The Oles continued their early-season Dome dominance and improved their non-conference record to 5-1 Tuesday afternoon with a doubleheader sweep of the 10-time defending IIAC (Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) champion Wartburg Knights. Todd Mathison '09 remained undefeated in his college career (12-0) by pitching a complete game in the 7-2 game one victory, and an RBI single by Luke Gagnon '08 in the seventh inning allowed the Oles to sneak out a 5-4 game two win.
Mathison, a third-team All-American last season, worked in and out of trouble for most of the afternoon, but made quality pitches when he needed to. The Knights tallied nine hits, stranded seven runners on base as Mathison did not walk a batter.
The game remained deadlocked in a 1-1 tie until the bottom half of the sixth inning, when St. Olaf erupted for six runs. Chris Terrazas '07, Carson Jones '10, Tyler Johnson '09 and Patrick Wadzinski '09 contributed RBI hits, and the Oles also capitalized on an error and two hit batsmen.
Game two saw head coach Matt McDonald alter his pitching rotation somewhat by giving Andrew Dimick '08 his first collegiate start. Dimick did not disappoint, tossing five strong innings and allowing just one run.
"I treated my [first] start as a learning experience, to see where I want to go with the rest of the year," Dimick said. "I located my changeup really well and made some key in-game adjustments."
A Mathison RBI double (second inning), Schultheis two-run homer (fourth inning) and an RBI single by Terrazas put St. Olaf up 4-1 entering the sixth inning.
"In that situation I was looking for a certain pitch," Schultheis said about his fourth inning bomb. "He gave me a fastball inside and I jumped on it."
However, Paul Johnson '08, making his fifth relief appearance in the past two years, struggled after taking the ball from Dimick in the sixth. The Knights plated three runs to tie the game, setting the stage for Gagnon's heroics.
Andrew Schmieising '08 reached second base on an errant throw from shortstop, advancing to third on a groundout. Gagnon, batting a scortching .571 on the young season, promptly regained the lead for the Oles by lining a single through the infield.
"The comeback was really big for our team," Schultheis said. "At no point was anybody in the dugout worried - that's what good teams do."
After experiencing a two-week layoff between games (the Oles had not played since March 6), St. Olaf will now enjoy a flurry of on-field action. The team travels to Port Charlotte, Fla. for a five-day, eight-game trip, which begins Saturday against UW-Oshkosh.
Im looking forward to the team bonding and comaraderrie that were going to have on the trip, said Dimick, making his second trip to Florida this year. This trips provides an opportunity for us to become a very tight-knit group.
The team will be returning to Minnesota by Wednesday because the MIAC regular season is scheduled to open Saturday, March 31. Barring weather concerns, the Oles will take on the Macalester Scots in St. Paul at 1 p.m.