Irish’s ace pitches like one

Schulze shuts out 4th-ranked Burnsville

Jake Schulze’s two-hit shutout of Burnsville gave Rosemount its first baseball victory of the season. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Jake Schulze’s two-hit shutout of Burnsville gave Rosemount its first baseball victory of the season. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

If Rosemount is going to have any chance of reversing last year’s 5-16 baseball record, the Irish need Jake Schulze to pitch like an ace.

Last Friday, Schulze looked every bit the part, throwing a two-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory over Burnsville, the fourth-ranked team in Class AAA.

“When you’ve been waiting six weeks to play a ballgame, it’s great to see something like that,” Rosemount coach Chris Swansson said. “We were going to limit him to 90 pitches, and he ended up throwing 78.”

The Irish went 1-2 in their first three games of the season. After losing 6-1 at Minnetonka on April 25, they split with Burnsville in a South Suburban Conference doubleheader April 26. Schulze’s shutout was in the first game of the doubleheader; Burnsville won the second game 5-2.

Luke Dahl, a sophomore, was the starting pitcher in the second game against Burnsville.

“I thought Jake and Luke did a good job,” Swansson said. “Both had good stuff and both threw a lot of strikes.”

Rosemount had nine losses by one or two runs in 2012, so winning a close game early this season can only help the Irish’s psyche, the coach said.

“It was big for us because Burnsville’s a great program,” Swansson said. “To win the first game and be able to compete in the second one – we still have a ways to go, but it shows our players they can play with good teams.”

The Irish had only three hits in the first game against Burnsville, but two of them came in the bottom of the sixth, when Nick Seipel’s double scored Anthony Winter, who had reached on a single.

In the second game, doubles by Jordan Turner and Winter scored Rosemount’s first run in the fifth inning. Later in the same inning, Cole Northwick’s sacrifice fly brought in another run.

In the Minnetonka game, Brian Rogers doubled in Chris Bauer in the top of the fifth inning, cutting the Skippers’ lead to 2-1. Minnetonka responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Seipel started the game on the mound and pitched the first 4 2/3 innings.

Swansson said before the season started that pitching depth could be the Irish’s strength. That figures to be tested as the late spring forces teams to cram their regular-season games – they’re allowed 20 – into about four weeks. Section 3AAA playoffs are scheduled to begin May 24.

The Irish defeated Lakeville South 4-3 on Monday, evening their record at 2-2 before bad weather forced another rash of postponements. Rosemount is scheduled to play a doubleheader at noon Saturday at Prior Lake and plays host to defending state Class AAA champion Eastview at 4:15 p.m. Monday. The Irish are scheduled for three more South Suburban doubleheaders before the end of the regular season, including one Tuesday at Eagan at 3 p.m.

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