NORTHFIELD, Minn. — After waiting more than a week to get its first conference games played, the Carleton College baseball team made up for lost time, scoring early and often in sweeping Macalester College by scores of 18-5 and 18-6 (7 inn.) The Knights pounded out 34 hits on the day, including home runs by sophomore Hayden Tsutsui (Northridge, Calif./Chatsworth) and seniors Ray Yong (Elmhurst, Ill./York), David Stillerman (Evanston, Ill./Evanston), and Josh Zoellmer (Richfield, Minn./Richfield).
Not surprisingly, the Knights saw several amazing offensive performances. Nolan Baker (Jr./Appleton, Wis./Appleton North) finished the day 5-of-8 with three doubles, four runs scored, and a whopping 10 RBI. Tsutsui was a single shy of the cycle in game one and wrapped up the day with five extra-base hits. Jeff Dsida (Sr./Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) raised his batting average to a team-best .558 with a 5-for-6 stat line in game two, including two doubles and a triple.
Although the contests were played at Mel Taube Field, the Knights played as the visiting team as the games were shifted away from the Scots’ home field in St. Paul, Minn., due to poor field conditions.
In the opener, the Knights immediately grabbed the lead with a three-run top of the first. Kevin Johnson (Sr./St. Anthony, Minn./DeLaSalle) laced a two-out single and Baker followed with a two-run base hit down the left-field line. Carleton scored five more times in the second, keyed by Tsutsui’s two-run triple to left center.
The Knights blew the game open with five more tallies in the fifth. Tsutsui ripped his first home run of the season driving a pitch over the left-field wall. The next batter, Yong smashed a ball that clanged off the right-field foul pole for his second collegiate, exactly one year to the day after hitting his first roundtripper.
After watching Tsutsui and Yong go back-to-back, Johnson tried to get into the act but hit the ball to the deepest part of the ballyard and had to settle for a double. Baker brought him home with a two-bagger of his own, giving the Carleton rightfielder four RBI over the first five innings.
Carleton plated four more runs over the final two innings of the opener, then carried the momentum over to the nightcap, scoring six times in the top of the first. Dsida ripped a leadoff triple and Stillerman followed with his first career homer, a drive to deep right-center field. A Tsutsui double was followed by a pair of walks, a two-run double by Cody Bohlman (So./Irvine, Calif./University High School), sacrifice fly by Baker, and RBI single from Zoellmer.
The Knights would score three more times in the second and third innings to remove any doubt about this one.
Zoellmer put the exclamation point on the game-two victory with his second home run of the season. A three-run shot that gave Carleton the 18-6 lead in the top of the seventh.
Jack Violetta (So./Green Bay, Wis./Bay Port) benefitted from the run support and moved to 3-0 on the season. He worked 6.0 innings on the bump and struck out nine batters, the highest total by a Carleton pitcher since Ethan Guevin fanned 11 on April 14, 2008.
Prior to today, the Knights had scored 10-plus runs in only three of their last 90 games against MIAC opponents. This marked the first time Carleton scored 10-plus runs in both ends of a MIAC doubleheader since sweeping Macalester, 10-5 and 15-2, back on April 21, 2009. This was easily the most runs the Knights have ever scored in a MIAC doubleheader.
The Knights played the final four innings without the services of Yong and Johnson. The chemistry majors left mid-game to go deliver their senior comprehensive project (“comps”).
Carleton returns to Mel Taube Field on Tuesday, April 8, this time as the home team. The Knights host cross-town rival St. Olaf College for a doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 2:30 p.m.