Gophers Fall 8-7 to Cornhuskers
May 12, 2012
The University of Minnesota baseball team erased a 7-1 deficit only to fall, 8-7, against Nebraska, today in Lincoln, Neb. With the loss, the Gophers fall to 28-24 on the season and 10-10 in Big Ten play. A solo home run by Nebraska's Pat Kelly was the deciding run of the game. Nebraska improved to 31-19 this year and 11-9 in the Big Ten.
Minnesota had four players with a multiple-hit game. Matt Puhl went 2-4 with two RBI, while Kyle Geason was 2-4 with a RBI. Andy Henkemeyer and Troy Larson each went 2-5 today. In all, six Gophers collected a hit.
DJ Snelten started the game and held the no decision. He went 3.2 innings and allowed seven of the eight runs. Dustin Klabunde had his first loss of the season as he came in relief for Snelten. Tom Windle also saw action and pitched 2.1 innings. He allowed just one hit and struck out three in the eight batters he faced.
Purdue (16-4) clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title, while Indiana and Penn State (12-8) are tied for second. Michigan State and Nebraska (11-9) are tied for fourth. Minnesota and Ohio State both have 10 losses as Ohio State is 11-10 in conference action and Minnesota is at .500. Only three games separate the second through eighth spot in the conference standings as Illinois is 9-11.
Minnesota went up 1-0 in the first inning when Henkemeyer scored on a RBI grounder from Halloran. Henkemeyer led off the game with a single, and advanced to third on a hit-and-run single from Geason. Matt Halloran would score Henkemeyer from third on a grounder to short for the early 1-0 lead.
Minnesota held onto the lead until the bottom of the fourth inning until Nebraska stormed back with a seven-hit, seven-run inning to take a commanding 7-1 lead. With the bases loaded, Kale Kiser walked to bring in Nebraska's first run of the game with one out. Cory Burleson would deliver a two-run RBI, while Kelly singled to right and drove in another run. Burleson would score on a bunt RBI by Michael Pritchard has he reached base on fielder's choice. After a Chad Christensen sacrifice fly for the second out, Kash Kalkowski plated another run off a double to center.
Minnesota, however, would have a big inning themselves as the Gophers plated six in the top of the sixth to tie the game. Minnesota started the rally when Larson singled and stole second. Geason stepped up and scored Larson when he delivered a double down the left line to make it 7-2. Michael Handel singled and would score Kurt Schlangen, who reached base earlier on a fielder's choice. David Bettenburg pushed another run across when he doubled down the left field line. Puhl cut the Husker lead to one when he hit a gapper to right center, scoring both Handel and Bettenburg. Henkemeyer tied the game when he hit a single to right, scoring Puhl.
However, the Gopher momentum ended in the bottom of the frame when Kelly lifted one deep to right field and into the Minnesota bullpen for the deciding run. It was Kelly's second home run of the series, as he hit a deciding two-run home run in last night's 4-3 game.
The solo shot would be all that Nebraska would need to close out the game. Tyler King would collect the win on just 0.1 pitched, while Brandon Pierce would come in and close the game. He held the Gophers hitless in the 3.0 innings he pitched as he picked up his second save this year.
Minnesota and Nebraska will play again tomorrow at 1:05 p.m.