Feb. 18, 2012
The University of Minnesota earned a 7-3 win over Louisville to open the 2012 season. The game was called for a rain delay at the top of the ninth inning with two outs. With the inclement weather, the game was not concluded on Friday. Minnesota and Louisville were asked to come back for the last out of the inning on Saturday, but per NCAA rules and officials, the game was called a complete game on Friday. A protest was filed at home plate on Saturday and per the umpires ruling, the game was ruled an official game. With eight innings completed, the score reverted back to the 7-1 final.
"The organizing group did not have provision for halted games," head coach John Anderson said. "Since there were no provisions and the fact that the game couldn't be completed last night, the game reverts back to NCAA rules. The NCAA states that since the game couldn't be completed last night, it's an official game. According to the NCAA rules committee, which the umpires checked with them and with the supervisor officials of the Big Ten, it was their interpretation that they were not going to allow us to play and finish that game because they were instructed not to. Their job is to enforce the rules and the integrity of the game and the rules said it was an official game. There's no agreement for a halted game. We use that rule in our conference because we play the same opponent in the same facility. Here we can't do that because we play multiple games at multiple sites. The discussion ended at the ballpark last night that if we can't get the full game in, it's still an official game. The tournament committee didn't want to make that ruling and asked us to come back today. I filed a protest at home plate, which is the official way to do it and the umpires did say they would enforce the protest because they were instructed not to let us throw a pitch."
The Gophers were the first team to get on the board when they scored a run in the bottom of the fourth, after Louisville threatened in the first four innings and stranded five on base. Kyle Geason started things off when he was hit by a pitch. On a hit and run, Dan Olinger delivered a base hit, advancing Geason to third. On a passed ball for Louisville, Geason took advantage and scored the Gophers' first run of the game. Louisville responded when Cole Sturgeon led off with a double and then advanced to third on a passed ball. Adam Engel had a sac fly RBI to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth.
Minnesota re-gained the lead when the Gophers put up two in the bottom of the fifth inning. Michael Handel reached base on a fielder's choice, while Kurt Schlangen had a RBI double to deep center. Andy Henkemeyer followed with a single to right, scoring Schlangen.
With one swing the Gophers went up three when Trip Schultz hit his fourth career home run over the right field wall in the bottom of the sixth. It was Schultz's first home run since Delaware State game on Feb. 27, 2011.
Minnesota added another three to its lead in the eighth inning. Henkemeyer started things off when he had a leadoff double for Minnesota. After a Geason walk, Henkemeyer advanced to third on a wild pitch. After Louisville gave up a second-straight walk, Matt Puhl delivered a deep sac fly, which scored Henkemeyer. After hitting his home run, the Cardinals intentionally walked Schultz to load the bases. On a error by the Cardinals' shortstop, Troy Larson reached base, which also scored Geason and Olinger.
TJ Oakes earned his first win of the season when he pitched 5.2 innings, gave up six hits, one unearned run and struck out one. DJ Snelten relieved Oakes and pitched 2.1 innings, striking out three and allowing a hit. Justin Amlung took the loss when he pitched six innings and gave up six hits four runs, three of which were earned, and struck out six. As the rain came pouring down, the Gophers allowed two hit by pitches and walks which led to the 7-3 final before the game was called.
Schlangen went 2-3 with an RBI, run scored and a walk. Henkemeyer went 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Olinger was 1-3 with a walk. Minnesota had four extra base hits in the game as Bobby Juan, Henkemeyer and Schlangen all had doubles, while Schultz had the home run.
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