .191 opponent’s batting average. Chris Terrazas ’07 drove in the game’s first run with a double in the fourth inning, and Luke Gagnon ’08 added an RBI single in the sixth.

DH Berry then helped break the game open with a bases-loaded, two-RBI double over the third base bag in the seventh inning.

In game two, it was the Oles who would be shut out with just five hits, as UST junior Riley Bosh kept the opposition at bay to deny the Oles a sweep. Bosh effectively changed speeds and used an excellent breaking ball en route to six strikeouts, allowing just two runners as far as third base all game.

Dan O’Malley ’06 suffered the loss for St. Olaf, allowing eight hits through four innings and surrendering a three-run homer to Sean Young in the third inning. Alex Summer ’09 pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

“Alex pitched really well on Tuesday,” Tobias said. “He’s going to be an important part of our staff during the home stretch of the season.”

With the split, St. Olaf’s overall record moves to 23-7. In the new ABCA (American Baseball Coaches Association) the Oles’ ranking improved from 27th to 19th overall.

St. Olaf will have a difficult road ahead in their quest for the conference crown. The Oles will take on Augsburg Thursday evening in Minneapolis and will host third-place Gustavus (currently on a nine-game conference winning streak) in their last regular season games of the year on Saturday.

The Tommies, by comparison, have only a doubleheader with 10th-place Carleton remaining, after sweeping ninth-place Macalester at home Wednesday.

The seventh annual MIAC Tournament, won by St. Thomas every year except 2003 (St. Olaf won that season) will be held May 12-14 at Northfield’s Sechler Park and Dundas’ Memorial Field.

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