Gophers Victorious in 6-3 Big Ten Opener Over Michigan
March 30, 2012
TJ Oakes allowed just one unearned run, while Bobby Juan had an inside the park home run to lead the University of Minnesota baseball team to a 6-3 win over Michigan, tonight, at the H.H.H. Metrodome. With the win, the Golden Gophers improve to 14-13 overall and won the Big Ten Conference opener. Minnesota has now won the last five games.
Oakes continued to dominant his opponents when he pitched 7.0 complete innings, allowed five hits and had a career-high nine strikeouts and did not issue a walk. After allowing an unearned run in the first inning, the junior right-hander mowed down the Wolverines and scattered just four hits throughout the remainder of the game. Improving to 5-1 on the season, Oakes pitched 113 pitches and holds a 1.33 ERA.
Michigan took the early 1-0 lead when Patrick Biondi singled and later scored from second on a Gopher throwing error in the top of the first inning. Minnesota, however rallied back and scored four in the bottom of the third to take the 4-1 lead. Olinger delivered a right center RBI single, scoring Matt Puhl, who led off the inning with a single. Juan delivered the inside the park home run to score three additional runs in the inning. Juan hit the ball to right field, but the ball got past Michigan's Michael O'Neill and scored Larson, Olinger and himself on a play at the plate to go up, 4-1. It was Juan's first home run of the season and second of his career. That was Minnesota's second inside the park home run of the season after Andy Henkemeyer accomplished it against Stony Brook (3/10).
The Gophers then added to their lead when it pushed across two more in the bottom of the fifth. Larson started things off when he had led the inning with a single. Olinger plated Larson from third after Henkemeyer moved him to third on a right-side grounder. After Matt Halloran singled to right, he scored on a triple by Juan, his second extra-base hit of the game.
The Wolverines threatened in the top of the ninth when Tom Windle came into the game, making his first appearance since the Kansas loss (3/10). He issued three walks and struck out one. Kevin Kray came in to relieve him. After bloop single and a hit by pitch scored two runs, Kray had Will Drake ground out for the final out of the game. Kray picked up his fifth save of the season.
Minnesota and Michigan play again tomorrow at 2:05 p.m.