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ISSUE 121 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/25/2008

Hitters clutch in walkoff win

By Eric Monek Anderson
Sports Editor

Friday, April 25, 2008

A week with eight games in five days came to a joyful end as the St. Olaf baseball team swept Gustavus Wednesday at Mark Almli Field, winning 8-1 and 6-5 in a thriller.

Gustavus came into the game first in the MIAC with a 10-1 league record. St. Olaf entered Wednesday's play in fourth, just a half game behind Hamline.

St. Olaf quickly handed Gustavus their second loss, winning 8-1 behind 13 hits and a stellar performance from ace Paul Johnson '08. Johnson threw a complete game, allowing seven hits, zero walks and striking out nine hitters. He is now 3-1 on the season. Five St. Olaf hitters notched at least two hits, including four of the last five hitters in the lineup. A four-run second inning after Johnson escaped a jam propelled the Oles to victory.

Wednesday's second game didn't start off as well, with starter Andy Dimick '08 allowing four runs in the first. The lead swelled to 5-0 before the Oles returned three runs in the third, the first two on a booming double by cleanup hitter Sam Baltes '10. From there the Oles remained silent until the seventh against a Gustavus reliever.

Leadoff hitter Josh Maus '08 singled to start off the inning. Tyler Jones '10 followed with a single before his twin Carson Jones '10 used a sacrifice bunt to put both in scoring position. Baltes hit into a fielder's choice, leaving Nick Fuerst '09 up with two on and two out. Fuerst, leading the team in hitting with a .460 average, knocked a double down the right field line to score both runners. After a pinch runner, co-captain Luke Gagnon '08 singled home the winning run for the walkoff and the Oles' fourth win in two days.

Alex Sommer '09 got the win after an inning of relief. Brandon Agneberg '11 also threw three scoreless innings.

Last Saturday they kicked off the intense stretch with a regularly-scheduled doubleheader against Hamline at Midway Stadium, home of the semi-pro St. Paul Saints, losing 4-3 in game one and winning 14-2 in the second behind 17 hits.

After a night on the road, St. Olaf played two tight games with Concordia in Moorhead, losing 3-0 in the first game before Sommer threw a three-hit shutout in the second for a 5-0 Ole win.

The Oles busted out with an outstanding offensive performance at home against St. Mary's as they won 21-2 and 9-4. Todd Mathison '09 and Erik Olson '11 gained wins on the mound. Tyler Jones went 8-for-10 with six RBIs in the series.

Four other Oles also contributed three RBIs in the first game, including Justin Tobias '09, who hit a pinch-hit three-run homer in the fourth inning. Baltes also homered in the first game. Catcher Pat Wadzinski '09 had three RBIs to lead the Oles in the second game.

St. Olaf boasts a 9-4 MIAC record, leaving them safely in third place in the conference with seven games remaining against teams all in the bottom half of the standings. The top four teams in the MIAC make the playoffs.

The team, coached by Matt McDonald '87, plays its next doubleheader Saturday at Carleton, beginning at 1 p.m. Their next home games will take place next Wednesday against Macalester.

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