As Brady Field said, “It’s always tough against the Johnnies,” and the junior catcher couldn’t be more right as the Johnnies snapped the No. 1-ranked Tommies’ 13-game winning streak Wednesday afternoon at Koch Diamond.
“They’re always a pesky team,” Field said. “You love playing them and you hate playing them.”
St. Thomas (16-2, 3-1 MIAC) dropped the first game of the doubleheader 2-1. But in game two, the Tommies pieced together three runs in the fifth inning off a wild pitch and two sacrifice flies to sneak by the Johnnies (11-12, 3-1) for a 3-2 win.
Senior All-American Matt Schuld carried the Tommies in game two. He pitched a complete game giving up two runs early but settled down to scatter four hits and improve to 4-0 on the season.
“I just knew I had to buckle down and my arm loosened up a bit,” Schuld said. “It was those leadoff walks that really killed me. I knew I had to come right at them.”
Field said the team just came out flat in the first game and it wasn’t until the fifth inning in game two when the Tommie bats finally came alive.
Senior Tom Wippler literally took one for the team in the bottom of the fifth getting beaned in the hand by a pitch. Then after a Roy Larson double and a wild pitch, Wippler slid into home beating the tag to cut the Johnnies’ lead to 2-1.
A sacrifice fly from Charles Bruchu knocking in Larson and another sacrifice fly from Field that drove home Drew Creminsino put the Tommies ahead 3-2 for good.
“When you come from behind, you know how to win,” Field said. “It’s the senior leadership that gets things done and being able to win close games will help us further on down the road.”
The Tommies play a doubleheader 1 p.m. Saturday at Bethel.
Shane Kitzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org