The St. Thomas baseball team picked up two close wins at home (8-7, 3-1) Thursday, April 21, against Augsburg.
Both teams were playing to get a leg up in the MIAC, and the Tommies “really needed the win,” freshman catcher John Dorgan said.
“These two wins definitely helped us,” Dorgan said. “Winning these games put us higher up in the MIAC standings, and that is motivation enough.”
The first game started off slow with no runs and few hits in the first three innings.
“Augsburg has two hitters [who] can really hurt you,” coach Chris Olean said. “We were really trying to not let them get a home run off us today.”
Augsburg got on the board first in the fourth inning, using a double from designated heavy hitter Adam Seamen to rally off four runs.
Coming back strong, the Tommies started the bottom of the fourth inning with a double from Dorgan and a triple from left fielder Taylor Rahm, using the momentum to post a five-run inning.
“Overall the team keeps getting better,” Olean said. “Hitting, we have just been doing enough, some clutch hits and a little bit of small ball today to get us through.”
The Auggies loaded the bases in the sixth inning but only managed to score one run off a single from fielder Brent Kolbow.
“We have been pitching pretty well as far as throwing strikes,” Olean said. “Our defense has really been coming around. We haven’t been giving the other team as many runs.”
The Tommies started the sixth inning with two walks and an RBI single from shortstop Tim Kahle, but the Auggies were able to score two runs and push themselves ahead of the Tommies in the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Auggies right fielder Alec Johnson dropped a pop fly, allowing Rahm to score the game-tying run. Center fielder Matt McQuillan broke the tie, hitting a walk-off single over the pitcher’s head and into center field.
“We should have played much better the first game. We were fortunate to come out with a win,” Olean said. “But they didn’t quit. They kept battling, and that’s all I can ask for.”
St. Thomas came out of the starting blocks stronger in the second game. The Tommies shut down the Auggies in the first inning and scored a run off a single from Dorgan.
“We were definitely pumped up after the first game, especially with that walk-off ending,” Dorgan said. ”It shouldn’t have come down to that, but since it did, it definitely motivated us.”
The Tommies came out even stronger in the second inning, scoring two runs off four singles and a hit batter from a wild pitch.
“The guys around me are all good hitters,” Dorgan said. “I don’t feel that much pressure because I know the guy behind me is going to get a hit or the guy behind him will.”
Augsburg responded in the third inning with a run off a Seamen single, but it proved to be the last run of the game.
The Tommies will play at 1 p.m. Monday, April 25, at St. Scholastica.
Dan Fastner can be reached at email@example.com.