Gophers' Rally Falls Short at Iowa
April 20, 2014
For the second straight day, the University of Minnesota (19-16, 6-9 Big Ten) baseball team suffered a road loss to Iowa after having an early lead. The Hawkeyes (22-15, 7-8) scored six runs in the seventh inning, and Minnesota’s ninth-inning comeback fell short in a 7-6 loss as Iowa won the series.
Dan Molt hit 3-for-4 and Jake Bergren, Connor Schaefbauer, Dan Olinger, Mark Tatera and Austin Athmann each had two hits for Minnesota. Tatera’s home run was one of 15 hits for the Gophers. Four Hawkeyes notched two hits, including Dan Potempa, who hit a three-run home run. Iowa had 11 hits.
The Golden Gophers built a 3-0 lead over their first seven innings. Bergren scored on Schaefbauer’s single after leading off the first inning with a single.
Minnesota had a chance to add to the lead in the second, but left the bases loaded. Tatera’s second home run of the season made it 2-0 in the third.
Neal Kunik made his first start for the Gophers and pitched six scoreless innings, allowing three hits and hitting three batters. The fourth, fifth and sixth innings all ended with third baseman Tony Skjefte catching line drives to strand baserunners.
Motl led off the seventh with a triple to left-center. He scored on Skjefte’s single through the left side and Minnesota led 3-0.
In the bottom of the inning, the Hawkeyes exploded for six runs. Nick Day, Eric Toole and Jake Yacinich all hit singles off of reliever Kevin Kray, who retired one batter before being relieved by Dalton Sawyer with two runners on base.
Potempa cleared the bases with a three-run homer to left field. Taylor Zeutenhorst followed with a double and scored on a double by Kris Goodman. Another run scored on Nick Roscetti’s sacrifice bunt. He bunted down the first base line. The Gophers elected to go for the out at home, but Jimmy Frankos slid under the tag to make it 6-3.
Iowa added one more run in the eighth. Toole reached on a bunt single and scored on Potempa’s double to left-center.
The Gophers rallied in the ninth. Motl started things off with a one-out single, and Bergren followed with a bunt single down the third base line. With two outs, Schaefbauer, Olinger and Tatera hit consecutive run-scoring singles to cut the deficit to 7-6. Athmann came up to bat with runners on first and second, and hit a chopper to short. Iowa got the out at second to end the game.
Iowa starter Tyler Peyton pitched 6 1/3 innings and gave up the first three Minnesota runs on nine hits. Nick Hibbing (1-3) was responsible for the ninth-inning runs, but earned the win. Tyler Radtke faced the last three Gopher batters for his second save. Sawyer (3-3) was tagged with the loss.
The Gophers will host Hamline in a game on Wednesday, April 23 before their next Big Ten series against Penn State, also at Siebert Field (April 25-27).