March 29, 2014
Alec Crawford struck out seven batters as the University of Minnesota (13-7, 3-1 Big Ten) baseball team opened its home season with a 4-2 win against Michigan State. Timely hitting helped push them past the Spartans (10-11, 1-3 Big Ten) Saturday at Siebert Field.
Crawford moved to 3-1 on the season after holding Michigan State to two runs on five hits in seven innings.
The Spartans had leadoff runners in six innings of the game, and stole five bases, but they only scored twice. Center fielder Anthony Cheky singled to start the fourth and stole two bases before scoring on designated hitter Blaise Salter's sacrifice fly.
The Gophers broke the tie in the fifth. Smith led off with a single. He stole second and advanced to third after an error on the throw. Smith scored on a groundout by first baseman Tyler Hanson to make it 2-1.
Minnesota added two runs in the sixth. Olinger singled with one out, then Juan walked and Handel hit a single off of pitcher Mick VanVossen to load the bases. A sacrifice fly by catcher Mark Tatera and a single by Smith through the left side scored Olinger and Juan.
Right fielder Jimmy Pickens, who hit 2-for-2 with two walks, scored the Spartans' second run in the seventh after a leadoff walk. Shortstop Ryan Richardson drove him home. Michigan State threatened to score more, as it still had two runners on base with one out, but Crawford struck out the next two batters.
Dalton Sawyer earned his fourth save, pitching the final two innings. He has now thrown 17 innings without giving up an earned run this season. VanVossen (4-1) took the loss for Michigan State.
The Gophers and Spartans will play a doubleheader Sunday starting at 11 a.m. to decide the series.
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.