Gophers Clinch Series With 6-3 Win at Northwestern
April 13, 2013
University of Minnesota baseball team solidified a series win when it defeated Northwestern, 6-3, today in Evanston, Ill. With a 4-2 win on Friday and a 6-3 win today, the Golden Gophers have now won their first three Big Ten Conference series as they improve to 6-2 in the league and 21-13 overall. Minnesota took two of three games against Michigan and Ohio State earlier this season.
Alec Crawford picked up his first Division I collegiate win when he went 5.0 innings, scattered six hits, three earned runs, walked three and struck out two. Lance Thonvold came in relief and earned a save. He went 4.0 innings, allowed just one hit, did not allow a run, walked one and struck out four as he collected the save.
Minnesota had six hits in the game and utilized on three Northwestern wild pitches to score half of its runs. Troy Larson led the team with two hits, while Andy Henkemeyer, Michael Handel, Connor Schaefbauer and Matt Halloran also had a hit. Ryan Abrahamson had an RBI walk, while Schaefbauer held the other RBI. Dan Olinger walked twice.
Despite only having one hit, Minnesota plated three runs in the top of the first for an early 3-0 lead. With one out, Handel bunted his way onto base. After Olinger walked on four-straight balls, Mark Tatera reached base on a hit by pitch. Abrahamson walked to score Minnesota's first run of the game. The Gophers added to its lead when Olinger scored on a wild pitch. Schaefbauer drove in a run on a RBI grounder for a 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats, however, responded in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at 3-3. Kyle Ruchim hit a solo home run in his second-straight game to put the score at 3-1. Colby Everett hit a double to score Jack Havey, who reached base on a single. Luke Dauch provided a single through the left side to score another run. Everett tried to score from second, but Kurt Schlangen provided a great throw for a 9-2 throw out at the plate.
Minnesota got out of a jam in the bottom of the fourth as Northwestern loaded the bases with two outs as Ruchim was up to bat. Crawford, however, got him to fly out to right to end the inning.
Minnesota took a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth. After Abrahamson was hit by a pitch, Schaefbauer added a hit to put two runners on base. As Schlangen provided a sacrifice bunt, the Wildcats intentionally walked Halloran to load the bases. Larson hit one right back to starting pitcher Luke Farrell and got the force out at home. However, on an attempt to throw out Larson at first, a throwing error was committed by catcher Jake Straub, which led to the Schaefbauer run.
With a one-run leading heading into the final inning, Minnesota added to the lead when it scored two in the top of the ninth. With one out, Larson, Henkemeyer and Handel all walked to load the bases. As Mason Reed came into the game, he threw a wild pitch to score Larson from third. In the next pitch, another wild pitch was thrown to the backstop as Henkemeyer came in to score for the sixth and final run of the game.
The lead would be all that reliever Thonvold would need to complete the game and earn the save. After giving up a double to Dauch and a walk to Moses Walker in the sixth, Thonvold would send down the next 10-straight batters. In that span, he had one assist and four strikeouts to close the door on the Northwestern offense.
The win also marked John Anderson's 499 career conference win. He and the Golden Gophers will go for No. 500 Big Ten win tomorrow at 1:05 p.m.