Minneapolis, MN -
East Side Merchants and former Park of Cottage Grove standouts Jason Kickhafer, Brian Olson, and Jay Melson were all in MIAC Conference action this past week. In cases that could very easily garner player of the week considerations for all there athletes, each of them had outstanding individual weeks. On this past Wednesday, April 9th Jason Kickhafer took to the mound against Macalester College (9-14, 2-4 MIAC) where he proceeded to dominate the Scots on all accounts. Kick went the full seven innings for the complete game shutout. Scattering only four hits, walking one, while striking out four. It was Kick's second career complete game shutout victory, his first since last March the 24th when he one hit the University of Chicago (Illinois) in Mesa, Arizona. The win and complete game are both seconds for Kickhafer on the young season improving to (2-3) on the year. Kickhafer has worked a team-high in innings pitched thus far this season with 27 ½ innings while fanning nineteen batters (second on the team). In the nightcap contest, both Kickhafer and Brian Olson were in action. Kickhafer saw time at shortstop while Olson came into relieve the Auggies in the bottom half of the seventh inning earning the save. Olson worked one inning allowed no hits, no runs, no damage done while striking out two of the three batters he faced. It was Olson's third save of the season (ranking him second in the MIAC Conference behind Ben Turnwall of Bethel). In six appearances in 2008, Olson has the second lowest earned run average on the Auggies pitching staff (1.23). He's worked 7 ½ innings, allowed only five hits, two walks, and has struck out six. Opponents are only hitting .222 off Olson this season. Then there's Jay Melson, who is feasting off pitching lately. In the last two days, and over a four game span, Melson has gone on a tare. Against North Central University on Tuesday, Melson went (5 X 7, .715) with four runs, two rbi's, and a walk. In MIAC Conference action on Wednesday Melson continued to scorch the grain by going two for three in the MIAC opener against Hamline University. Melson reached base five out of his seven plate appearances during the series, he also walked twice in game two and drove in two runs, while also scoring a pair in the nightcap. Over the two day span Melson was a combined (7 X 11, .637) with five runs, four rbi's, and four walks. Melson now leads the Carleton Knights in every offensive statistical category including hits, runs, doubles, triples, homeruns, rbi's, slugging percentage, and on base percentage. In the meanwhile, down south at Iowa Central, Deryk Marks continues his assault on some the top junior college pitching in the nation. In twenty-two games this year, the freshman Marks is hitting (.311 in 74 total at-bats). Marks ranks second on the team in runs scored (25), third in at-bats (74), tied for third in hits (23), tied for second in doubles (8), third in walks (11), tied for third in stolen bases (3 for 3) and ranks first on the team in fewest strikeouts/per at-bat (4 in 74 at bats). Marks also ranks second on the team in total assists (30) while playing a wide variety of positions through the team's first twenty-four games. Currently Marks is the Tritons new starting shortstop, hitting third in the order.