MIAC Baseball Notebook - March 26, 2019

Macalester catcher Graham Low is batting a league-high .514 this season.
Macalester catcher Graham Low is batting a league-high .514 this season.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- The 2019 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) league schedule is set to begin this Saturday with five conference double-headers. With snow still melting on several diamonds and programs working hard to thaw out their fields, baseball fans should keep an eye on MIACathletics.com this week for potential game time and location updates.

Saint John's is ranked No. 29 in the latest ABCA Top 30 Poll and received 44 votes in the latest D3baseball.com/NCBWA Top 25 Poll, while St. Thomas received votes in both polls.

Saint John's pitcher Jake Dickmeyer (Woodbury, Minn.) has tossed three complete games in 2019, tied for the second-most in all of NCAA Division III. He also has the lowest earned run average of any imperfect clip in the country at 0.33, along with the second-best strikeout-to-walk clip in D-III at 24.00. In terms of WHIP, Dickermeyer is fifth in Division III at 0.52 this season, while Saint Mary's pitcher James Green (East Bethel, Minn. | St. Francis) ranks 10th in the nation at 0.65.

Augsburg senior Jacob Kraft (Hutchinson, Minn.) had two strong pitching performances for the Auggies last week. Starting against UW-Superior last Sunday, Kraft had two strikeouts against three walks and six hits, allowing three runs in five innings of work. Last Thursday, he shined in a complete-game shutout, striking out four while not walking a batter and allowing just five hits in a 3-0 victory over Marian. Kraft has a 2.25 ERA and .250 opponent batting average in his first two appearances of the season.

Bethel first baseman Mitch Jerde's (Forest Lake, Minn.) 6-for-17 performance helped the Royals to a pair of wins as they closed out their spring break trip with a 7-4 record. Jerde's two-RBI double in the third inning helped Bethel to a 9-8 extra-inning victory over No. 9 Johns Hopkins on March 20.

Carleton infielder Brendon Fischel (Eureka, Calif.) belted a pinch-hit three-run home run that helped the Knights grab a 4-1 lead over Concordia University Wisconsin on Sunday. His dinger came with two out in the top of the fifth inning.

Senior shortstop Nate Hoeft (Marshall, Minn.) returned to the Cobber lineup on Saturday after suffering an injury in the team's spring trip on March 8. Hoeft went 1-for-4 against Chicago and handled all four infielding chances without an error. He extended his team-best hitting streak to six games and now leads the team with a .478 average. Concordia is now 4-2 when Hoeft is in the lineup.

In six innings of work, Gustavus pitcher Christian Johnson (Buffalo, Minn.) recorded 11 strikeouts against Bethany Lutheran last Saturday, marking the most single-game strikeouts by a Gustie hurler since Grant Soderberg on May 2, 2014. It also marks the most strikeouts in six innings by a Gustavus pitcher dating back to at least 1996 when pitching stats started to be recorded digitally. Johnson allowed two runs on three hits and walked one batter in a 6-2 victory. 

Hamline outfielder Devin Rodgers (Glendora, Calif.) pushed his current hitting streak to nine games with a big week for the Pipers in Tucson, Ariz. Rodgers batted .524 with 11 hits and nine RBI in 21 at-bats over a five-game stretch for Hamline, raising his batting average by 125 points in the process. Rodgers' 17 hits and 13 runs batted in both rank in the top-10 among all MIAC batters this season.

Macalester catcher Graham Low (Piedmont, Calif.) is riding a seven-game hitting streak and batting a league-high .514 this season after the Scots' 10-game trip to Tucson, Ariz. The 2018 MIAC Player of the Year has had multiple hits in five of the nine contests he has been in the lineup for, highlighted by a four-hit, three-RBI showing against Buena Vista on March 17.

Saint John's pitcher Jake Dickmeyer (Woodbury, Minn.) started last week with four strikeouts in two hitless innings of relief on March 19 against Buena Vista and recorded his third complete-game win in as many starts as SJU took the three-game series against Luther on Sunday with a 2-1 win. The reigning MIAC Pitcher of the Year struck out three and did not issue a free pass in the game, improving to 3-0 on the year. Dickmeyer recorded four three-up,-three-down innings, totaling 22 pitches, as the game lasted only an hour and 47 minutes. He faced a hot Norse lineup, which batted .366 in the first two nine-inning games on Saturday, and now has a 0.33 ERA and .138 opponent batting average in 27 innings pitched this spring

Saint Mary's junior Justin Weinberg (Eagan, Minn. | Cretin-Derham Hall) hit a team-leading .474 in four games last weekend. Weinberg went 9-for-19 with a pair of doubles and four runs scored, tallying at least two hits in all four of the Cardinals' games. SMU scored in the first inning in all four contests as well and have now scored in its first at-bat in eight of its 14 games this season.

In four Ole victories, junior infielder Tommy McDonald (Northfield, Minn.) had a batting average of .375 with six hits - including four doubles - six runs, three RBI and a stolen base. Against Cazenovia on March 21, McDonald was 3-of-4 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored. He picked up a double, two runs, and a stolen base in a 5-1 victory over McDaniel later that day and finished the week with two more hits and two runs in a 13-1 victory over Minn.-Morris on March 23. McDonald has recorded a hit in eight of the Oles' nine games and has had multiple hits in four games so far this season.

Pitcher Henry DeCaster (Shoreview, Minn. | Mounds View) fanned nine and allowed one walk with five hits over eight shutout innings in last Thursday's 6-0 St. Thomas win over No. 15-ranked UW-Whitewater. The senior southpaw did not allow a runner past second base and combined with reliever Andrew Tri to record just the second shutout of the Warhawks by a Division III team in the last three seasons. DeCaster improved to 2-0 on the season and 12-8 in his St. Thomas career, posting a 2.46 ERA with 179 strikeouts and 40 walks as a Tommie.