March 19, 2014
The University of Minnesota (11-6) baseball team beat Saint Mary’s 12-1 Wednesday in Moraga, Calif., to finish its California road trip with a 4-1 record. The Golden Gophers scored 27 total runs on 31 hits in their last two games before the start of Big Ten play.
Catcher Troy Traxler, who entered the game in the third inning, led the Gophers at the plate, hitting 3-for-4 with three runs, an RBI and two stolen bases. The Minnesota pitching staff that allowed only one run included freshman starter Cody Campbell, who was making his first collegiate appearance. The Gophers’ defense turned three double plays during the game.
Minnesota scored with the help of an error in the first inning. Third baseman Tony Skjefte walked, then advanced to third on an error that allowed to Tatera to reach base. Right fielder Bobby Juan hit a sacrifice fly to send Skjefte home.
The Gaels (8-12) scored their only run in the bottom of the first to tie the game. Center fielder Anthony Gonsolin walked to start the inning and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Ricky Boas. Catcher Trevor Ellison hit a single down the first base line to score Gonsolin. The Gaels tallied nine hits in the game, including two each by third baseman Anthony Villa and Ellison.
Minnesota scored in six of nine innings. Catcher/first baseman Mark Tatera’s one-out single off of starter Jacob Valdez in the third scored left fielder Jake Bergren (2-for-4) and Skjefte. The Gophers never trailed after that.
Two runs scored on a bases-loaded error in the fifth, and then Bergren stole home to make it 6-1. While the Gaels had Juan caught between first and second, Bergren broke for home and beat the throw.
A bases-loaded walk of Skjefte added one in the sixth. Skjefte picked up another RBI with a double in the eighth.
Minnesota tacked on three runs in the top of the ninth. Juan singled and shortstop Michael Handel walked with no outs. Matt Stemper, pinch running for Juan, scored from second on a single by center fielder Jordan Smith. Designated hitter David Bettenburg drove in Handel. Then Smith scored on a single by Traxler.
Campbell pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up two hits, two walks and a run in his debut. Neal Kunik, Lance Thonvold and Dalton Sawyer combined for 6 1/3 shutout innings. Kunik earned his first win. Sawyer has now pitched 13 innings this season without allowing an earned run.
The Gophers will open their conference schedule with a series against Northwestern in St. Charles, Mo. The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday, March 22 starting at noon CDT and a single game Sunday, March 23 starting at 1 p.m. The series will be played at Lindenwood University’s Lou Brock Sports Complex.
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Eli Wilson comes the Gophers after having a .394 batting average, .469 on-base percentage and a .563 slugging percentage his senior season at Garfield High School.
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