Pro scouts came to Koch Diamond Sunday afternoon to see St. Olaf starting pitcher Ben Hughes, but St. Thomas senior pitcher Kris Edwards stole the show as the Tommies defeated the Oles in a doubleheader 11-1, 9-2.
Hughes, whom St. Thomas coach Chris Olean said is “one of the best college pitchers in the Midwest,” lasted only three and two-thirds innings, but Edwards threw a complete game for the Tommies, allowing just one hit in the first game.
“I knew I was going up against a really good pitcher,” Edwards said. “It’s kind of one of those things where they’re there for him, so if I just do my job we’ll be fine. The pressure was on him.”
St. Olaf took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when senior Sean Dube lined a single into right field, scoring freshman lead-off hitter Sam Maus from second base. It was the only run the Oles would get off Edwards all game.
“I just threw strikes and made them put the ball in play,” Edwards said. “Sure enough, we played some good defense and put away the ball game.”
The Tommies took back the lead for good in the bottom of the first inning when freshman Tim Kuzniar scored on senior Tayler Rahm’s sacrifice fly to center field. St. Thomas also picked up a run when designated hitter Drew Cremisino scampered home on a wild pitch.
St. Thomas added two runs in the second inning but broke the game open in the fourth inning, scoring seven runs.
“Those are the kind of innings we’ve been trying to put together all year, and we did it today,” Cremisino said. Cremisino had two hits and scored three runs on the day.
But just two of the Tommies’ 11 runs in the first game were earned.
“Defensively, they’re usually pretty strong,” Olean said. “I don’t know if it was the conditions or the turf or what, but they certainly didn’t look comfortable.”
St. Olaf’s defense committed seven errors in the first game, and Olean said some of the players seemed to be affected by the weather.
“The team that deals with the conditions the best and ignores the conditions the best is going to win,” Olean said. “They were out there shivering, and our guys just played.”
Seven-run inning helps complete sweep
The Tommies sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth inning of game two, scoring seven runs to break open a 2-2 tie.
The game was scoreless until the Tommies manufactured two runs in the third inning. Senior Tim Kahle hit a lead-off single to right field. A bunt, an infield single and a sacrifice fly brought Kahle home, and Rahm added a second run with an RBI single to left.
St. Olaf tied the game in the fifth inning when Maus ripped a single into left field, scoring two runs, but St. Thomas opened it up in the bottom half of the inning.
Junior Charles Bruchu started the Tommies’ rally with a single up the middle. He stole second base and advanced to third on an overthrow.
“I had a good jump to pick up two, and I just saw it squirt away,” Bruchu said. “No one out, guy on third, and our guys executed to get that run in.”
Bruchu scored on a Cremisino single. Five hits, one walk and one error later, the Tommies held a commanding 9-2 lead, and would eventually get the win.
After Sunday’s sweep, the Tommies have won their last four games and 11 of their last 12 games.
“I’m just happy we’re starting to play some consistent baseball,” Olean said.
Alex Keil can be reached at email@example.com.