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SJU Baseball Opens MIAC Tourney Thursday Night vs. Bethel
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SJU Baseball Opens MIAC Tourney Thursday Night vs. Bethel


Third-seeded Saint John’s baseball opens the double-elimination MIAC Tournament against second-seeded Bethel at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at CHS Field in St. Paul. – Listen Live (WBHR-660 AM) | Live Stats | Live Video | MIAC Tournament Website/Tickets

TICKET INFORMATION: The St. Paul Saints have full oversight of ticketing. Admission will be charged by the day. The rate is $12 for adult and $7 for any student with ID (5 years old and younger are free). One ticket is good for the entire day of games. There is no senior discount. MIAC Passes will be honored. No other passes will be accepted. – Purchase Tickets

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Thursday, May 9

G1: (No. 1) St. Olaf vs. (No. 4) Saint Mary’s, 2:30 p.m.

G2: (No. 2) Bethel vs. (No. 3) Saint John’s, 7 p.m.

Friday, May 10

G3: G1 Loser vs. G2 Loser, 12 p.m.

G4: G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner, 3 p.m.

G5: G4 Loser vs. G3 Winner, 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 11

G6: G4 Winner vs. G5 Winner, 3 p.m.

G7: 25 minutes after G6, if necessary

NEW CHANGES: Two changes to the league policy were made by the MIAC baseball coaches ahead of this year’s conference tournament:

-The 10-run rule is now in effect for the MIAC Tournament (must complete seven innings, like the regular season).

-The home team will be designated to the higher seed throughout the tournament.

A LOOK AT THE JOHNNIES: Saint John’s (24-14, 13-7 MIAC) dedicated its new clubhouse, celebrated Senior Day and ended its regular-season schedule with a doubleheader split against St. Olaf this past Saturday (May 4) in Collegeville.

The Johnnies out-hit St. Olaf by a 9-6 margin but left nine men on base in a 2-1 loss. Game two flipped as the Oles totaled 11 hits and left 13 men on base as SJU earned the split with a 5-4 win in the nightcap.

STO, which had already secured the MIAC regular-season title and No. 1 seed in this week’s MIAC Tournament, batted .208 (5-for-24) with runners in scoring position and 1-for-17 (.059) with two outs on the afternoon.

Game 1 (St. Olaf 2, at Saint John’s 1)

Senior right fielder Rodney Erickson (St. Paul, Minn./Woodbury) and senior second baseman Owen Dauk (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) singled to start the bottom of the first inning and advanced thanks to a successful double steal, but SJU failed to bring in a run. 

The rest of the game, which took only 90 minutes to complete, was snappy until STO gained a 1-0 lead on an RBI single from its No. 9 hitter, Matthew Oberlander, in the top of the fifth inning. The Johnnies answered to tie it, however, in the bottom half. Junior first baseman Jackson Peter (Elrosa, Minn./Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa) doubled off the right-field fence with one out and scored on junior catcher Blake Mellgren’s (Northfield, Minn.) RBI single in the next at-bat. SJU missed another opportunity when it left the bases loaded four batters later.

A chopper through the right side from Sam Lavin and a double down the left-field line by Joey Glampe scored what proved to be the Oles’ game-winning run in the sixth inning. SJU had the game-tying run on second base in both the sixth and seventh innings but could take score the equalizer.

Junior Connor Hartley (Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Rosemount) took the loss (6-3 record), allowing the two runs on six hits in six innings. He struck out four and did not issue a free pass.

Senior Quinn Krueger (Woodbury, Minn.) pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning in relief.

Game 2 (at Saint John’s 5, St. Olaf 4)

The Johnnies doubled their scoring output from game one with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning in game two thanks to a sacrifice fly from senior left fielder Jack Schleper (Shakopee, Minn.) and a two-out, RBI single off the bat of senior designated hitter Owen Best (Aurora, Colo./Regis Jesuit).

The Oles tied the game on a run-scoring double and RBI groundout in the top of the second, but Dauk gave the lead back to SJU with two-out, RBI double in the bottom half. 

St. Olaf proceeded to tie the game in the third inning and gained a 4-3 lead in the fourth, but left the bases loaded with one out.

Senior third baseman Joe Becker (New Prague, Minn.) walked with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, gained second base on a single from Schleper and scored on a double from Best to tie the game at 4-4. An RBI groundout from senior center fielder Jordan Amundson (Eden Prairie, Minn.) brought in Schleper for the go-ahead run.

Freshman Carter Theisen (Rosemount, Minn.) made the start and gave up the four runs on 10 hits in four innings for the no-decision. Three SJU relievers combined to allow one hit over the final five innings.

Sophomore Vinny Schleper (Shakopee, Minn.) posted two hitless innings and senior Wyatt Rudolf (Carver, Minn./Chanhassen) earned his first win of the season (1-2 record) with three strikeouts over the seventh and eighth innings.

Junior lefty Will Fazio (Minneapolis, Minn./Blake) collected a 1-2-3 ninth inning with two strikeouts for his first collegiate save.

ONE AWAY X2: Becker and Dauk are both one stat away from tying program records. Becker needs one RBI to tie the SJU single-season record of 52 set by Ryan Roder ’97 in 1997. He is also two home runs shy of the season record of 13 posted by former teammate Ethan Roe ’22 in 2021. The Johnnies’ all-time leader in career RBI (133), Becker is tied for third in school history in home runs (20) and doubles (39), third in total bases (282), fourth in runs scored (124), tied for sixth in hits (169) and seventh in walks (53).

Dauk is already SJU’s career leader in runs scored (154) and hit-by-pitch (69) and needs one walk to tie the program record of 82 owned by Casey Haugen ’07. Dauk is also approaching two of his own SJU single-season records. He needs to be plunked by a pitch two more times to break his mark of 20 set in 2021 and cross the plate six times to eclipse his record of 45 set last season. 

NO. 3 SEED: The Johnnies are making their 14th-consecutive appearance in the MIAC Tournament and the 16th overall since the format started in 2003. SJU is 20-23 in MIAC Tournament games with titles in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2019. 

The No. 3 seed is SJU’s fourth in the 16 appearances: 2007 (1-2 record), 2010 (0-2) and 2017 (0-2). Four of the six losses were decided by one run.

RBI OPPORTUNITIES: Saint John’s enters the MIAC Tournament batting .353 (138-for-391) with runners in scoring position this season. The Johnnies, however, are batting just .209 (9-for-43) with runners in scoring position and have left 39 men on base over their last five games (a 2-3 record). SJU batted only 1-for-23 (.043), as well as .135 (5-for-37) with runners on base and .182 (4-for-22) with two outs, in a pair of close losses – 6-4 to Concordia-Moorhead and 3-2 to Gustavus Adolphus – in the 2023 MIAC Tournament held in Collegeville.

MIAC STATS: St. Olaf ended the conference schedule as the league leader in four of the six major statistical categories in MIAC play (see below). Bethel (fielding percentage) and SJU (slugging percentage) were the other two.

Individually, Becker tied for first in MIAC play in runs scored (22), tied for second in both home runs (6) and RBI (24), was eighth in slugging percentage (.614) and ninth in total bases (43). Dauk led the conference in hit-by-pitch (10), tied for fourth in home runs (5), tied for fifth in stolen bases (7-for-7), tied for sixth in RBI (22) and was eighth in on-base percentage (.477). Schleper tied for fourth in doubles (8) and tied with Dauk for sixth in RBI (22). On the mound, Hartley tied for first in wins (5-1 record), was third among pitchers with 35 innings or more in ERA (4.00), tied for third in innings pitched (36.0) and tied for fourth in strikeouts (33). Senior Griffin Larson (Edina, Minn.) tied for third in wins (4-0 record) and was sixth in opponent batting average (.222).

Batting Average

1. STO, .336 (.321 overall)

3. SMU, .305 (.289 overall)

4. BU, .297 (.306 overall)

6. SJU, .294 (.294 overall)

Slugging Percentage

2. SJU, .496 (.482 overall)

3. STO, .453 (.438 overall)

5. BU, .438 (.459 overall)

7. SMU, .408 (.396 overall)

On-Base Percentage

1. STO, .408 (.403 overall)

2. BU, .403 (.406 overall)

5. SJU, .385 (.377 overall)

6. SMU, .384 (.386 overall)

ERA

1. STO, 3.82 (4.31 overall)

2. SMU, 3.98 (5.21 overall)

3. SJU, 4.63 (4.14 overall)

5. BU, 5.04 (6.39 overall)

Opponent Batting Average

1. STO, .254 (.260 overall)

2. SJU, .260 (.239 overall)

3. SMU, .263 (.289 overall)

5. BU, .266 (.299 overall)

Fielding Percentage

1. BU, .983 (.978 overall)

2. SMU, .975 (.960 overall)

6. STO, .958 (.956 overall)

8. SJU, .955 (.953 overall)

A LOOK AT THE ROYALS: Bethel (22-14, 13-7 MIAC) saw its nine-game win streak end with an 11-5 loss to split its non-conference doubleheader against Wisconsin-Stout last Saturday (May 4). Senior outfielder Matthew Carlsen leads the team in every offensive category: batting (.399), runs scored (37), hits (55), doubles (17), triples (2), home runs (7), RBI (35), slugging percentage (.703), on-base percentage (.485) and stolen bases (7). Graduate student John Solfest leads the Royals on the mound with a 5-4 record, 3.43 ERA, three complete games, three shutouts, 60.1 innings pitched (10 appearances/nine starts), 67 strikeouts and a .205 opponent batting average. Thursday night’s game is the first for BU away from Hargis Park since April 18 (10-4 and 15-6 losses at St. Olaf).

BACK ON APRIL 3: SJU mustered only three hits on the day but salvaged a doubleheader split with Bethel to open the 2024 MIAC schedule back on April 3 in Collegeville.

 

Bethel scored eight runs (five earned) – four in each of the first two innings – en route to an 8-1 win in game one. But while Solfest threw a nine-inning no-hitter in game two, he did not get the decision. Peter gave SJU the split with a two-out, walk-off single – the Johnnies’ first hit of the game – in the bottom of the 10th inning for the 1-0 victory.

 

The Johnnies batted .058 (3-for-52) on the afternoon, including going 1-for-10 with runners on base and 1-for-17 with two outs. BU did not fare much better as the visitors finished with a .161 average (10-for-62), including finishing 3-for-19 (.158) with runners in scoring position and 1-for-19 with two outs against SJU’s pitching staff, which posted 16 strikeouts and 13 walks in 17 innings.

Game 1 (Bethel 8, at Saint John’s 1)

The wind (NNW at 20 MPH), free passes and errors proved a disastrous combination for SJU in the first two innings of the opener. A pair of miscues, one of which was wind-aided, and two walks led to four runs (two earned) off senior pitcher Kody Dalen (Carver, Minn./Chanhassen) in the top of the first inning. The Royals tacked on four more (three earned) in the second.

 

Schleper launched his first home run of the season and 12th of his career with one out in the bottom of the fifth for SJU’s lone run. A leadoff single from Dauk in the fourth was the Johnnies’ other hit. SJU recorded five lineouts at the plate.

 

Dalen took the loss, his first of the season and fourth of his career, allowing the eight runs (five earned) on six hits in three innings. He struck out three and walked three.

 

Krueger allowed two hits over the final four scoreless innings of relief.

Game 2 (at Saint John’s 1, Bethel 0; 10 inn.)

Dauk started the bottom of the 10th inning with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Becker and advanced to third on a groundout from Amundson. Peter took his first pitch for a strike before he ripped a groundball past the out-stretched glove of BU shortstop Zach Thompson through the left side of the infield to score Dauk from third. The walk-off hit was Peter’s second at home this season. His first was an RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning of SJU’s 3-2 win over Wisconsin-Superior in Feb. 26’s season opener.

 

Solfest issued a leadoff, four-pitch walk to Amundson in the second inning and plunked Becker on a 2-0 pitch with one out in the fourth. Other than that, the fifth-year pitcher cruised to the nine-inning no-hitter, throwing 103 pitches (68 for strikes). SJU recorded four outs on the first pitch of the at-bat and three more on the second against Solfest.

 

A trio of Johnnies, however, combined for the two-hit shutout. Larson made the start and gave up a single in the fourth inning for the no-decision. He struck out seven, but walked seven (one intentionally), in five innings of work. 

 

An infield single was the lone blemish for senior Jeremy Klick (Maple Grove, Minn.), who followed with four scoreless innings and two strikeouts, while Hartley struck out three batters in the 10th inning for the win.

SERIES HISTORY: SJU is 47-32 against Bethel since 1988, including a 19-17 edge in the series over the last 36 meetings overall since 2009. The Johnnies are 2-5 all-time against the Royals in the MIAC Tournament (0-2 at CHS Field, 0-1 in Cold Spring, 0-1 in Collegeville, 2-1 in Minnetonka) with losses in each of the last four, postseason meetings.

A LOOK AT THE OLES: St. Olaf (27-12, 17-3 MIAC) won nine-straight games before dropping three of its last five games, including last Saturday’s split at SJU. Senior Sam Lavin leads the Oles in batting (.390), hits (57), triples (2), home runs (6), RBI (43), slugging percentage (.610) and on-base percentage (.480). On the mound, Lavin is 6-2 with a 3.15 ERA, .207 opponent batting average and 78 strikeouts in 54.1 innings pitched (12 appearances/nine starts). He went 2-for-8 with two runs scored and did not pitch against the Johnnies on May 4.

SERIES HISTORY: The Johnnies are 20-7 against the Oles since 2010, including wins in 14 of the last 18 meetings. SJU is 2-2 against STO in the MIAC Tournament: 2003 (L, 3-4 in Dundas); 2007 (L, 3-4 in Northfield); and 2019 (W, 6-3 and W, 8-4 at CHS Field).

A LOOK AT THE CARDINALS: Saint Mary’s (20-16, 13-7 MIAC) closed the regular-season schedule with a 3-5 record since splitting the April 20 doubleheader in Collegeville. The Cardinals claimed the fourth and final playoff spot with a 7-1 win at Concordia in game two, after dropping the opener by a 6-2 score, on Monday (May 6) in Moorhead. Junior Riley Bauman leads the team in batting (.364), hits (47), triples (3), home runs (7), slugging percentage (.643) and on-base percentage (.450). Senior Cameron Weber is second with a .349 batting average and 44 hits, but touts a team-best 29 runs scored and 28 (28-for-33) stolen bases. Senior Addison Hochevar is 5-4 with a 4.01 ERA, three complete games, two shutouts and 30 strikeouts in 51.2 innings (10 starts). Senior Dylan Westcott is 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 42.0 innings (11 appearances/three starts), while sophomore Eric Stomberg is 5-2 with a 3.03 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 38.2 innings (nine appearances/eight starts).

APRIL 20: SJU closed its third-straight MIAC doubleheader by 10-running the opposition for a split with Saint Mary’s three weeks ago (April 20) in Collegeville. SMU handed the Johnnies a 5-2 defeat in game one, but the home team responded with five home runs, including a walk-off grand slam from Dauk to invoke the 10-run rule in the eighth inning, for a 13-3 victory in the nightcap.

The grand slam was the Johnnies’ third in the last seven games and Dauk’s second homer of the contest. He ended the day 3-for-6 with the two homers, seven RBI and three runs scored.

SJU recorded 16 strikeouts in 15 innings and held the Cardinals to 1-for-18 with two outs at the plate on the day.

Game 1 (Saint Mary’s 5, at Saint John’s 2)

The strike zone shrunk for Klick in the third inning as a pair of walks that looked to be strikeouts looking reached and eventually led to two runs for SMU.

Riley Bauman hit the first pitch of the fourth inning over the fence in right-center and a squeeze bunt following a triple gave the visitors a 4-0 lead. 

Schleper put SJU on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the bottom half of the fourth inning and Peter scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Erickson in the fifth to cut the Johnnies’ deficit to 4-2.

Cam Miller doubled to start the sixth inning, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a wild pitch to add some insurance for Saint Mary’s and prove to be the game’s final run.

Klick made his first start of the season and took the loss (1-2 record), allowing four runs on six hits in four innings of work. He struck out three and issued four free passes (two walks and two hit batsmen). 

Krueger pitched the final three innings in relief and gave up the final run on one hit with two strikeouts.

The Cardinals’ bottom three batters in the lineup combined to go 5-for-7 with two RBI and four runs scored.

Game 2 (at Saint John’s 13, Saint Mary’s 3; 8 inn.)

Best gave SJU its first lead of the day with a solo home run, his second of the season, in the second inning. The Johnnies tacked on three more runs in the third inning thanks to a two-run blast from Becker – his 11th of the season and 20th of his career – and back-to-back singles from Amundson and Schleper. Becker led the Johnnies with a 4-for-7 performance on the afternoon.

Bauman put Saint Mary’s on the scoreboard with another leadoff homer, this time in the sixth inning, and another run cut the Johnnies’ lead to 4-2. An unearned run in the seventh inning made it a one-run ballgame. That is, until the Johnnies ended the game with nine-straight runs.

Dauk launched his first home run of the game, a three-run shot with one out in the seventh and Amundson answered two batters later with a solo homer, his second of the season and 12th of his career, to give SJU an 8-3 cushion.

The Johnnies scored their ninth run on a passed ball before loading the bases for Dauk’s grand slam. The long ball came on the first pitch of the at-bat and served as Dauk’s fourth homer of the season and 15th of his career.

Hartley improved to 5-2 this spring with the win, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits. He struck out nine and walked two. Fazio pitched a scoreless eighth inning with two strikeouts in relief.

SERIES HISTORY: SJU is 58-44 against Saint Mary’s on the baseball diamond since 1974, including wins in 13 of the last 17 meetings. The Johnnies are 3-1 against the Cardinals in the MIAC Tournament: 2012 (W, 4-2 in Minnetonka); 2014 (L, 0-3 in Minnetonka); and 2016 (W, 4-2 and W, 11-4 in Collegeville).