March 28, 2012
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Michael Handel went 4-4 with two RBI, Troy Larson went 2-3 with three RBI and Matt Halloran went 2-4 with two doubles as the University of Minnesota baseball team earned a 9-3 win over South Dakota State, tonight at the H.H.H. Metrodome. With the win the Golden Gophers enter the Big Ten Conference season with a 13-13 overall record and won four-straight games.
Along with Handel's plate appearances, he stole four bases and three runs scored. The last time a Golden Gopher stole three or more bases in a game dates back to April 19, 2006 when Dan Lyons accomplished the feat against Northern Iowa.
The Gophers also established the most hits in a game this season, posting 16. Minnesota's previous best came Hamline and Cal Poly with 14 earlier this year. Minnesota had five players have multiple-hit nights, while nine recorded a hit. The Gophers also had 19 players see action in the game, 14 of which were position players.
Minnesota started things off when it pushed across three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Handel drove home Halloran, who started the inning off with a stand-up double. Larson plated another two in the inning when he scored Handel and Ryan Abrahamson, who walked.
SDSU came right back in the top of the fifth and plated two. After a lead off walk, Aaron Machbitz had a RBI triple, while Eric Danforth added a RBI single to put it 3-2.
Minnesota, however, got the two runs back and added another two to take a 7-2 lead in the fifth. Halloran added his second double of the game when he drove home Olinger from first to make it 4-2. Handel added his second RBI of the game and fifth of the season when he singled to right center and plated Halloran from second. Handel scored when Larson walked to first with the bases loaded, while Bettenburg beat out an infield hit, which scored Abrahamson.
Matt Puhl added to the lead when he drove home Handel with a RBI single to right in the seventh inning. Puhl touched home on a Bettenburg double to give the Gophers a 9-2 lead.
SDSU got a run back in the eighth when it capitalized on just its second back-to-back hits of the game when Andrew Phelan and Eric Cain added a single and a double, followed by Zach Rhodes RBI grounder.
Minnesota utilized five pitchers, with Jordan Jess picking up the win. Ben Meyer started the game and held SDSU scoreless in his 3.1 innings pitched. Jess followed in the fourth and went 2.1 innings, allowing two runs, while Dustin Klabunde pitched 1.1 innings and faced five batters. Ty McDevitt and Billy Soule each pitched an inning, both getting a strikeout with MCDevitt allowing one run.
Minnesota opens the Big Ten Conference season at home as the Michigan Wolverines come to town, March 30-April 1st. Friday's game is set for 6:35 p.m., followed by 2:05 on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, all at the Metrodome.