April 14, 2012
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Minnesota rallied to earn a 2-1 walk-off win to defeat the Northwestern Wildcats, today at the H.H.H. Metrodome. Kurt Schlangen delivered a RBI single to knock in Dan Olinger from third to score the winning run.With the win, Minnesota improves to 19-17 on the season and 5-3 in Big Ten play.
Minnesota has had four walk-off wins this season. The Gophers earned a 3-2 win over Hamline (3/7) in the 16 innings, defeated Cal Poly with a walk-off hit (3/19), a walk-off home run against Michigan (4/3) and today's walk-off hit win against the Wildcats.
The win also solidifies the Gopher series win as Minnesota also won yesterday by a score of 2-1. The last time the Gophers won a series against the Wildcats dates back to 2009 after dropping 2-to-3 in back-to-back years in 2010 and 2011.
Catcher Matt Halloran led the Gopher hitters when he went 2-4 and threw out two Northwestern runners on the basepaths. Olinger and Schlangen each went 1-4 with an RBI, while Jake Bergren was 1-3 with a walk and a run scored. DJ Snelten and Billy Soule both pitched for the Gophers. Snelten held the Wildcats to just one run, allowed five hits, three walks and five strikeouts. Soule made his 14th appearance of the year and earned the win. He got the Gophers out of a jam in the eighth and pitched 1.1 innings, allowed one hit and struck out win. He was the winning pitcher and stands at 2-2 this season.
A pitching dual existed for a majority of the game between the Gophers' Snelten and Northwestern's Brandon Magallones. Northwestern got on the board in the top of the eighth inning to take the 1-0 lead. Prior to the eighth, Snelten held NU scoreless and scattered just four hits. In the eighth inning, Walker Moses had a one-out single, which was followed by back-to-back walks to load the bases as Soule came into the game. Paul Snieder would lift a sacrifice RBI deep enough for Moses to score from third for the second out. Matt Puhl saved the inning when he sprawled to his left at short and backhanded the ball to Tony Skjefte for the third out and kept the damage to one run.
After Minnesota went down in the bottom of the eighth the Gophers had one final attempt to win the game with the top of the order up.
Bergren placed a perfect bunt down to get the lead runner on base and was later moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andy Henkemeyer
. Olinger stepped up and drove home Bergren from second with a RBI single to right field. Halloran held an 11-pitch at bat and lined one to left center to place runners on the corners with one out. Schlangen then stepped up to win the game and he went the opposite field with a walk-off single to right and the win.
Prior to the ninth, Magallones held the Gophers to just three hits. He entered the game with five of the Wildcats' 10 wins on the season. He was replaced by starting shortstop Kyle Ruchim, who allowed the game-winning hit to Schlangen.
Minnesota and Northwestern plays again tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. at the Dome.