St. Thomas Baseball Notes –- Tuesday, May 15, 2012
--UP NEXT: Top-seeded St. Thomas (34-8) plays No. 8-seed St. Norbert on Wednesday afternoon in the NCAA regional in Whitewater, Wis. The eight-team, double-elimination tournament features nine-inning games, and the winner will advance to the 2012 NCAA Division III Baseball World Series in Appleton, Wis.
The Toms are in the MIAC playoffs for 17th time in the last 18 years and 18th time overall. All 17 trips since 1994 have been played in Wisconsin.
St. Thomas, UW-LaCrosse, North Park (Ill.), UW-Whitewater, Concordia (Ill.), St. Scholastica, Aurora (Ill.) and St. Norbert (Wis.) are the Nos. 1-8 seeds in the Whitewater bracket.
--TOURNEY WEBSITE: 2012 MIAC Baseball Playoffs Schedule: http://www.uwwsports.com/sports/2012/4/19/bsb_0419123206.aspx?id=731
--SEASON SERIES: In early-season Metrodome games, the Tommies swept St. Scholastica in two one-run games and split doubleheaders with UW-LaCrosse and UW-Whitewater.
--DID YOU KNOW? St. Thomas and Florida State are the lone NCAA instiutions at any level to send both baseball and softball teams to the NCAA playoffs in each of the last nine seasons.
--TRADITION: St. Thomas has been among Division III’s elite baseball programs over the last 18 seasons. The Tommies were NCAA runners-up in 1999 and 2000; and won NCAA championships in 2001 and 2009. They have won 30 or more games in 16 of the last 18 seasons.
--WHO’S HOT: Dylan Thomas, a junior transfer from Des Moines Area Community College, went 4-0 with a save in April on the mound and also took over the DH role. In UST’s 19-1 conference run, Thomas hit .481 with 26 hits and 19 RBI… As a pitcher, Thomas started 0-2 but in his last eight appearences is 6-0 with a 0.80 ERA... UST hit just three home runs in its first 28 games but has 13 in its last 14 games… Charles Bruchu has reached base in 18 of his last 20 games and batted .540 with 10 RBI in last weekend's conference playoffs. Bruchu is batting .400 in career postseason play… Freshman CF Ben Podobinski has stepped in and ably replaced a four-year starter in Matt McQuillan. Podobinski, a native of Roseville, was in the U of M Gopher program briefly as a walk-on in 2010-11. For the Tommies, he’s batting .365 with 54 hits, 37 runs and 16 steals in 41 games as leadoff hitter... Steve Maher, a sophomore juco transfer from Iowa Central, became UST’s first pitcher to reach 10 season wins during April. He had 16 strikeouts in his last outing, a nine-innign complete-game win over St. Mary's in the MIAC playoffs. That's believed to be the second most Ks in program history behind Steve Samuelson's 19-strikeout day in April 1970 in a seven-inning game vs. Gustavus.
--27 AND COUNTING: Bryce Gapinski was 2-0 with 0.00 ERA in 11 innings last week and ran his scoreless streak to 27 innings. He moved to 27-5 on his career (2.80 ERA, 42 starts, 46 app.) with three wins and 20 shutout innings in MIAC victories at Concordia, at Gustavus and against Bethel, and now has five shutouts on the season. Gapinski moved to 8-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 1.68. Gapinski has 17 career wins against MIAC opponents including at least one over eight of the 10.
Most Career Wins, All Games, MIAC Pitchers (through May 8, 2012)
30, Matt Schuld, St. Thomas (2007-10) (30-5 W-L)
28, James Murrey, Macalester (2007-10) (28-14 W-L)
27, Bryce Gapinski, St. Thomas (2009-present**) (27-5 W-L)
27, Todd Mathison, St. Olaf (2006-09) (27-7 W-L)
27, Charlie Ruud, St. Olaf (2001-05) (27-? W-L)
27, John Nielson, Carleton (1988-91) (27-14 W-L)
27, Joe Meyer, St. Thomas (1984-87) *27-14 W-L)
26, Brian Krause, St. Thomas (2002-05) (26-14 W-L)
24, Bryan Edstrom, St. Thomas (1999-2002) (24-1 W-L)
24, Josh Roiger, Hamline (2005-08) (24-9 W-L)
24, John Phyle, Augsburg (1984-87) (24-13 W-L)
--FINE FOURSOME: With Gapinski, sophomore Steve Maher, and juniors Dylan Thomas and Mark Dominik, the Toms' top four starters have a combined 2.12 ERA and a 27-3 record, with 200 Ks in 225 innings. Dominik allowed one hit and one earned run in eight innings last week in the MIAC Playoffs vs. St. Mary's in his longest career stint. He's 2-0 with an 0.82 ERA this season.
--OFFENSE: St. Thomas is 33-4 when it scores three or more runs.
--POLL TALK: In this week's Division III poll released today, the Tommies were ranked No. 4 by D3Baseball.com. They were unranked in first D3baseball poll of season after 28-18 finish in 2011 and climbed from No. 25 to 23 to 19 to 13 to 7 to 5 to 3 and peaked at No. 2 last week. They received 10 first-place votes in the D3Baseball poll and one in the ABCA poll two weeks ago. UST has climbed in the ABCA poll from No. 13 to 10 to 8 to 7 to 4 and as of last week to No. 2.
--STREAK: The Toms had won a school-record 21 games in row since 7-4 loss to ranked Ramapo (N.J.) on their March spring trip to Winter Haven, Fla. The previous record was 18 in a row back in 1997.
--HOT AT HOME: Toms have won 26 in a row on campus since a May 1, 2010 loss to Concordia Cobbers in game two of doubleheader.
--CONFERENCE TALK: Before their doubleheader split with Gustavus on May 7, the Toms had swept their last six MIAC twinbills of 2011 and had swept their first nine of 2012 for a 30-game regular-season win streak in the conference... St. Thomas has won or shared 10 consecutive MIAC championships. It's the fourth longest active MIAC team title streak after St. Thomas men's indoor track and field (28 in row); Gustavus men's tennis (24 in row); UST women's indoor track and field (13 in row).
--DID YOU KNOW, 2: St. Thomas just missed becoming the first program to post a 20-0 regular-season MIAC baseball record with a split with Gustavus on Monday. The Tommies’ 19-1 finish ties them with the 1996 and 1999 Tommies, who also finished their conference seasons at 19-1. The MIAC expanded to a 20-game schedule in 1984.
--VETERAN: St. Thomas senior DH Nick Reichert is the MIAC’s oldest player at age 27. He’s a 2003 graduate of Minneapolis Southwest High, where he was All-City in four sports (football, soccer, hockey and baseball). Nick played two seasons of hockey for St. Thomas and was a member of UST’s 2005 national runner-up team. He scored two goals that season. He took a break from school but came back to campus last year and has been a key contributor to some wins in 2011 and 2012.
--DEFENSE: The Toms rank near the top nationally among 365 Division III programs with .977 field % -- only 14 of their 32 errors have come from infielders (1B, 2B, SS, 3B). UST is 27-5 in games when it commits one or less errors.
--STRIKES: UST baseball has over a 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and also rank in the top-10 among D-III teams with the fewest walks per nine innings
--CLOSE CALLS: The Toms are 14-2 this season in games decided by one or two runs after going 7-12 in such games in 2011
--RALLY GUYS: The Toms have eight comeback wins in 2012.
--COACH: Chris Olean played four seasons for Coach Dennis Denning (1996-1999), was a nine-year assistant to Denning and has been head coach the last three seasons. His three-year record is 97-35 (.752).