Barber, Retzlaff pitch St. Olaf to sweep of Macalester

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NORTHFIELD, Minn. – The St. Olaf College baseball team got quality starts from sophomore Hunter Barber and junior Jesse Retzlaff on its way to 3-2 and 6-1 victories over Macalester College in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) action on Sunday at Mark Almli Field.

Barber and Retzlaff each picked up their fifth victories of the season for St. Olaf (21-10, 10-6 MIAC). Barber threw a complete game in the opener against Macalester (16-17, 7-9 MIAC) before Retzlaff worked five strong innings in the nightcap, with both starters yielding only one earned run apiece.

The Oles and Scots entered the doubleheader in the thick of the MIAC Playoff race. With the two victories, St. Olaf is now third, one game behind Saint John's and two behind conference leader Gustavus. Saint Mary's occupies the fourth and final playoff spot at the moment, one game behind the Oles.

St. Olaf 3, Macalester 2 | Box Score

After allowing two first-inning runs, Barber held the Scots scoreless over the final six frames for his third complete game of the season. Barber did not walk a batter and struck out five while allowing five hits.

Offensively, sophomore Matthew Muller was 2-for-3 with two RBI, junior Tommy McDonald went 2-for-3 with two runs and sophomore Dylan Blake was 2-for-3 with a run. The trio combined for six of St. Olaf's seven hits off Matthew Plisko, who went the distance for Macalester.

After Barber struck out the first batter, five-straight hitters reached for the Scots in the first. Michael Moreno drove in a run with an RBI single to short before Sam Golberg doubled to right, but the Oles trapped a runner in a run down between third and home to keep it 1-0. A second run scored on an error later in the inning.

Barber pitched around a leadoff double in the top of the third, getting a strikeout and a fly ball to center to leave the runner at third before St. Olaf tied the score in the next half inning.

Back-to-back one-out singles by McDonald and Blake put two runners on base before Sam Pressman advanced both runners with a ground out to first for the second out. Muller dropped down a bunt single to third to score McDonald and Blake scored on a wild pitch during the next at bat to tie it up.

Muller drove in the eventual game-winning run with a two-out double in the home half of the fifth. McDonald singled to start the inning, stole second with one out and scored on Muller's double down the right-field line.

Barber took care of the rest, retiring 15 of the final 16 batters he faced. The lone base runner the Scots had after the third came as the result of a leadoff error to start the top of the sixth.

St. Olaf 6, Macalester 1 | Box Score

Eight of St. Olaf's nine batters had a hit in the nightcap, led by Ossell's 3-for-4, three-RBI performance at the plate. Luke Feigaland Elliot Syverson combined for four innings of shutout relief after Retzlaff allowed just one run in the first five innings to move to 5-2 this season.

Retzlaff yielded just three hits and two walks in his five innings while striking out five. Feigal struck out one in a scoreless sixth before Syverson earned the three-inning save, his fourth of the season, with a pair of strikeouts in the final three frames.

In a scoreless game, Muller led off the bottom of the second with a double to right and later scored on a fielder's choice ground out off the bat of Andrew Nomoto.

The Oles added two more runs in the fourth, as Pressman led off the inning with a single and scored on a triple to the right-field corner by Muller, who then scored on a sacrifice fly from Luke Dahl.

Macalester got its lone run of the game in the fifth, a run the Oles got back in the home half of the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Ossell. The Scots threatened to cut into St. Olaf's three-run lead in the top of the eighth, but Syverson stranded two runners in scoring position by getting the final two batters of the inning to pop out to McDonald at second.

Ossell capped the scoring in the bottom of the eighth with a two-out, two-run double to left center to score Nomoto and Ryan Torbenson, who both got on base to start the inning.

In addition to Ossell's three-hit, three-RBI game, Muller was 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI and Dahl was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Muller has reached base safely in 11-straight games.

The Oles host the University of Northwestern (Minn.) on Monday, Apr. 29 at 2:30 p.m. before returning to MIAC play on Wednesday, May 1 at Bethel.