Baseball: Irish blank Blaze, stop South
Rosemount won just four games in the South Suburban Conference last spring.
But two strong pitching performances have the Irish halfway to that total just four games into their 17-game league slate. Jake Schulze fired a two-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory over Burnsville in the first game of a doubleheader Friday afternoon and Ben Smith held visiting Lakeville South to two earned runs over seven innings in his first varsity start, a 4-3 Irish win on Monday.
"I've been really excited about our pitching and our defense hasn't been too bad," Rosemount coach Chris Swansson said. "Everything is coming around little by little and the pitching is really important now that we're playing so many games every week."
The offense also started to show signs of improvement on Monday. After totaling just 11 hits in the first three games, the Irish had a season-high seven hits against South. Jordan Turner was 3 for 3 out of the leadoff spot with three runs scored and Nick Seipel and Matt Thaden each knocked in runs.
"We started having a little bit better at bats than we did on Friday," Swansson said. "We were a little bit more aggressive at the plate."
Smith scattered eight hits and struck out one in the complete game.
Schulze was even more dominant on Friday, needing just 86 pitches to shut down Burnsville for seven innings. He struck out five and walked two.
The Irish had just three hits, including two in the decisive sixth. Anthony Winters reached with a single and scored the game's lone run on a Seipel double.
In Game 2, the Blaze had just five hits against starter Luke Dahl, but two official errors and two other misplays helped the visitors earn a split with a 5-2 win.
"We gave them four runs," Swansson said. "They're a good team and you can't give away that many outs to a good team."
Winters and Cole Northwick each had RBIs for the Irish and Turner had two hits and a walk.
In last Thursday's season opener, the Irish trailed Minnetonka 2-1 before allowing three in the bottom of the fifth.
Brian Rogers drove in the lone run with a double. Thaden singled and walked twice.
Seipel started and allowed four earned runs in five-plus innings.
The Irish (2-2) are back in action tomorrow night in a league doubleheader at Prior Lake.