May 6, 2012
The University of Minnesota baseball team broke open the game with back-to-back seventh inning home runs by Bobby Juan and Michael Handel en route to a convincing 8-2 win over Penn State, today, at H.H.H. Metrodome. With the win, the Golden Gophers improve to 28-22 on the season and 10-8 in Big Ten play.
The game also marked senior day, in which the Gophers honored Kyle Geason, Dustin Klabunde, Ethan Liederman, Austin Lubinsky and Trip Schultz. All saw action within the game, including starting pitcher Lubinsky and third baseman Geason, while Liederman and Schultz came in the later innings. Klabunde recorded the final out of the 2012 home season on a foul fly out in which Liederman caught.
Lubinsky would get the win when he pitched seven strong innings, allowed two runs, scattered nine hits and had five strikeouts. Prior to Klabunde's last out, Tom Windle would get two outs in the eighth, while Kevin Kray would get the third out of the eighth and the first two in the ninth.
Minnesota got the bats going today when five players had multiple-hit games. Andy Henkemeyer, Geason and Matt Puhl all had three hits, while Juan and Handel each had two. In all, Minnesota had seven individuals collect 15 Minnesota hits.
Both teams had their chances early, but some key defensive plays kept the two teams scoreless through fourth and a half. Penn State would turn its first double play in the third inning after a leadoff hit by Handel. In the top of the fourth, it was Minnesota who got out of an early jam. After Luis Montesinos singled, JJ White would follow with a hit. As Montesinos tried to advance to third, Juan would gun him out at third on a 9-5 throw.
Minnesota would strand two on the base paths in the fourth inning when Montesinos would leap up to grab a liner from Handel and get Juan at first to end the threat. Penn State would do the same in the top of the fifth when it loaded the bases with a single, walk and another single. However, PSU's Joey DeBernardis would hit a grounder to third as the Gophers turned a 5-4-3 double play.
Minnesota would push the first run across in the bottom of the fifth. JT Canakes would walk to lead off the inning, while Puhl singled to push him to third. Henkemeyer added a hit close to the right field line and towards the bullpen to score Canakes from third.
Penn State came right back in the sixth and put up two in the sixth. Aaron Novak would hit a double to left center and would later score on a hit from Montesinos to tie the game. Alex Farkes would plate Montesinos to go up, 2-1.
Minnesota responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame to take back the lead. Dan Olinger led off the inning with a walk, while Juan followed up with a single. After a pitching change, Kurt Schlangen would come into the game and on the first pitch, hit it up the middle to score plate both runs.
The Gophers would open the game in the seventh with the back-to-back home runs. Juan would turn on a pitch and send it deep out of right field for his second home run of the season and first out of the park. He hit an inside the park home run against Michigan earlier this year. After Geason doubled and Ryan Abrahamson reached base on an error, it set up the three-run jack by Juan. Michael Handel would also get a hold of one in the very next at bat when he just cleared the left field wall near the 343-foot sign. The long ball would be Handel's second this season and first since the Nebraska game (3/4).
Prior to today's game, the last time Minnesota had back-to-back home runs was Nick O'Shea and Puhl at Ohio State on May 20, 2010.
Minnesota would tack on one additional run to close out the home season, with the RBI coming off of none other than a senior on senior day. Henkemeyer would score on a Geason single to left for the last run of the home season.
Minnesota will travel the next two weekends to close out the Big Ten regular season. Minnesota plays at Nebraska next weekend, May 11-13, while heading to Illinois, May 17-19.
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