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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Baseball misses playoffs with loss to Bethel

< says in The Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”  Not that the Carleton baseball team was on the brink of insanity, but for some time they had been clinging to the hope that they could squeeze their way into the MIAC playoff picture for a second consecutive year.

For that hope to come to fruition, a Rube Goldberg-like sequence of things would have needed to go exactly right for the Knights this week.  Alack, the Knights had their hearts ripped out Temple-of-Doom-style on Wednesday when their sweep at the hands of the Bethel Royals doused any postseason aspirations the team might have had. 

The Knights finished their MIAC campaign 8-12, and will tote a 12-25 overall record into Saturday’s season finale, when the team hosts North Central University.

The Knights spent the weekend battling Gustavus Adolphus College to their eighth straight split-decision.  The opener featured a stellar complete-game pitching performance from Aaron Troyansky that led the Knights to a 6-4 win.  In the fifth inning the Knights had ducks on the pond for Clay Dewey-Valentine, who came through with a three-run double that would secure the victory.

Troyansky didn’t pitch game two, but the Texan might have felt at home in the shootout that ensued, when the Knights and Gusties combined for 29 runs on 33 hits.  Unfortunately, it was Carleton that fell victim in the firefight, losing the high-scoring affair 15-14.  Both teams came out with guns blazin’, stockpiling seven runs apiece through just three innings.  The Knights’ second inning was highlighted by a three-run homer off the bat of Russ Fujisawa.  Though Carleton toted an 11-8 lead into the bottom of the fifth, the bullpen would fall apart, permitting a seven-run Gusties surge that put the game away.

The Knights nearly mounted a valiant comeback, putting up a good fight in their last at-bat.  Alex Wirta teed off with a two-run bomb to left, and David Ames sent a two-out double the other way to pull the Knights within one and to put the tying run in scoring position.  The Gusties averted a total collapse, however, by getting Adam Zweber to fly out to end the game.

The Knights went into Arden Hills on Wednesday needing a sweep of Bethel to retain any chance of securing a semi-miraculous playoff berth. Pitching on only three days rest, Troyansky tossed yet another complete game, but the Knights lost 2-1 in a tough-luck pitcher’s duel.  Troyansky surrendered only three hits, but the Royals pieced together two of those hits together in the first inning for what would be the winning runs.  The Knights collected only four hits themselves, with their lone run coming off of a Wirta double in the third inning.

The Knights could not salvage their customary split in game two, being beaten 7-3.  Bethel leapt to a four-run lead early on, and once again kept Carleton’s bats in check.

The Knights will conclude their 2010 season from the comfort of Mel Taube Field this Saturday when the North Central University Rams come into town.  The last first pitch of the season is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.

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