Pitchers Bill Ferderer and Tommy Danczyk combined to pitch six scoreless innings and help lead the No. 13-ranked St. Thomas baseball team out of a 5-0 deficit, to a 15-5 victory over Macalester College Wednesday afternoon in the first game of a doubleheader at Koch Diamond.
After starting pitcher Steve Maher allowed four runs before recording an out in the second inning, coach Chris Olean put Ferderer on the mound. Ferderer worked the team out of a second-inning jam, the Tommie (10-5, 1-0) bats came alive to tie the game by the end of the third inning.
“In a seven-inning game, there’s not a lot of time. When you get down five-rip right out of the gate, you definitely need to stop the bleeding,” Olean said. “(Maher) is obviously one of our best pitchers, but he just didn’t have it today. (It was) a combination of some defensive stuff and some offensive stuff, and we got ourselves in a bit of a hole, so it was really big for those guys to come in and stop the bleeding and give ourselves a chance.”
After trailing 5-0 after the top of the second inning, the Tommies went on a 15-0 run to end the game. St. Thomas got one run in the bottom of the second, then capitalized on four Macalester (5-10, 0-3) errors in the third inning, equalling four runs to tie the game.
“Ferderer did a fantastic job stopping the bleeding,” first baseman Tyler Peterson said. “That’s where it starts, on the defense and the pitching, and once we saw he was going to give us a solid outing from there and hold them where they were at; it’s just about letting the bats do their thing.”
After tying the score at five in the third inning, St. Thomas finally took the lead when it exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth. Aided by doubles from second baseman Cory Quinlan and third baseman Jack Hogan, the Tommies took a six-run lead in the fifth and added four more runs in the sixth for the 10-run victory.
“We just knew we had to chip away, get runs every inning and then hold them. Things will take care of themselves if we stick to our approach, and then we’ll be able to put runs on the board, so we weren’t too worried about (a 5-0 deficit),” center fielder Ben Podobinski said.
The win gives the Tommies their first MIAC victory of the season as they try to capture their 11th consecutive conference title.
“We want to go 20-0 in the conference. No team has ever done that before, and that’s our number one goal right now, that’s what we’re focused on. So that’s the first stepping stone right now, and then hopefully we’ll go from there to the regionals and then the World Series if we can make it,” Podobinski said.
St. Thomas and Macalester began playing the second game of the doubleheader, but play was suspended due to darkness. Peterson hit a solo home run in the first inning to give the Tommies an early lead. St. Thomas led Macalester 4-1 when play was suspended in the seventh inning.
“We’re happy to get a game in, and it was kind of a push to get the field ready. It was a lot of work and a lot of hours on the field in the last two days just to play this,” Olean said.
“Obviously these aren’t the most ideal conditions for baseball, but it beats any day at work,” Peterson said. “We have high expectations, but you can only get the first one, right? You can only take it one at a time, so we got that first one out of the way – that’s a good start – and once we finish this second one up, we’ll have two in a row and from there the ball is rolling.”
St. Thomas is scheduled to host Hamline in a doubleheader Saturday, but Olean said his team needs to improve as it heads into the heart of its conference schedule.
“Our goal is to just keep playing better as we go. We are not playing at our best right now, there is no doubt. I mean, we have some things going right, but we’re still not really firing the way we can,” Olean said. “(We have a) very, very talented team, but we’re just trying to get them to play a full seven innings, a full nine innings, not take innings off, don’t lay off the gas pedal. We want to continue to play hard all the way through.
Jacob Sevening can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.