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Gene's Blog: Fun numbers for entertaining spring teams

Gene's Blog: Fun numbers for entertaining spring teams

As the 2018-19 school year heads into the home stretch, let's catch up on some fast facts around Tommie athletics:

 

On a Roll 

Tommie Softball has zoomed to No. 4 in the national poll by the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA).

Coach John Tschida's team has won 17 in a row to reach its 32-4 record. The Toms have home doubleheaders this week against Macalester (Tuesday) and St. Catherine (Saturday). St. Thomas (16-2) leads St. Catherine (13-3) in the race for the conference title. 

The Purple ranks second in Division III in fielding percentage (.979).

Just as impressive: the Toms' starting lineup  -- pitcher, DP and nine field players -- has a combined grade-point average of 3.69. 

  

Lively Baseball Race

The 2019 MIAC Baseball race likely will go down to the wire to crown a champion or co-champ. The conference could even require tie-breakers to determine its four-team playoff field. 

There are two weeks remaining -- and eight or nine games per team -- in the MIAC's 20-game schedule. The Tommies currently lead at 8-3, followed closely by St. John's (9-5), Gustavus (7-4), St. Olaf (7-5), St. Mary's (8-6), Bethel (6-6) and Macalester (6-6).  

Only once in the last 25 seasons has the MIAC Baseball champion has fewer than 15 league victories.

Coach Chris Olean's Tommies' are scheduled to play five MIAC games this week: Tuesday's home twinbill against St. John's; Wednesday's resumed game at Gustavus, with the Purple coming to bat in the top of the 11th inning and the score tied 5-5; and two Saturday games at Hamline.

   

Streak Talk 

St. Thomas Softball (32-4) has posted the program's 20th consecutive 30-win season and is closing in on the program's 16th consecutive 35-win season.

Tschida's team has secured a spot in the four-team conference playoffs for the 16th time in the 16-year-history of the playoffs. 

In each of Tschida's 19 seasons here, Tommie Softball has built a winning streak of at least nine games.

 

200-Hit Club

Senior Melissa Barry recently became the seventh Tommie and 19th MIAC softball player to reach 200 career hits.

Tommie senior Chase Shortly is looking to add her name to the list. With at least eight games left this season, Shortly has 192 hits in 173 career games. Senior Dana Connelly has 167 hits in 166 games.

Junior Elise Barnes has 149 hits in 130 career games.

The St. Thomas seniors have built a 151-31 record in their four-year era.

 

Stealers 

In softball, St. Thomas base runners have 84 stolen bases to just six for opponents.

In baseball, the Tommies have 62 steals to just 16 for opponents. 

 

Strikeout Talk, 1 

Softball's Kierstin Anderson-Glass (pictured above) has an impressive 11-to-1 career strikeout-to-walk ratio with 321 strikeouts and only 28 walks in 326 innings.

The fourth-year junior sat out the last two seasons while recovering from a concussion. This season in her 16-3 won-loss record, Anderson-Glass has 88 Ks and 11 walks in 97 innings. 

 

Strikeout Talk, 2

Baseball's Henry DeCaster has an impressive 9-to-1 season strikeout-to-walk ratio with 47 strikeouts and only five walks in 42.1 innings so far in 2019. 

In his three Tommie seasons, the senior has collected 211 strikeouts with 44 walks in 184 innings.

In their 24 games so far, the 2019 St. Thomas pitchers have recorded 189 strikeouts in 192 innings.  

 

Did You Know? 

In softball, Anderson-Glass has at least one pitching win over all 11 MIAC opponents.

In baseball, DeCaster has at least one pitching win over eight of 10 MIAC opponents. 

 

Seeing Doubles

Tommie Women's Tennis is 36-3 in doubles matches so far in its 11-2 start in 2018-19.

Freshman Taylor Jackson is 12-0 in doubles; freshman Olivia Paradise is 9-0; and junior transfer Natasha Hood is 9-0.

 

Top 5s 

Six St. Thomas teams have been ranked in the top five nationally at some point this school year:

  • Softball
  • Women's Hockey
  • Women's Basketball
  • Men's Basketball
  • Men's Soccer
  • Football.

Three other teams were ranked as high in the top 16:

  • Men's Golf
  • Women's Soccer
  • Men's Hockey.

Men's Indoor Track and Field placed 12th nationally. Men's and Women's Cross Country and Men's and Women's Swim-Dive were also nationally ranked in the top 35.

  

Ready or Not... 

This last weekend marked the six-month marker ahead of Oct. 19, when Tommie Football plays St. John's in the first American football game to be played at St. Paul's Allianz Field.

A sellout crowd of more than 19,000 is expected. Tickets for St. Thomas and St. John's students will go on sale next fall.

Both teams could again be ranked in the top 10 nationally when they meet in what will be the Toms' sixth game.

 

Tiger Talk

After Tiger Woods' Masters victory last week at age 43, many of us found ourselves reminiscing about that stretch when he dominated golf. 

Here's a measure for me of how time flies: my youngest son Peter, now an eighth grader... was seven days old when Tiger won his last previous Masters championship in 2005.

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Gene's Blog is a sports column penned by UST sports information director Gene McGivern. Gene is working his 25th season at St. Thomas and 31st overall in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. He blogs periodically on various topics regarding the Tommies, the MIAC and Division III sports.

If you have comments or questions, e-mail Gene at ejmcgivern@stthomas.edu