Minnesota dropped a 7-4 decision to Nebraska in the Big Ten Baseball Tournament this afternoon at Target Field. The Gophers, who beat Illinois 3-1 earlier in the day, are eliminated from the tournament. Minnesota, who played in its third game within 24 hours, fell in the second game of the day after it won, 3-1 over Illinois.
Nebraska will face the loser of tonight's game between Indiana and Ohio State in an elimination game tomorrow. The winner of the Indiana and Ohio State game will advance to the championship game.
Gopher starter Dalton Sawyer (2-3) lasted 3.2 innings when he gave up six runs in the bottom of the fourth. Kevin Kray came in relief, while Billy Soule also pitched for the Golden Gophers as he went 2.0 innings and walked two in his final game as a Golden Gopher.
Minnesota was led in hitting by Matt Halloran when he hit a three-run home run. Nebraska's Pat Kelly also hit a three-run home run as well as a double to go 2-5 with three RBI and two runs scored.
Nebraska took a commanding 6-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Chad Christensen singled and on a pickoff attempt, advanced all the way to third on a throwing error by Sawyer. Kash Kalkowski singled in Christensen for the first run of the game, while Josh Scheffert also singled to put two on. As Tanner Lubach attempted a bunt which scored Kalkowski. The third Nebraska run came when Bryan Peters singled to left. Pat Kelly provided a three-run home run into the left field stands to push the game at 6-0.
Minnesota, however, used a big inning of its own when it got four runs back in the top of the fifth. Ryan Abrahamson started things off with a walk, while Larson doubled down to the left field corner to put two on in scoring position. Connor Schaefbauer went the opposite field and got one through the left side to score Abrahamson from third. Halloran hit his second home run of the season when he belted one over the right field limestone. His home plated three as the Gophers trailed 6-4.
Nebraska's Luke Bublitz (3-1) pitched 3.1 innings of relief to earn the win for the Huskers, who added an insurance run in the seventh inning.
The loss drops the Gophers to 32-22 overall and ends Minnesota's season. It also marks the final game for Gopher seniors Ryan Abrahamson, JT Canakes, Andy Henkemeyer, Drew Ghelfi, Troy Larson, Kyle O'Shea, Kurt Schlangen and Billy Soule.
Three Former Gophers Coach in State Tourney
Gopher Greats Bobby DeWitt, Terry Steinbach and Tim Loberg Coached in the 4A State Championship at Target Field.
Fiedler, Athmann on ABCA All-Mideast Roster
Both recent MLB draftees were named to the all-region second team on Wednesday.
Four Gophers from 2016 Selected in MLB Draft
Athmann, Fiedler, Jess, Sawyer all chosen in annual Major League Baseball Draft after outstanding 2016 campaigns