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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Relievers shut out Scots for first sweep this season

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The Carleton College baseball team held its home opener on Saturday and remained atop the MIAC standings following a pair of thrilling come-from-behind victories over visiting Macalester College. Hayden Tsutsui’s (Jr./Northridge, Calif./Chatsworth) two-out grand slam capped a seven-run rally as the Knights prevailed in game one, 9-8. Carleton then erased deficits on three occasions—including once in extra innings—to take the nightcap by a 7-6 tally in 12 innings.

“It was a great day at the ballyard today,” said Carleton head coach Aaron Rushing. “Beautiful weather and two tough teams.

“The guys played hard and stayed focus throughout, despite falling behind early in both games. We got some timely hitting and played our best defense of the season. The MIAC is so tough that it’s always a big deal when you can win two.”

Macalester (6-10, 0-6 MIAC) appeared to be poised to take the opener when catcher Tom Forster belted a two-run home run to straightaway center, giving the visitors an 8-2 lead midway through the sixth inning of the seven-inning contest.

A RBI groundout inched the Knights closer, but they still faced a five-run deficit with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Carleton loaded the bases after Griffin Bolte (Fy./Portland, Ore./Lincoln) and Jordan Zoellmer (Jr./Richfield, Minn./Richfield) coaxed back-to-back two-out walks. Cody Bohlman (Jr./Irvine, Calif./University) continued the rally with his two-run single to left field, and Macalester made a pitching change.

Ben Frerichs (Fy./Alexandria, Va./St. Stephens and St. Agnus) drew another walk against the new Scots’ reliever, putting the tying runs on base. Tsutsui wasted little time crushing a ball well beyond the centerfield wall—his team-leading fifth home run of the season—to finish off the Knights’ biggest offensive inning of the season.

Jack Violetta (Jr./Green Bay, Wis./Bay Port) picked up the win and improved to 2-2 on the year, while Gar Crowell (Jr./Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park) pitched the seventh for his first save of the season.

In game two, Macalester held early leads of 2-0 and 5-3, but Carleton scratched out an unearned run in the fourth and got a two-out RBI single from Logan Crowl (Fy./ Chicago, Ill./Univ. of Chicago Lab School) to knot the score at 5-5 in the fifth inning.

It became a battle of the bullpens, and no one pitched better than the Knights’ Alec Lawler (Fy./ Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Shanghai American School), who tossed 6.0 scoreless frames of one-hit relief with five strikeouts.

Doubles by Alex Baretta and Sam Berk gave the Scots a 6-5 lead in the top of the 10th, but Bolte led off the bottom of the frame with a game-tying home run against reliever Brendan O’Connor.

Two innings later, Bolte smacked a single to right field, and when the ball was misplayed the Carleton outfielder raced around to third base. With the infield and outfield now drawn in, Zoelmer’s long flyball to right field went into the scorebook as a game-winning single.

All told, the Carleton bullpen allowed one run on five hits over 9.0 innings of work. Josh Johnson (Fy./ St. Paul, Minn./St. Paul Academy) picked up the win with his 1-2-3 inning of work.

“Tremendous effort today by the relievers,” Rushing said. “A fun way to begin the holiday weekend!”

Carleton no longer has games scheduled for this coming Tuesday after cross-town rival St. Olaf College cancelled the remainder of the Oles’ season. The Knights next contests will now be Saturday, April 11 when Carleton hosts Bethel at 1 p.m. Live video will be available via Knights Online.

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