Gene's Blog: Pinch-twitter updates of sports scene
May 04, 2012
Since Halloween is only six months away, welcome to today’s installment of “This is what you’d be reading if Tommiesports.com offered Twitter.”
So think of these news nuggets as “Trick or Tweet” fun-size candy bars, instead of the whole Snickers or Almond Joy.
--Tommie baseball held the longest current winning streak in Division III –- for about 24 hours. Keystone (Pa.) had a 22-game win streak halted Monday, the same day UST was extending its victory string to 21. But Tuesday night’s 9-2 loss to Division I Minnesota ended the Tommie run.
--Baseball is one of three St. Thomas sports in 2011-12 to set new program records for season win streaks. Football won 13 in a row to open its season. Women’s Basketball won 30 in a row en route to its Final Four berth.
--Gustavus had an impressive 20-year streak of MIAC women’s tennis championships end this spring at the hands of Carleton. There are now eight active conference team title streaks of five or more, including six held by UST: 1) St. Thomas men's indoor track and field (28 in row); 2) Gustavus men's tennis (24 in row); 3) UST women's indoor track and field (13 in row); 4) Tommie baseball (10 in a row); 5) Gustavus women’s hockey (eight in a row); 6) Tommie women’s outdoor T&F and UST men’s basketball (each seven in a row); and 8) Tommie volleyball (five in a row).
--St. Thomas has won 11 MIAC team championships thus far in 2011-12 –- one off the conference record of 12 set by UST in 1990-91 and again in 2001-02. The Tommies can tie and/or break the record at the May 11-12 outdoor track meet in Moorhead as the women and men’s teams will be in the chase for the team crowns. UST won nine conference team crowns in each of the last three seasons.
--In that Moorhead championship meet, Tommie senior women track and field athletes will look to make it 8-for-8 in conference team titles indoors and outdoors on their careers.
--When St. Thomas softball opens MIAC playoff action Friday in Shoreview, Coach John Tschida’s 10-player starting lineup will only include three players who started in the Tommies’ 2011 postseason games.
--Calling all travel agents: UST football is heading to Winnipeg, where they’ll play a May 20 exhibition game… Tommie men’s golf will play in the NCAA Championships starting May 15 in Orlando… UST is expected to have several athletes at the NCAA track and field meet will be held May 24-26 in Claremont, Calif… The payoff for Tommie softball if it can win its regional tournament next weekend is a trip to the May 18-22 World Series in Salem, Va… Likewise, Tommie baseball’s 2012 goal is to win its regional and reach the May 25-29 World Series in Appleton, Wis.
--Tommie baseball ended up playing in two of the final three games played at the U of M’s soon-to-close Siebert Field. Senior Charles Bruchu went 6-for-9 in those two contests.
--Speaking of Gopher baseball, they may set a world record Saturday for playing three home games in eight days in three different stadiums (Metrodome vs. Iowa, April 29; Siebert Field vs. Tommies, May 1; Penn State at Target Field, May 5).
Peyton Pops One
--Senior Larissa Peyton ran 2:11.66 Wednesday in the 800 meters -– the fastest women’s time in the conference over the last two seasons. Peyton missed 2011 with an injury but has been huge this spring and contributed to two top-three finishes at the Drake Relays.
--Tommie outdoor track and field has a remarkable 30-year streak of getting at least one relay team – male or female – through the prelims into the finals at nationals. The 2012 Tommie women are currently ranked in the top five in D-III in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
--UST sophomore Genny Duffy (shown at right) has three of her five career home runs in pinch-hit situations , with the other two hit in the NCAA playoffs.
--Opposing batters are 0-for-15 in pinch-hit situations this season against Tommie baseball pitchers. In softball, opposing pinch-hitters are 3-for-28 (.107). UST baseball pitchers are limited opponents to a .209 batting average with runners in scoring position.
--Tommie baseball and softball teams both start Cretin-Derham Hall graduates at shortstop. In softball, sophomore Jenna Hoffman has only struck out eight times in 249 career plate appearances. Hoffman had multi-hit games nine times in 18 April games. In baseball, junior Jon Kinsel hasn’t committed an error in his last 47 defensive chances. After a 3-for-20 start at the plate in Metrodome games, Kinsel has batted .351 over his last 27 games.
--Division III’s top baseball schools often have strong softball teams. St. Thomas is among eight D-III institutions that have both baseball and softball teams ranked in the top 25 this week. Others are Eastern Connecticut, Cortland State, Texas-Tyler, Salisbury, Rowan, Christopher Newport and Montclair State.
--Tommie baseball will attempt to become the first conference team ever to close out a 20-0 MIAC season on Saturday at Gustavus with two seven-inning games. The Toms return home Sunday and play a nine-inning non-conference game vs. regionally-ranked St. Scholastica (1 p.m. Koch Diamond). The Tommies took two one-run comeback wins over the Saints back in late February in the Metrodome.
--Track and field produces many feel-good stories. The latest involves Tommie senior Traci Pastoors (shown at right), an excellent leader and captain. A heel injury appeared to knock her out of her speciality, the triple jump, for her final season. She decided to try the javelin, and with her hard work and strong coaching from staff newcomer Eric Lander, Pastoors is immediately ranked in the top three throwers in the MIAC.
Lander? He’s a chiropractor with a practice on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue. In his college days at Clemson, he was an Atlantic Coast Conference champion in the decathlon, and his specialty was the javelin. This week, he’s helping coach the UST male decathletes at the conference meet.
--Lander isn’t the first chiropractor to contribute to St. Thomas’ track and field success. Once upon a time, long before Twitter came along, a fellow named Larry “Doc” Russ joined the men’s CC and track and field coaching staff. Championships and success followed.