Gophers Win Dairy Queen Classic; Fall to Nebraska But Win the Tie-Breaker

Go Gophers! Matt Puhl was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player
Go Gophers!
Matt Puhl was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player
Go Gophers!

March 4, 2012

Final Stats Photo Gallery

In a three-way tie, Minnesota came out victorious as it won the run-differential tie-breaker to win the 28th-annual Dairy Queen Classic, today, at the H.H.H. Metrodome. Despite Nebraska defeating the Golden Gophers, 10-3 in the classic finale, the Golden Gophers held a two-run lead over the Cornhuskers. West Virginia also went 2-1 on the weekend, while New Mexico State went 0-3.

Matt Puhl was named the tournamen'ts most outstanding player. He had a breakout weekend when he went 5-12 with four RBI, two doubles and one walk. In the field, Puhl also had a fielding percentage of .941 when he had just one error in and helped turn a double play. Dan Olinger, Bobby Juan and TJ Oakes also were named to the all-tournament team. Olinger had three RBI in the series, including two in the win over West Virginia. Juan went 3-4 in the win over New Mexico State, while TJ Oakes allowed just one earned run and had a career-high seven strikeouts in his win against the Aggies.

In Sunday's game, Nebraska tallied 13 hits to Minnesota's seven. Michael Pritchard went 3 -4 with three RBI to lead Nebraska. Puhl and Michael Handel each went 2-4 with an RBI for the Gophers, with Handel hitting a homerun.

Nebraska took an early lead off Minnesota starter Austin Lubinsky when Pritchard singled, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on a double by Richard Stock. The Cornhuskers added three runs to their lead in the second with a walk, a single, and two doubles.

The Gophers had a hard time hitting Nebraska's Tom Lemke. In his five innings, he surrendered only four hits and one run. Minnesota's first run of the game came in the fifth inning. Puhl led off with a single, then Kyle Crocker replaced him on first after grounding into a fielder's choice. Michael Handel hit a single, Andy Henkemeyer walked, and then Kurt Schlangen hit Crocker in on a RBI sacrifice fly.

The Gophers added another run in the sixth when a Puhl double scored Ryan Abrahamson. Then Michael Handel hit his first career homerun off of Nebraska reliever Dexter Spitsnogle in the seventh inning. The solo homer traveled an estimated distance of 346 feet to left field to cut the lead to 7-3.

But Nebraska tacked on three more runs in the ninth and then retired the Gophers to seal the game. TomLemke earned his first win of the season for Nebraska, while Lubinsky fell to 0-2 with the loss. DJ Snelten pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the Gophers, striking out two and giving up one hit.

Minnesota will play Hamline on Wednesday night, 6:30 p.m., at the Metrodome. Following the Hamline game, the Gophers continue their homestand and host Stony Brook and Kansas, March 9-11. Kansas and Stony Brook play twice on Friday, March 9. Minnesota plays a doubleheader on Saturday with a game against Stony Brook (Noon) and Kansas (6:35 p.m.) The Gophers will then host Kansas on Sunday at 12:05 p.m.

John Anderson Quotes:
On the Gophers' hitting this weekend:

“We lost a tough game on Thursday to New Mexico State when we lost in the ninth inning. You worry a little bit about how the guys are going to hang onto that. I thought our guys did a good job of moving on played better throughout the course of the weekend. We had a tough start today against Nebraska and it seemed like they made contact early and everything they hit were in places we weren't and as they got the big lead, it made it easier on their starting pitcher. I thought our kids battled all game. We had some good at bats today. We made a run at them and had opportunity a couple times with Schlangen. I was just pleased with their energy and that we didn’t just sit back. We are making progress offensively but we still we need to get Andy Henkemeyer going. He’s a veteran guy that has to be a little more consistent. I think Abrahamson is making progress and I’m encouraged that he can be more consistent.”

On the Gophers that made the All-Tournament Team and their weekend:
“Matt (Puhl) didn’t get out of the gate very well and struggled earlier this season. I think this weekend his attitude was outstanding. I thought last weekend he was at times a little down on himself and frustrated. I thought he had a much better attitude this weekend. I think Robb Quinlan has done a good job and getting him squared away. He made adjustments in his game and obviously it showed this weekend. TJ Oakes pitched outstanding and is off to a great start and Bobby (Juan) had a nice game in the opener. Dan Olinger is swinging a great bat and playing well. I feel for the kid because he’s playing out of position. He’s doing the best he can over there and he’s not trained to be a third basemen. Right now we don’t have anyone else to play there and we’ll keep working with him and continue to improve his skills there. “  

All-Tournament
C: Max Nogay, West Virginia
1B: Richard Stock, Nebraska
2B: Matt Puhl, Minnesota
SS: John Polonius, West Virginia
3B: Dan Olinger, Minnesota
OF: Brady Wilson, West Virginia
OF: Austin Darby, Nebraska
OF: Bobby Juan, Minnesota
P: Ryan Beck, New Mexico State
P: TJ Oakes, Minnesota
DH: Michael Pritchard, Nebraska

Silver Stick: Michael Pritchard, Nebraska
MOP: Matt Puhl, Minnesota