St. Thomas (Minn.) takes two
Maher lowers ERA to 1.46 while improving to 9-0 on the season
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Steve Maher flirted with a perfect game but salvaged a win on Wednesday as No. 3 St. Thomas (Minn.) held off a Macalester rally to win 3-2 in game one of a MIAC baseball doubleheader at Koch Diamond.
The first-place Tommies (24-4 overall, 12-0 MIAC) added a 3-1 victory in the nightcap. They ran their season win streak to 15, their home-field win string to 22, and their MIAC regular-season win streak to 24.
St. Thomas survived seventh-inning rallies in each game and got complete-game decisions from Maher (9-0) and Dylan Thomas (4-2).
In game two, Mac had eight hits but stranded two runners in the fourth and seventh innings, and had a runner tagged at home to end the second inning on a throw from UST center fielder Ben Podobinski.
In the fourth inning, an infield hit and double put runners on second and third with none out, but Thomas struck out three batters to end the inning.
Thomas lost his shutout with two outs in the seventh on Graham Brown's RBI single but got a game-ending ground out. Thomas allowed eight hits, one walk and one run and struck out five. In three conference starts he's 3-0 in 20 innings with 25 strikeouts, two walks and a 1.35 ERA.
UST made the most of four hits in game two. It scored all three runs with two out in the second after a walk, throwing error on a bunt and a bunt single loaded the bases with none out. Starter Chase Kahn got two outs, but Podobinski's wind-blown smash to left-center field turned the Mac fielder around and he was unable to glove the ball, resulting in a three-run triple for the Tommies.
In game one, Maher retired the first 18 batters in order with six strikeouts, 10 grounders and two fly balls.
Facing the top of the order in the seventh inning, Maher walked the leadoff man to lose a perfect game. Ross Bronfenrenner broke up the no-hit bid with a sinking liner that UST's Tim Kuzniar dove for in left field. Kuzniar couldn't glove the ball, which rolled to the fence for an RBI triple. Mitch Glasser's RBI ground out cut the lead to 3-2.
Robert Williams struck out but reached on a wild pitch. A one-out single by Garrett Salzman put runners at first and second. But Maher got a 6-4-3 double play on a close call at first to end the game and strand the tying run at third base.
Maher finished for a two-hitter with one walk and seven strikeouts. He's the first Tommie pitcher in 15 seasons to start a season 9-0, and he has a 1.46 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 56 innings.
Two-out first-inning RBI singles by Nick Reichert and J.D. Dorgan gave UST a 2-0 lead. Kuzniar's two-out RBI single in the second inning made it 3-0. Kuzniar finished 2-for-3, and Charles Bruchu was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run.
UST had no errors on the day and have gone 56 consecutive innings without an error. In a 6-0 home stretch with sweeps of St. Mary's, St. John's and Macalester over the last 10 days, Tommie pitchers have had five complete games and allowed just seven runs.