May 4, 2012
Playing in yet another extra-inning game, the Golden Gopher baseball team fell in its series opener against Penn State. Minnesota (27-21, 9-7 Big Ten) recovered from an early 1-0 deficit, but lost its lead during a late rally by the Nittany Lions (23-22, 9-7 Big Ten).
Joey DeBernardis knocked in the winning run with a one-out double off of Tom Windle in the 10th. The previous batter, Steve Snyder, reached on a walk and scored on the double.
Windle (3-4) took the loss, while Greg Welsh (3-1) picked up the win for Penn State. Dave Walking earned his second save. Andy Henkemeyer batted 2-4 for Minnesota, and Matt Halloran went 2-5 with an RBI triple. Sean Deegan and Snyder each went 1-4 with two runs for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State took the lead right away when left fielder Sean Deegan sent the second pitch of the game into the right field seats for a homerun.
Penn State pitcher Joe Kurrasch held the Gophers hitless until the bottom of the fourth, when Kyle Geason reached first on an infield single. Halloran followed with a triple to score Geason and tie the game. Then Penn State threw home on a Troy Larson grounder, but Halloran beat the throw to put the Gophers ahead, 2-1.
The Gophers added a run to their lead in the seventh. Matt Puhl led off with a bunt single, and Tony Skjefte laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. Puhl advanced to third on a Henkemeyer single and scored on Kurt Schlangen's sacrifice fly.
After the initial homerun, Gopher starter TJ Oakes settled in for the next several innings. He retired the next three batters in the first, stranded two runners in the second, then had a 1-2-3 third. Oakes set a new career high with 10 strikeouts. He is the first Gopher pitcher to strike out 10 batters in a game since Seth Rosin struck out 12 against Harvard in 2010.
Oakes started the eighth inning, but came out after Penn State loaded the bases with no outs on a double, a walk, and an infield single. Tom Windle entered in relief. He retired his first two batters with a pop-up and a groundout before walking Aaron Novak to score Deegan. Luis Montesinos then hit a single through the left side of the infield to score Steve Snyder and tie the game, 3-3. The inning ended when Henkemeyer threw out Jordan Steranka at home on the play.
The Gophers had a chance to score in the bottom of the ninth when Henkemeyer singled and advanced to second on a balk. Schlangen walked to give Minnesota two baserunners with no outs. But Welsh retired the next three Gophers to end the threat.
DeBernardis's RBI double in the 10th dropped the Gophers' record in extra-inning games to 2-5 this season. They suffered back-to-back conference losses in extra innings, as Iowa defeated them in 12 on Sunday.
Minnesota and Penn State will square off again at 2:05 p.m. Saturday at Target Field. For more information click here.
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