Gophers Take Series Opener at Iowa, 4-3
April 18, 2014
Michael Handel hit a two-run home run and the University of Minnesota (18-14, 5-7 Big Ten) baseball won 4-3 at Iowa on Friday. The Hawkeyes (20-15, 5-8 Big Ten) tied the game 3-all in the seventh, but the Gophers got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and scored in the ninth to take the series opener and move ahead of Iowa in the conference standings.
Iowa scored first after Eric Toole hit a standup triple to right-center with one out in the third. He scored when Jake Mangler grounded out to second.
The Gophers’ first hit off of Calvin Mathews came in the fourth when Connor Schaefbauer led off with a single. Handel walked with two outs to Minnesota two baserunners, but a running catch in center ended the inning.
Minnesota broke through for three runs in the sixth inning. Dan Motl led off and was hit by pitch. Schaefbauer singled through the left side. Tony Skjefte laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners. Motl scored to tie the game on a sacrifice fly by Dan Olinger. Then Handel hit a two-run home run, his third of the season, for a 3-1 lead.
Gophers starter Alec Crawford faced the minimum number of batters in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings before Iowa scored again. Jake Yacinich hit a single, then Taylor Zeutenhorst hit a home run to left-center to tie the game in the seventh.
Crawford pitched 7 1/3 innings, tying his career-long start. He allowed seven hits and three runs, striking out three and walking two.
In the bottom of the eighth, Iowa loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks (one intentional). Dalton Sawyer came out of the bullpen and struck out two batters to end the inning.
In the ninth, Mark Tatera singled to right-center with no one out. Jordan Smith drew a walk, then reliever Nick Hibbing came out in favor of Tyler Radtke. With one out, Motl hit a ball to right that went off the right-fielder’s glove. Minnesota’s baserunners had held up expecting a catch, but Tatera came around to score after a collision with Iowa’s catcher.
The Hawkeyes intentionally walked Schaefbauer to load the bases, then Radtke struck out the next two batters. Schaefbauer finished the day 2-for-4, his 12th game of the year with multiple hits.
Sawyer finished the game to earn the win and improve to 3-2 on the season. Hibbing (0-3) took the loss for Iowa. Mathews pitched seven innings and gave up six hits and three runs.
The second game of the series is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Duane Banks Field.