March 31, 2012
The University of Minnesota baseball team used eight runs in the first two innings of play to earn a 9-4 win over Michigan, today at the H.H.H. Metrodome. The Golden Gophers had nine players add a hit, while four had multiple hit games. With the win, Minnesota is guaranteed the series win after a 6-3 win on Friday. Minnesota and Michigan will also play tomorrow at 1:05 for the series finale.
Top hitters were Kurt Schlangen, Dan Olinger, Bobby Juan, and Michael Handel, who all went 2-4 in the game. Schlangen had a RBI and two runs scored, while Olinger scored two runs scored and earned two RBI. Juan and Handel also had one RBI. This win advances Minnesota to a15-13 overall record, while standing 2-0 in conference play. The win is also Minnesota’s sixth straight victory.
The Gophers used two pitchers for today's match-up.DJ Snelten was accredited the win, with seven innings pitched. He scattered five hits, and surrendered two runs and four strikeouts. Billy Soule then pitched the remaining two innings and had five hits with two runs. Snelten improved to 3-1 on the season, and has picked up the win in three consecutive starts.
“When you have really good pitching like we do, it’s really easy to play defense and that is why we keep winning games,” Olinger said. “Being 6-0 doesn’t mean a whole lot in baseball, it is one game at a time. Coming out tomorrow, it’s going to be great to try and get that Sunday win.”
In the top of the first, Michigan had a walk and a bunt single to put two on with no outs. Snelten rebounded well and ended the Michigan threat with just one earned run allowed. Minnesota came back and put up four in the bottom of the first. Schlangen doubled to left and scored Larson, who led off the inning with a single. Olinger had his first RBI of the day when he drove home Schlangen from second to go up, 2-0. After a Matt Puhl walk, Olinger came home when Juan had a RBI single to left. After Handel had a single, Ryan Abrahamson lifted a sacrifice fly to score Puhl.
After Michigan went down in order in the second, the Gophers came right back and added another four runs in the second. After Andy Henkemeyer singled and Schlangen added his second double of the day, Olinger drove in his 17th RBI of the season to score Henkemeyer. Puhl pushed across Schlangen from third with a RBI single, while Juan scored Olinger from third. Handel added his second-straight single to plate Puhl, and the Gophers’ eighth run of the game.
Michigan cut the Gopher lead to 8-2 with a run in the fourth and then to 8-4 with another two in the eighth. Minnesota, however, finished the game scoring when J.T. Canakes double to left and would later score on a Michigan balk for the 9-4 final.
“That is why we play so many games,” Olinger said. “It takes us awhile to get the swing of things. Guys are really seeing the ball well right now. So we have to take this as far as we can, and hopefully keep it going tomorrow.”
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Around the Bases with Luke Pettersen
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