'Mutt and Jeff' deliver for Saints

March 16, 2011 

They're the Mutt and Jeff of college baseball, the big and small units.

Michael McIver, at 6-foot-10, might be the tallest pitcher in college baseball. Tommy DeBoer, at 5-8, might be one of the shortest.

But while the left-handers’ release points are different, their results are the same - wins for Saint Martin’s.

The two Capital graduates combined to give up one run over 122/3 innings for two wins against Montana State Billings over the weekend, giving the Saints a four-game sweep of the Yellowjackets.

“Batters have to adjust to them,” SMU coach Ken Garland said. “They have different strengths. They give us a different look.”

And it’s not just because of their size.

“Tommy changes arm angles and changes speeds,” said Matt Acker, SMU assistant coach. “Michael is more fastball, changeup. Tommy is working on movement. Michael is working on speed change and location.”

DeBoer hasn’t given up a run in his past two starts, throwing 12 shutout innings. Against Montana State Billings on Sunday, the junior threw five scoreless innings, striking out five and not allowing a walk. Even though he was fighting the flu, he retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced in the 4-0 win. The only runner to reach base struck out and reached base on an error. He was pulled after the fifth.

“Tommy pitched well, but he wasn’t feeling well,” Acker said. “Plus, there was a 25-minute rain delay. So, we took him out.”

In his previous start, DeBoer tossed a four-hit, seven-inning shutout in a 3-0 win against Northwest Nazarene on March 4, earning him GNAC pitcher of the week.

McIver’s fastball tops off at 90 mph. DeBoer throws 83-84 mph. McIver will shake off a pitch. He has a plan, a location he wants to throw to. DeBoer gets the signal, nods his head and throws it.

“Michael throws harder,” Garland said. “But Tommy has more movement.”

Senior Casey Mitchell is SMU’s third Capital graduate that’s pitching well for the Saints. DeBoer, Mitchell and McIver all have ERAs below 2.60 and have combined for eight of their team’s nine wins.

McIver, a senior, is 2-2 with a 2.20 ERA, giving up seven earned runs in 282/3 innings. Mitchell, another left-hander, is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA, allowing eight earned runs in 32 innings. DeBoer is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA.

“Casey is good at location,” Garland said. “He’s been outstanding. Our pitching has been outstanding. So has our defense.”

After losing eight of their first nine games, the Saints have won seven of their past eight, improving to 9-10 overall.

The Saints are atop the Great Northwest Athletic Conference at 7-1.

Garland came into the season optimistic about his team’s chances.

“Losing at the start of the season was frustrating,” Garland said. “But these guys never stopped believing. ”

WAGNER CRUISES

Lindsey Wagner is off to a fast start.

Wagner, a junior at Northwest University in Kirkland and a Northwest Christian grad, ran 1,500 meters in 5 minutes, 3.11 seconds at the Pacific Lutheran Invitational on Saturday to place seventh. Her time is the best of the season in the Cascade Conference. She also placed seventh in the 800 with a 2:30.6.

Saint Martin’s Joscelyn Minton was a double winner, taking first in the 1,500 and the 800. The Northwest Christian graduate led the 1,500 from the start and narrowly won in 4:46.53, a personal best. She won the 800 by three seconds in 2:23.3.

In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Evergreen sophomore Connor Abdelnoor broke his own school with a time of 58.5 seconds to place second. His time qualified him for the conference championship.

gwood@theolympian.com

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