David and Goliath? Not so fast, said the Saint Mary’s baseball team.
On Wednesday, March 30, the baseball team traveled to Siebert Field in Minneapolis to square off against the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota. The Gophers, who compete in the Division I Big 10 Conference, have won three national titles in the history of the program and boast 30 NCAA tournament appearances.
The Cardinals were given the opportunity to play the Gophers through pitching coach T.J. Oakes. Oakes has connections with the University of Minnesota through his father Todd Oakes, who is himself a pitching coach for the Gophers’ baseball team.
“When I got off the bus and saw the big screen saying Minnesota versus Saint Mary’s, I felt an enormous sense of pride,” said sophomore infielder and pitcher Joe Seegers. “I know we were all excited to be able to play a Division I team and represent our university.”
The Cardinals led the Gophers for three innings.
Photo by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
And represent they did. In the first inning, senior outfielder Willie Doll hit a single, stole second, and advanced to third after a throwing error. Then a groundout from Seegers brought him home, putting the Cardinals on the scoreboard first.
The Cardinals held onto the 1-0 lead for three innings. Despite the Gophers’ eventual 9-1 victory, the Cardinals took a lot away from the experience, said Seegers.
“After the game, we had the privilege of talking to Todd Oakes,” he said. “He talked to us about how to approach the game each day and that it is an honor to be able to wear your jersey.”
The Cardinals’ next home game is a MIAC doubleheader against St. John’s University at Max Molock Field on Saturday, April 9. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.