Tommie Baseball played two MIAC games Tuesday at home -- lasting over five hours on the clock -- and held a lead just once all day.
Fortunately for Coach Chris Olean, St. Thomas took its first lead on the day's final play and salvaged a doubleheader split with St. Mary's. Rock Cates' bases-loaded RBI ground out let the Purple walk off with a 5-4 win.
St. Mary's won game one 4-0 in extra innings. It scored four runs in the top of the eighth inning, fueled by a two-base throwing error.
St. Thomas (12-7 overall, 4-2 MIAC) stayed near the top of the tight MIAC standings. St. Olaf (5-1), St. Thomas (4-2) and St. Mary's (5-3) sit 1-2-3 in the standings, with four other teams at 4-4 or 3-3.
Cates had a single, homer and single with two RBi in his first three trips in game two -- which flipped to a seven-inning contest since the opener went extra innings.
Cates came up in the last inning with one out and the bases loaded. Evan Kolker had walked, took second on Sam Cobbs' single and took third on another walk. Kolker scored the winning run on Cates' roller to second that SMU was unable to turn into an inning-ending double play.
Sophomore Matt Dolan made his varsity debut in game two and had an RBI single in his first at-bat.
The Toms had a chance to walk off in game one as they loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh and the score 0-0. But SMU fielded a hard grounder up the middle and turned a 4-U-3 double play to escape and send the game to extra innings.
In game one, Graham Laubscher threw seven shutout innings with nine stikeouts before hitting trouble in the eighth. His streak of 18 innings without allowing an earned run ended after a leadoff single and his throwing error off a sac bunt put two in scoring position. After an intentional walk, SMU added two RBI hits off reliever Nathan Sprouls as part of a four-run inning.
Shaun Falbo got the game-two win after he retired the Cards 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh with the scored tied 4-4,
Five Tommie pitchers combined to strike out 20 on the day.