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Shields Dazzles in Opener, but Knights Settle for Split with Pipers

April 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Danny Shields, baseball action

Photo gallery by Niko Duffy

NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Behind a three-hit complete game shutout by Danny Shields (So./Richfield, Minn./Academy of Holy Angels) in the opener, the Carleton College baseball team split its twinbill with visiting Hamline University. The Knights took game one by a 1-0 score before the Pipers prevailed in the nightcap by a 5-3 margin.

Shields scattered three singles and a walk as he notched his first shutout. He matched his career high with six strikeouts, equaling his performance against Crown College on April 18, 2011.

Shields equaled the team high for strikeouts this season and tossed just the second 1-0 complete game by a Knight pitcher since April 2003. Anderson Cole (So./Aspen, Colo.) also turned the trick against Saint Mary’s University on April 6, 2011.

Shields was at his sharpest through the middle portion of the contest, retiring eight straight hitters from the third through fifth innings. The top seven hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-20 against him.

Carleton meanwhile had several good scoring chances but could not deliver the necessary clutch hits. The Knights left runners on second and third in the opening frame and let a bases-loaded situation slip away an inning later.

Finally in the fourth, Erik Fabry (Sr./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) singled, advanced on a sacrifice, and raced home on Nolan Baker’s (Fy./Appleton, Wis./Appleton North) two-out single to center, accounting for the game’s lone run.

Game two saw both starting pitchers run into trouble early. The Pipers took advantage of a pair of walks to score twice in the opening stanza, but Jacob Rice (Jr./North Oaks, Minn./St. Paul Academy) delivered a two-run, two-out single in the bottom of the inning.

Hamline added another run in the second, before Ray Yong’s (So./Elmhurst, Ill./York) speed accounted for the equalizer in the third. The Carleton left fielder beat out an infield single, then went first to third on a sacrifice bunt and raced home on Alex Wirta’s (Sr./ Corte Madera, Calif./Redwood) sacrifice fly.

The Pipers got a two-out run in the sixth and added a huge insurance tally in the seventh. That final run proved pivotal after Fabry led off Carleton’s final turn at bat with a double to left-center. David Stillerman (So./Evanston, Ill./Evanston) followed with a clean single to right, putting runners on the corners. However the Knights could not cash either in, absorbing the 5-3 setback.

The Knights travel to Wartburg College (Iowa) for a pair of nine-inning contests on Saturday, April 14.