The University of Minnesota baseball team split double header action against Western Michigan, today at the H.H.H. Metrodome. In the first game, the Golden Gophers (3-3) suffered their first shutout of the season, dropping 2-0 to the Broncos. Minnesota's bats came alive in the second game (seven innings) when it won, 15-1 and led, 7-0 by the end of two.
The second Saturday game marked the first time the Gophers had scored 15 runs in a game since May 29, 2010 against Iowa (15-5). The win also marked the first time the Gophers won by more than 10 runs since they defeated Indiana, 12-1 on April 23, 2011.
The two teams play tomorrow in the series finale at noon.
Game 1-WMU 2, Minnesota 0
Western Michigan jumped out to a 2-0 lead when it scored a run in the second and fourth inning. Hunter Prince walked to lead off the second and came around to score off a hit from Brandon Cable. Patrick Duncan started the fourth inning on a single to center and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Theo Piccirilli scored Duncan with a base hit to increase the Broncos' lead to 2-0.
The two runs would be all the Broncos needed as starting pitcher Mike Moyer and reliever Patrick Borlik held the Gophers scoreless. Moyer picked up his first win of the season, while Borlik earned the save, his first of the year.
Minnesota threatened in the bottom of the sixth when three Gophers walked to load the bases. Moyer walked leadoff hitter Andy Henkemeyer, while Kurt Schlangen bunted him over to second. Patrick Borlik came in to relieve Moyer and walked the next two batters, but regrouped and got the Gophers to fly out for the third and final out to strand three.
Minnesota would also strand two in the ninth inning when Troy Larson bunted his way on and Connor Schaefbauer walked. However, the Gophers would leave the two on after they ended the game with the fly to center.
In his first collegiate at bat, Dan Motl hit a double. It was one of the three Gopher hits in the game, and the lone extra base hit. Ben Meyer picked up the loss and is now 0-2 on the season. He went 5.2 innings, scattered six hits, gave up both runs, walked one and struck out two. Lance Thonvold pitched 3.1 innings, allowed three hits, and struck out four.
Game Two-Minnesota 15, Western Michigan 1
Minnesota's bats came alive in the second game when it opened with seven runs in the first two innings. In the first, the Gophers had back-to-back doubles by Dan Olinger and Matt Halloran for a 1-0 lead. Michael Handel stepped up and delivered a triple to left center and scored Halloran. Handel would touch home on a RBI grounder from JT Canakes for the third run.
After a Bronco run in the top of the second, Minnesota pushed another four across in the second inning for a 7-1 lead. Larson singled and advanced to second on a Bronco wild pitch. After Abrahamson and Henkemeyer walked to load the bases, WMU replaced starting pitcher Will Nimke for Derek Schneider. After the pitching change, Olinger was hit by a pitch to bring in Larson and Halloran plated Abrahamson on a sacrifice fly. On a throw to first by the pitcher, it sailed over the first baseman's head to score Henkemeyer from third. Handel hit an RBI single to score Olinger for the 7-1 lead.
Minnesota plated another two in the third for a 9-1 lead. Larson and Abrahamson both walked, while Connor Schaefbauer singled to left. On the throw in from Schaefbauer's single, Larson came around to score off of a throwing error. Henkemeyer doubled to right and plated Abrahamson for the ninth Gopher run.
WMU walked Canakes, Bobby Juan and Abrahamson before Schaefbauer plated two on a double to left center. Henkemeyer provided a sacrifice fly, while Olinger singled down the right field line to add another two runs. Minnesota followed with its final two runs scored in the fifth. Handel hit his second extra base hit of the game when he led things off with a double to left center and Canakes drove him home on a RBI single. Canakes would later score the final Gopher run on a RBI grounder from David Bettenburg.
Kyle O'Shea, who hadn't started in a game since 2011, earned the win. He went 5.0 innings, allowed just one run in four hits and walked one. Ty McDevitt pitched 2.0 innings, allowed just one hit and struck out two.
Around the Bases with Matt Fiedler
Junior Matt Fiedler has been all over the diamond early in his Gophers career.
Around the Bases with Jeff Fasching
Jeff Fasching, a sophomore pitcher, tossed eight innings of relief for the Gophers last season.
Around the Bases with Luke Pettersen
After a successful first season with the Gophers, Luke Pettersen enters his sophomore season on campus.