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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Guess what? Baseball splits two

< only slightly alter a famous line from the opium-addicted poet Samuel Coleridge, “Cobbers, Cobbers everywhere, but not a one to sweep.  Or get swept by.  Or any MIAC opponent for that matter.”  Alas, the Carleton baseball team (11-22, 7-9 MIAC) has neither swept nor been swept in quite some time, fighting their way to two more split doubleheaders this week to bring their streak to seven straight.  Indeed, the ongoing streak makes for quite the albatross around the collective neck of the Knights, whose playoff hopes have been dimming with each missed opportunity for a sweep.

On Sunday, the Knights visited Macalester’s new baseball field, which closely resembles a prison. The Knights’ reception was made all the more grim by the Scots’ ace James Murrey, who limited the Knights to one run on five hits in the opener.  The only run that Carleton pushed across came on sophomore Erik Fabry’s solo blast over the right-field wall to lead off the fifth inning.  The Knights had their chances, but left four runners in scoring position, and fell by a tally of 3-1.

The team’s dormant bats snapped to life in game two, when Paul Dimick ’12 went the distance for his second complete game of the season and led the Knights to an 8-3 triumph.  After some initial turbulence in the first two innings, Dimick found his rhythm and put zeroes up on the scoreboard the rest of the way.  Run support was no longer an issue once the Knights broke through against Mac starter Alex Ingram, and proceeded to mash against the Scots’ shaky bullpen.

As if the Knights needed any further motivation to beat up on Olaf, entering Tuesday’s Senior Day festivities the Oles were the only MIAC opponent that the Knights seniors had yet to beat in their tenure at Carleton.  It would take two games before the seniors could cross that off their bucket list though, as the Oles stormed to a lopsided 13-2 win in the first bout.

In the nightcap, Carleton caught some lucky breaks and made some big plays to attain a white-knuckle 5-4 win over the Oles- only the program’s second win against the cross-town rivals since 1995. The Knights scored what would prove to be the deciding run on a balk in the fourth inning that outfitted Grant Bowen ’11 with a free pass from third to home. Sophomores Alex Wirta and Kiyo Gomi stood out as having exceptional performances in the game.  Gomi preserved the win by striking out five Oles in three innings of tense one-hit relief.  At the dish, Wirta went 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs, but it was his defensive play on the game’s final out that saved the game.  With the tying run on third and two outs, the Oles’ David Salzwedel sent a chopper to the hole that Wirta backhanded and fired across the diamond to snipe Salzwedel by only a fraction of a step.  Head basketball coach Guy Kalland described the play best when he said, “in my sport they call that a dunk in traffic!”

Wirta and the Knights will try to dunk on Gustavus this weekend before traveling to Bethel next week to wrap up their regular season.  The Knights have one set of home games remaining, scheduled for May 8 against the fearsome North Central University.

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