Parker Burman – Staff Writer
This past weekend the Gustavus baseball team hosted St. Mary’s University for a double header. Coming into play Gustavus was sitting at 20-6 overall record with an in conference record of 7-3. After the double header sweep, and winning eleven of their last thirteen, the Gusties now move into second place in the MIAC.
In game one Gustavus received a dominating performance on the mound from First-year starter Luke Siegle. Siegle struck out six men across six innings while only allowing two hits. The Gustavus offense proved plenty of support for their starter, driving across seven runs. This included three hit games from Senior Jack Hanson and Junior Bryce Novak for the 7-2 victory.
“Go out there and throw a lot of strikes, give my defense a chance to make plays. Usually when you do that good stuff happens especially when you have one of the best offenses in the country,” Siegle said.
Gustavus kept up their winning ways, in game two with another dominating performance on both sides of the ball. The pitching staff combined for nine innings of three run baseball, with only one of those being earned. On the offensive side, Gustavus put up 12 hits and knocked in eight runs in the 8-3 win.
Sweeping a double header at home is nothing new for the Gusties. “I think it is that we are so confident at home and the fans that come to watch are amazing and it is a big advantage getting to play in front of
our own supporters,” Hanson said.
The first game started off quiet as there was no offense through the first two innings. In the bottom of the third Novak homered over the left center field fence to put the Gusties up 1-0. A batter later Hanson homered, as well, sending his over the left field fence for the 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth Novak cranked another ball over the fence, this time for a two run shot that drove in Sophomore infielder Patrick Timmler. The one-two punch of Novak and Hanson continued in the fifth. Novak continued on his tear, ripping a double to right field, scoring Senior Nick Azar, and advancing Sophomore Mitch Casperson to third. Hanson then singled, scoring Novak and Casperson for a 7-0 lead.
“Just being aggressive at the plate has a lot to do with it and goes with the same for the other guys on the team,” Novak said, commenting on the Gustie’s ability to drive in runs.
St. Mary’s started a rally in the seventh inning, after having been unable to get any traction against Siegle. They were able to push two runs across against the Gustavus bullpen before Senior Jack Garrison shut the door.
Gustavus continued their scoring ways, in game two when Senior Ethan Mocchi drove in Hanson to give Gustavus the early 1-0 lead. Both offenses remained quiet until the fourth when Gustavus broke out for a four run inning. Junior righty Lane Glaser threw four and two-thirds innings of two-run baseball before being relieved by Junior Andrew Gustafson in the fifth.
“Going into a tied game I’m looking to get us back into the dugout as fast as I can. The faster I can get guys out the better chances our guys ride that momentum at the plate and score us some runs. Our lineup has made that job really easy all year because I can trust them to score the runs we need. I can go out to the mound and throw a lot of strikes to get hitters to put the ball in play so the defense can make plays and quickly get back in to score runs,” Gustafson said.
And the offense did just that, score. After surrendering two unearned runs to St. Mary’s in the top of the inning, Gustavus got back one of those runs in the bottom half on an Azar home run down the line, to make it 6-2.
St. Mary’s cut the lead to three runs after Gustafson surrendered a homer in the eighth inning. In a theme repeated all year long, Gustavus quickly regrew the lead in the bottom of the eighth.
Hanson ripped a ball down the line for a two run home run, scoring Novak, for his tenth of the season. Hanson now becomes the first Gustie to hit ten home runs in a season since Tony Konicek in 2007. “It’s definitely a big accomplishment to be able to do this and it felt good to do this at our home field,” Hanson said.
Senior righty Damon Rademacher entered in the ninth to close it, throwing an uneventful inning and collecting a strike out. This win locked up the Gusties twenty-second win on the season firmly cementing themselves in the playoff race.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Siegle said. “We’re one game out of first in the conference. We know we can beat everyone if we play our game. We can hang with everybody so I think this is a good spot for us. We just need to execute in the playoffs. The overall goal is to go to Regionals, Super Regionals, and win the National Championship”
Gustavus baseball will next host St. John’s University on Saturday, April 30.