In an elimination game in the College Station Regional, Minnesota produced when it mattered most at the plate in an 8-5 win against Binghamton on Saturday. The Gophers (35-21) move on and will face either Texas A&M or Wake Forest tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. in another win-or-go-home contest.
The Maroon and Gold were paced at the dish by Jordan Smith, who tied career-high totals with three hits, three runs and one home run. Micah Coffey, Toby Hanson and Dan Motl each chimed in with a pair of base knocks, including a double by Coffey and a triple by Hanson.
In total, Minnesota went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position and successfully advanced runners at a .600 clip in 15 tries. Seven different players recorded at least one RBI in the nine-inning affair.
Toby Anderson got the start on the mound and went 4.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits. Anderson worked the first three frames without allowing a single baserunner. Ty McDevitt earned the win after coming in for relief following a 58-minute weather delay. The senior hurler tossed 3.1 scoreless stanzas and surrendered just one hit en route to his fourth win of the season.
Jordan Jess locked things up in the ninth and converted his 13th career save, tying the second-highest mark in program history.
The Gophers put runners on in three of the first four innings, but were unable to scratch across a run. Meanwhile, Anderson did his part by sending down 13 of the opening 15 batters he faced to keep Binghamton (30-25) off the scoresheet.
Minnesota then exploded for five runs in the top of the fifth, its most in an inning since May 14 at Purdue, to take a 5-0 lead.
Smith opened with a four-pitch walk and was advanced to second on a hard-hit single to left by Hanson. After a sacrifice bunt by Alex Boxwell, Motl legged out a run-scoring infield single to put the Gophers on the board. Terrin Vavra then followed with a double into the right-center gap that cleared the bases and made it 3-0.
Following a pitching change, Fiedler flashed a double down the line in left to score Vavra. Coffey then smacked a single back up the middle that scored Fiedler and capped the inning at 5-0.
The Bearcats responded by matching the same run-output in the home half to knot things back up at 5-5. Binghamton was aided by three hits, two walks and an error in the inning.
Once the rain subsided after a near hour delay, Minnesota picked up right where it left off in the top of the sixth. Smith laced a single to left field and scored two pitches later once Hanson secured his first career triple that gave the Gophers the lead back at 6-5. Boxwell then got the job done with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5 with six complete.
Minnesota, the designated road team, extended its lead to three in the top of the eighth after Smith tattooed his second solo home run of the weekend and third of his career.
McDevitt and Jess combined to allow just two baserunners in the final three frames of play en route to Minnesota’s 32nd win of 2016.
With the victory, the Gophers earned the right to play either Texas A&M or Wake Forest in another elimination game tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. with a chance to play again at 8 p.m. in College Station, Texas should they prevail.
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