By Kevin Dudley – [email protected]
The Johnnie baseball team is catching fire at just the right time.
They have won 13 of their past 14 games and are 11-3 in MIAC play.
The Johnnies are coming off a big weekend both on and off the field.
The dedication ceremony for the newly named Haugen Field took place before the Johnnies’ double header against Augsburg Saturday, April 22.
Haugen is in his 40th season as the Johnnie baseball coach. His family, friends and alumni attended the ceremony.
Senior Derek Schiebel thought the dedication was a special moment.
“It’s something he really deserved,” Schiebel said.
On the field, the Johnnies swept the Auggies in a double header.
The Johnnies won game one 5-4 behind a strong pitching performance from sophomore Jake Dickmeyer.
They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on four hits and an Auggie error. They added two more in the fourth, which was plenty for Dickmeyer who moved to 6-0 on the season. Junior Ben Etzell pitched a
scoreless seventh to earn his fourth save of the season.
The Johnnies pulled away late in the second game to secure another win 16-6.
They had another strong start, earning a 4-0 lead after two innings behind RBI singles from Schiebel and freshman Michael Gruber.
The score remained the same into the fourth, but the Auggies scored five unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth to take a 5-4 lead. However, the Johnnies answered quickly in both the fifth and sixth with four runs of their own, highlighted by a two-run single from junior Jeron Terres.
The Johnnies then blew it open in the seventh with an eight run outburst. They scored two on an Auggie error, two on bases loaded walks and two on another Terres two-run single.
Senior Alex Kendall pitched six strong innings and recorded his fifth win for the Johnnies.
It was a quick turnaround for the Johnnies who played another home game against No. 22 St. Scholastica on Sunday, April 23.
They were able to go up 5-0 in the middle innings. They used a pair of sacrifice flys and a double to put up three in the third and then put up two in the fourth on a fielders choice and a throwing error.
First-year Wyatt Ulrich extended his hitting streak to 21 games going 4-5. Ulrich is now bating .538 on the season and his performance last week earned him his third MIAC baseball Athlete of the Week award this season. He currently has the Johnnies’ best batting average but is not ranked in the MIAC because he is just a few games shy of meeting the requirement for games played. Sophomore Cameron Jurek started on the mound for the Johnnies and pitched six sharp innings.
The Johnnies are having a great regular season, but their postseason performance will determine the real success of their season. They currently sit at second in the MIAC standings, however it is virtually a three-way tie between SJU, St. Thomas and Bethel. The top four teams in the conference will qualify for the MIAC playoffs.
“Our goal is to get one of those top four spots and make a run,” Schiebel said.
The Johnnies have made it to the regional tournament the past two seasons and were only one game away from the College World Series last year. Dickmeyer feels the team is primed for another run at regionals.
“A lot of us are ready to take it a step further,” Dickmeyer said.
The Johnnies will be in action May 1 at home against Macalester.