Freshmen Help Gophers Beat NIU 6-4
Feb. 15, 2014
The University of Minnesota baseball team (2-0) beat Northern Illinois (0-2) 6-4 Saturday in Glendale, Ariz. Tyler Hanson and Matt Stemper drove in two runs each in their collegiate debut, and Brian Glowicki earned a save in his first appearance, to help the Gophers take the second game of the series.
The Gophers got on the board early. Connor Schaefbauer was hit by Jordan Ruckman's pitch and Matt Fiedler was walked to start the first inning. In his first plate appearance, Hanson hit a two-out, ground rule double that plated Schaefbauer. Then Stemper cleared the bases with a two-run single to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead. Hanson would hit 2-for-3 on the afternoon.
Northern Illinois scored two unearned runs in the third to cut the lead to 3-2. Justin Fletcher singled off of Jordan Jess and Tommy Hook walked to give the Huskies two base runners with one out. Alex Klonwoski reached on an error that scored Fletcher. Hook scored on a sacrifice fly by Landon Tenhagen.
The Gophers made it 4-2 in the bottom half of the inning. Matt Fiedler, who made his first start at third, reached base on a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error. After a pair of walks to Michael Handel and Dan Olinger, Fiedler scored on a Hanson sacrifice fly.
The Huskies scored one run in each of the next two innings, but Minnesota also scored twice in the fourth. Chris Divarco doubled and scored in the fourth and drove in Klonowski, who had doubled, in the fifth.
For the Gophers, Troy Traxler, another player making his first start, walked and Dan Motl hit a single. Connor Schaefbauer and Matt Fiedler each reached base on error, allowing Traxler and Motl to score.
Ty McDevitt got the win for Minnesota, entering the game in relief of Jess to start the fourth inning. He pitched three innings, struck out two batters and gave up two earned runs.
Glowicki pitched three shutout innings to earn the save. He faced 11 batters and gave up just one hit. Jordan Ruckman, who pitched 3 1/3 innings was tagged with the loss.
Austin Athmann was the fifth Gopher to make his first start on Saturday. He batted 1-for-4 and caught nine innings.
Minnesota and Northern Illinois will conclude the series Sunday at 2 p.m. CT.