March 3, 2012
The University of Minnesota baseball team scored four runs in the first and another two in the second to set the tone and defeat the West Virginia Mountaineers, 11-3, tonight at the H.H.H. Metrodome in front of 2,481 fans. Minnesota posted at least a run in the first four innings, another in the seventh and two in the eighth for the double-digit run mark. The 11-run game was the most Gopher runs scored in the game this season. With the win, the Gophers improve to 5-5 on the season and 2-0 in the 28th annual Dairy Queen Classic. West Virginia dropped to 4-5 on the season and 1-1 in the tournament.
Minnesota was led in hitting by junior Matt Puhl, who went 3-5 with three RBI and a double. Dan Olinger went 3-4 with two RBI and two doubles, while David Bettenburg had two hits and two runs scored in four at bats. Gopher leadoff hitter Andy Henkemeyer had a career-high four walks and two runs scored.
The winning pitcher for the Gophers was Tom Windle, who improved to 2-1 on the season. He had two earned runs and five strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work. WVU starter Marshall Thompson allowed seven runs and dropped to 1-2.
The Gophers plated eight runs in the first four innings, including a four-run first inning. Kurt Schlangen delivered his fourth RBI of the season when he drove home Andy Henkemeyer as he led off the inning with a walk. Puhl earned a two out double, which scored both Schlangen and Troy Larson. In the first inning alone, the Gophers had three hits, one walk, one hit by pitch and drove in the four runs, leaving just one on base.
After West Virginia added a run in the top of the second on an RBI single to left by Bobby Boyd, the Gophers came out in the bottom half of the inning and added another two for a 6-1 lead after two. Bettenburg led off with a single to right and Henkemeyer followed with a single. Larson successfully advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Dan Olinger followed with a double when he hit the ball over the rightfielder's head to score the two runs.
Minnesota pushed across another run in the third and in the fourth to jump up 8-1 by the end of the fourth inning. Puhl scored on a wild pitch after he led off the inning with a single. Puhl followed up with an RBI single in the fourth inning when he drove home Olinger, who had his second double of the game. WVU added a run in the top of the fifth when Nate Antone provided a sacrifice fly to put the game at 8-2.
Jake Bergren earned his first career RBI when he beat out a throw to first, scoring Bettenburg. Coming into the game as a pinch hitter, Bergren also earned his first stolen base of his young career on his second career attempt. After WVU scored a run in the top of the eighth on another sacrifice fly, Minnesota responded and scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth. After Dan Olinger hit a single to left, he advanced all the way around on three wild pitches as Antone moved from third base to pitcher. Chris Schaaf saw action in his first career game. Although he struck out swinging a throwing error by the catcher advanced him to second. That error scored Abrahamson as he reached base on a walk.
Minnesota plays Nebraska in the final game of the DQ Classic, tomorrow at 3 p.m. Nebraska came from behind and scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat New Mexico State, 6-4. The final two runs came on a walkoff home run by Rich Sanguinetti. The Huskers are 1-1 in the tournament as is West Virginia. New Mexico State is 0-2.
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.