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ISSUE 121 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/11/2008

Baseball outlasts Bethel

By Eric Monek Anderson
Sports Editor

Friday, April 11, 2008

After a weekend of waiting, the St. Olaf baseball team finally had a chance to get on the field and play a couple of games. As it turned out, they were only able to play one game against Bethel Wednesday. Why? The first scheduled game lasted 13 innings. A normal doubleheader, with two seven inning games, adds up to 14 innings.

Though the Oles will make a second consecutive trip to Arden Hills Thursday afternoon, they were happy to leave Wednesday after finally defeating the Royals for a 4-3 win. Catcher Pat Wadzinski '09's clutch, two-out single in the top of the 13th knocked in Tyler Johnson '09 for the go-ahead run. Despite putting two runners on via hit-batsmen, St. Olaf's second reliever, Brandon Agneberg '11, managed to work out of the jam and pick up his second win.

The teams were evenly matched throughout the four-hour contest, each finishing with 13 hits and trading scoring opportunities after the game was deadlocked at 3-3 in the sixth inning. Each defense was tested, as the offenses consistently put the ball in play throughout the long ordeal. St. Olaf was led on offense by Tyler Jones '10, who had three hits and two stolen bases. Leadoff man Josh Maus '08, Sam Baltes '10 and Johnson each had two hits. Johnson's late double put him in position for Wadzinski's game-winning hit off Bethel reliever Kyle McCracken, who pitched seven innings in extended duty. Todd Mathison '09 pitched seven innings for the Oles in what would ordinarily be a complete game effort. Alex Beckman '09 tossed three scoreless innings before giving way to Agneberg after a leadoff Bethel double in the 11th.

The game's length pushed the supposed nightcap to Thursday afternoon.

It only adds another game to the next month, which already features a packed schedule after a series of weather-postponed games. Last weekend, the Oles were scheduled to play Gustavus at home Saturday, Sunday and finally Monday as the games was pushed back each successive day. The Bethel games were originally scheduled for Tuesday until extended cold moved them to Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday were particularly frustrating, as St. Olaf's Mark Almli Field was in sufficient playing shape, but the chilling wind prevented the metal bat-armed teams from taking the field.

A home doubleheader against St. Scholastica was also postponed indefinitely, as was a doubleheader at Concordia-Moorhead from the previous week. Clearly, the Oles have some makeup work to do. Fortunately, most other MIAC teams are in the same boat, and with their deep pitching staff, Coach Matt McDonald '87's squad may have an advantage.

Going into the Bethel game, they boasted the MIAC's top E.R.A.

However, the adverse weather will change the season's dynamics, as McDonald acknowledged. "When things get bunched up, it's kind of a crapshoot," he said. "You don't know how pitching matchups are going to be."

St. Olaf hosts its first home doubleheader of the season Saturday against Augsburg College in games beginning at 1 p.m.

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