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ISSUE 121 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/2/2008

Pitchers dominant in wins

By Eric Monek Anderson
Sports Editor

Friday, May 2, 2008

With their fourth straight doubleheader sweep and ninth straight overall win, all in the MIAC, the St. Olaf baseball team climbed to second in the conference standings and moved within one Augsburg loss of clinching a playoff berth. Wednesday's home games against Macalester, won 10-0 and 9-0, crowned an undefeated week.

Paul Johnson '08 threw six innings of shutout ball in the first game, scattering two hits and striking out six. Three Oles -- Todd Mathison '09, Luke Gagnon '08 and Tyler Jones '10, the reigning MIAC Position Player of the Week -- each went 2-for-3.

In the second game, Brandon Agneberg '11 picked up his third win and helped St. Olaf to its third straight shutout. Nick Fuerst '09, Carson Jones '10 and Tyler Jones all went 2-for-3.

St. Olaf's pitching staff has now allowed one run or less in five of its last six games, including three consecutive shutouts in which they've outscored opponents 37-0. With two games remaining, the team's ERA stands at 3.55, as compared to the 7.78 mark their opponents have posted. Mathison, who pitches and plays third base, attributed the win streak to balanced all-around play.

"Confidence is playing a big role right now," Mathison said. "A lot of guys have more at-bats under their belts. Every single person in the lineup goes up thinking they're going to get a hit.

"Our pitchers are going right after hitters, that's why we're seeing these shutouts."

The wins followed up an unusual doubleheader with Carleton that spanned three days and featured three separate delays. Originally scheduled for Saturday, the games were delayed until Sunday, but weather only allowed the teams to play one game, which St. Olaf won 2-1.

Mathison threw his third complete game of the year, scattering just four hits as Tyler Jones led the way with two hits. Jones is streaking along with his team, as he currently maintains an eight-game hit streak. The second game was then delayed from Monday until Tuesday, when the Oles' well-rested bats smashed Carleton 18-0. St. Olaf's offense used a four-run first and a nine-run third inning to easily put away the Knights.

Mathison had three hits and two RBIs in the blowout victory. Tyler Johnson '09 also had three hits, and was one of four St. Olaf pitchers to contribute to the shutout. Alex Sommer '09 evened his record at 4-4 with four innings of work to start the ballgame. Coach Matt McDonald '87 was able to nearly empty his bench and rest his starters after the Oles jumped out to the early 13-0 lead.

"Instead of scoring with homers or doubles, we're using our speed to get guys in and putting up the same amount of runs," Mathison said.

They finish up the season with a doubleheader at St. John's Saturday, and a single makeup game at Bethel next Tuesday. The MIAC Tournament will take place May 9-11 in Northfield and Dundas.

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