Feb. 14, 2014
The Golden Gopher baseball team started its season with a 10-inning victory, defeating the Northern Illinois Huskies 3-2 at Camelback Ranch Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Dan Olinger drove in Connor Schaefbauer for the winning run.
Schaefbauer scored two runs on the afternoon. Olinger went 2-for-5 with two RBI. The Gopher pitching staff struck out 15 batters as a group.
Both teams’ starting pitchers helped to keep the game low-scoring. Right-hander Alec Crawford struck out eight batters and in four innings, including all three Northern Illinois batters he faced in the second. The Huskies Eli Anderson surrendered only one run and three hits in seven innings.
Justin Fletcher put Northern Illinois on the scoreboard first with an RBI triple to the right corner, scoring Chris Divarco, who had reached on a single. Those were the only two hits Crawford gave up in his first outing of the year.
Northern Illinois took advantage of a leadoff error in the eighth to grab a 2-1 lead. Tommy Hook scored while the Gophers retired two of his teammates in a 1-6-3 double play.
Minnesota struck back in the bottom of the inning. Singles by Schaefbauer and Michael Handel gave the Gophers two base runners. With two outs, Olinger drove in Schaefbauer with a base hit to tie the game at 2. Neither team scored in the ninth.
Kevin Kray, who pitched the final three innings of the game, sent the Huskies down in order in the top of the 10th inning. Kray and Dalton Sawyer each pitched three innings in relief, with Sawyer striking out four and
Schaefbauer started the Gophers’ half of the inning with a walk, and advanced to second on a balk. After Mark Tatera flew out, the Huskies intentionally walked Handel. Matt Halloran was hit by pitch to load the bases for Olinger. Olinger hit a grounder and Northern Illinois elected to throw home, but Schaefbauer beat the throw to give the Gophers the win.
Kray was credited with a win for Minnesota, while Anthony Andres took the loss. Brian Sisler each batted 2-for-4 for the Huskies.
Minnesota and Northern Illinois will continue the series at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday.
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