The University of Minnesota baseball team opened the home season with a 7-1 win over Western Michigan, tonight, at the H.H.H. Metrodome. With the win, the Golden Gophers improve to 2-2 on the season, while WMU drops to 0-5 this year.
Dan Olinger had four runs batted in and went 1-4, while Andy Henkemeyer, Michael Handel and Troy Larson all had multiple-hit games. In all, Minnesota had 13 hits and allowed just five in the game. Tom Windle picked up his first win of the season when he pitched 5.2 innings, allowed just three hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Billy Soule came in relief and pitched 3.1 innings, allowed two hits, one run, walked one and struck out three.
The Gophers got on the board in the bottom of the second when Larson hit a deep infield single to score Alex LaShomb after he led off the frame with a single to left.
Minnesota kept the Broncos off the board in the top of the fifth, despite a leadoff double by Patrick Duncan. After the double and a grounder to first to advance the runner, Windle was able to strike out Theo Piccirilli to avoid the sacrifice fly, while Caleb Caton hit into a 1-3 putout.
Minnesota plated two more in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-0 lead. Ryan Abrahamson led the inning off with a single to center, while Tony Skjefte hit a double to right field, putting two on, no outs. Kurt Schlangen scored Abrahamson as he hit it through the left side of the infield for his first RBI of the season. Dan Olinger delivered a sacrifice bunt RBI to push across Skjefte for the third Gopher run.
After Western Michigan added a run in the top of the seventh, Minnesota responded and scored four in the bottom of the frame. Connor Schaefbauer pinch hit and led things off with a base hit to center, his first collegiate hit of his Gopher career. On the hit and run, Schaefbauer advanced to third and on the throw, Henkemeyer advanced to second. Schlangen was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Olinger delivered a triple to knock in all three runners. Bobby Juan hit a fielder's choice to score Olinger to put the game at 7-1 and the eventual final.
WMU would use four pitchers in the game as starter Steve Laugicina allowed three earned runs, had 94 pitches and struck out five. Also seeing action for WMU was Pat Haynes, Derek Schneider and Casey Hall.
The Gophers will play the Broncos again tomorrow in a nine-inning and seven inning doubleheader. The first game is scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m., also at the Metrodome.