The Gustavus baseball team continued its push for a MIAC Playoff spot with an important sweep over Macalester (2-1, 10-5) in St. Paul on Tuesday. The Gusties are now alone in fourth place with a mark of 9-7.
In game one, the Gusties combined solid pitching by Tom Hutton, mistake-free defense, and timely hitting to slip by the Scots 2-1. Gustavus received all the offense it would need in the first inning when the second batter, Tony Konicek, walked and Ben Sherer followed with a home run. The Gusties would manage only two hits the rest of the game but that would be enough as Tom Hutton scattered seven Macalester hits and the defense made some heads up plays to limit the Scots to only one run. The Gusties held Macalester at bay numerous times including stranding runners at third base in three different innings and throwing a runner out at the plate. The Gusties also turned a key double play with runners on first and second and no one out in the first inning. After Hutton hurled six strong innings (allowing only one run in the fourth inning), Andy Schmidt came in and put the Scots down in order in the seventh inning to close out the game for Gustavus.
In game two, the Gusties got some key production from the top four players in the line-up. The group of Bryant Rogness (3-for-5), Tony Konicek (2-for-5), Ben Sherer (3-for-4) and Ash Larsen (1-for-4) went a combined 9-for-18 at the plate while scoring five times and driving in six runs. Gustavus scored four times in the second inning and then added two runs in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Trent Larson threw all seven innings scattering eight hits and allowing five earned runs. Key hits for the Gusties included a two-out, two run double by Ash Larsen in the second inning, a leadoff solo home run by Tony Konicek in the sixth and a two-out, two run double by Ben Sherer in the seventh.
With the Gusties sweep of Macalester and Hamline’s split with St. Olaf, Gustavus moves into sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot with four games left to play. The Gusties will host Hamline in a key doubleheader next Wednesday and then wrap up regular season league play against Carleton at home next Saturday.