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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Baseball continues conference slide with rough week

<me of the Carleton baseball team’s stiffest competition of the last week has occurred off the field, as they have battled the formidable tandem of Mother Nature and Old Man Winter. Snowfall over the weekend caused the Knights’ matchup with Saint John’s to be pushed back to Sunday, thereby canceling the contest against St. Scholastica that had originally been slated for the Sabbath. For an encore, the Witch of November came stealing about seven months early as Wednesday’s game against Concordia-Moorhead was postponed to Thursday.

Despite the meteorological turmoil, the Knights (9-18, 3-9 MIAC) did find time to play five games this week, including unfortunate doubleheader sweeps at the hands of the Johnnies and Cobbers that have put their playoff chances on life support. Expect the team to claw to the bitter end, but as Leslie Nielson would put it, “it’s fourth and ten and (the Knights) are facing a full-court press.”

Sunday’s road games against Saint John’s featured two teams in the middle of the MIAC standings, with each one looking for that elusive sweep to turn their season around. Sadly, it was the Johnnies who prevailed in both ends of the twinbill, propelling themselves into third place in the conference standings while Carleton has plummeted to the brink of elimination from the playoff hunt.

Offense was in short supply in game one, as the maize and blue managed a scant four hits. Meanwhile, the Johnnies scored early and often against Jacob Anderson ‘11, accruing an 8-0 lead after four innings. Eventually, the Knights were able to piece together a five-run rally in the sixth inning, but it was too little, too late, as they lost 8-5.

In game two, the Knights turned to their stud southpaw Paul Dimick ’12, a reliable source of lights-out pitching all year. Dimick did not disappoint, but the dominant lefty was not given enough run support, as the Johnnies held on for a 3-1 win.  It was Dimick’s second straight complete game, and his fourth outing in a row in which he has surrendered two earned runs or less.

Carleton was able to tune up for their crucial gauntlet of upcoming games with a non-conference bout against Crown College on Monday. Danny Shields ‘14 turned in a brilliant pitching performance as well as a couple sterling defensive plays to key the 6-2 win for the Knights. Right fielder Patrick Philley ‘12 looked as though he had regained his stroke from last season, smashing three hits in the contest, while Alex Wirta ‘12, Kevin Johnson ‘14, and Erik Fabry ‘12 each added a pair of base knocks.

Unfortunately, the Knights left their hitting shoes behind for the long trip up to Moorhead. Carleton managed just three total runs in yesterday’s doubleheader, once again wasting strong pitching as the Cobbers swept, 3-1 and 4-2.

Anderson Cole ’14 was effective in the opener, permitting just two earned runs through six innings of work, but the offense couldn’t support him, stranding nine runners on base and spoiling two-hit efforts by Wirta, Johnson, and Ray Yong ’14.

In the nightcap, the Knights managed just five hits as a team and a three-run Concordia third was all the Cobbers needed to harvest the sweep. Jackson Tears ’14 provided the silver lining for Carleton fans, tossing four strong innings of relief.

The Knights return home from Moorhead to host the Macalester Scots at Mel Taube Field this Saturday. The occasion not only marks a heated grudge match, but also Senior Day for the quartet of Knights set to graduate. The ceremonial first pitch is set for 1 p.m. and tickets are still available.

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