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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Baseball caps season with splits versus Olies, Auggies

<ue “Roadhawk” fashion, the Carleton baseball team spent the week earning hard-fought splits on the road against Augsburg and St. Olaf to conclude their season. In both doubleheaders, the Knights rebounded from losses in the opener with booming offensive production in the nightcaps. The Knights finished their season with a 12-23 overall record, and fared 6-14 against MIAC opposition.

Last Thursday, Carleton paid a visit to Parade Stadium to go head-to-head with Augsburg. In game one, the Knights leapt to a three-run lead in their first at-bat, highlighted by a perfectly executed squeeze bunt from Adam Zweber ‘13. Unfortunately, the early lead was not built to last in what was an uncharacteristically shaky outing for the typically brilliant Paul Dimick ‘12.  Three errors did not help Dimick’s cause, as he lasted only four innings while surrendering eight runs (though only five were earned). Meanwhile, Carleton’s bats were mostly listless, accounting for only five hits total. Erik Fabry ‘12 went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, but it wasn’t enough, as the Knights fell 8-5.

The squad turned things around in time to salvage a split, paying homage to the stadium’s namesake by parading across home plate in droves, and going on to win 12-6. The dozen runs of offense represented a season high, while five different players enjoyed multi-hit efforts. Both teams lit up the scoreboard in the early-going, and the Auggies clung to a 4-2 lead entering the third. In that frame, the Knights reclaimed the lead thanks to a mammoth RBI double to deep center from Grant Bowen ‘11 and a two-run single from Fabry. A fourth-inning double from Alex Wirta ’12 plated two more runs, to put the Knights ahead 7-4.  Augsburg pulled to within 7-6 in the sixth to make things interesting, but a two-run double from Kiyo Gomi ’12 keyed a five-run seventh inning that put the game out of reach. Danny Shields ’14 provided six innings of lockdown relief pitching to pick up the win.

Both fans and pro scouts were out in full force for Saturday’s rivalry games and season finale at St. Olaf. In game one, Carleton had the unenviable task of facing the MIAC’s premier pitcher in Ole ace Ben Hughes. Undaunted, the Knight’s looked eager to rise to the challenge and jumped to 1-0 lead in their first at-bat. Sadly, that was one of the Knights’ lone highlights, as the rest of the game was plagued by both mental and physical mistakes. In the sloppy affair, both teams combined for six errors, while only one run for either team was earned. Ultimately, Carleton’s miscues cost them a shot at upsetting Hughes, who used a lethal fastball and slider combo to rack up 10 strikeouts while leading his team to a 4-2 triumph.

As they had done two days prior, the Carleton offense came to life in game two, putting up eight runs in its first three trips to the plate. Ray Yong ‘14 delivered RBI doubles in each of the first two innings, while a two-run blast off the hot bat of Bowen keyed a three-run spurt in the second.

Despite being spotted the sizable lead, Jake “The Snake” Anderson ‘11 could not slither out of trouble later that inning, as the Oles answered with seven runs of their own to cut the deficit to one.  Ted Harmon ‘13, Gomi, and Dimick were all summoned from the bullpen to close out the game and successfully stopped the bleeding.  Just for good measure, the Knights added some insurance runs to preserve the win, with Bowen smashing a two-run triple in the fifth.

Although the Knights finished the year with a subpar record, the program has good reason to be enthused about the future.  The team is especially encouraged by its star-studded freshman class, which included several players who made an immediate impact.  Jeff Dsida, Ray Yong, and Kevin Johnson all batted comfortably above .300 while anchoring key spots in the lineup.  The pitching staff also relied heavily on the likes of Anderson Cole, Danny Shields, and Jackson Tears, who all enjoyed stellar rookie campaigns on the bump. The club also figures to return several other starters, including their best overall hitter and pitcher. Boldly assuming they don’t get drafted by major league teams, Wirta projects to once again serve as the rock in the middle of the lineup, while Dimick looks to shoulder the lion’s share of pitching duties in 2012.

Cy Grearby is a member of the men’s baseball team.

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