March 6, 2012
HU: Matt Mullendore (Sr., RHP) vs JMN: Jordan Jess (Fr., LHP)
• The University of Minnesota and Hamline have had a long-standing tradition competing against each other, dating all the way back to 1883. However, the Gophers and the Pipers will have just their 21st meeting in school history. Minnesota leads the all-time series, 17-3.
• Minnesota holds a 248-28-4 record all time against Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams. Minnesota has had a long-standing tradition of playing a MIAC team at least once a season, including last year when the Gophers faced St. Thomas in an 8-3 loss on April 13 at Siebert Field. The MIAC was founded in 1920, which Hamline was a charter member.
• The last time the Gophers faced Hamline dates back to April 6, 2010 when Minnesota earned a 10-3 win over the Pipers.
Making his first collegiate start Wednesday is true freshman Jordan Jess. In his three relief appearances for the Golden Gophers, Jess has pitched 2.0 innings and has allowed three runs, one of which was earned. A graduate from Ripon High School in Ripon, Wis., he was named the 2011 Fox 11 Large School Player of the Year and the 2011 Class A State Legion Most Valuable Player. Selected as the Oshkosh Northwestern All-Area Player of the Year, Jess was selected to participate in the Wisconsin American Legion All-Star game at Miller Park.
The Gopher bats can alive last weekend as Minnesota outscored its opponents 22-14. In the three games, the Gophers built up an 8-1 win over New Mexico State and an 11-3 defeat over West Virginia. Despite the 10-3 loss to Nebraska, the Gophers had built up a large enough run lead to win the DQ Classic. Prior to the 22 runs last weekend, Minnesota combined for 20 runs in eight games, including three one-run games in its last three games.
Last weekend at the Dairy Queen Classic, the Gophers established some career marks. TJ Oakes tied a career-high seven strikeouts when he fanned seven New Mexico State batters on March 2. His previous seven strikeout performance occurred against Iowa on April 29, 2011. Andy Henkemeyer walked four times in the win against West Virginia. His previous game best was May 17, 2011 against North Dakota State, which was two. Michael Handel added his first career home run when he hit one out in left field against Nebraska (3/4). Jake Bergren also recorded his first RBI of his career when he pinch hit and drove in a run against West Virginia (3/3).
The Gopher pitchers hold one of the best earned run averages in the Big Ten, ranking second at 3.54. Only Michigan State tops the Gophers at 3.50. The Spartans and Gophers are tied for the top spot of opposing batting average, sitting at .245. Minnesota has two pitchers that have yet to allow an earned run in Kevin Kray and Lance Thonvold. Kray has appeared in three games and pitched 6.2 innings. Holding his opponents to a .091 BA, he has struck out three and has not allowed a walk. TJ Oakes holds a 0.49 ERA in 18.1 innings of work, while DJ Snelten has a 1.23 ERA and has started in two games. Both Oakes and Snelten have 12 strikeouts. Dustin Klabunde has seen action in three games with a 2.16 ERA, while Tom Windle is at 3.31 in three starts.
Hamline enters the Minnesota contest with a 4-4 record and a two-game win streak as it defeated Edgewood last Friday and Saturday night at the Metrodome. In the Saturday contest, the Pipers pushed across 12 runs to Edgewood’s 6 for their fourth win of the season. Hamline had four pitchers make appearances in the game in Matt Eickman, Brett Bugielski, Casey Benford and Dan Ellefson. Benford picked up the win when he pitched 2.0 scoreless innings. Projected starter for Wednesday’s game is Matt Mullendore, a senior right-handed pitcher. In two starts, Mullendore holds a 1-0 record with a 3.48 ERA and a team-high 10.1 innings pitched. Andy King leads the Pipers’ offense with a .520 batting average, 13 RBI and three home runs. Holding an on-base percentage of .519, King also has a 1.120 slugging percentage. His RBI count is eight ahead of the team’s second-place leaders Ben Richardson and Mark Radmacher. Richardson is batting .364, while Radmacher is at .296.
Minnesota will host the Metrodome Tournament, March 9-11. Kansas and Stony Brook will come to town and face each others in a doubleheader Friday afternoon and night at 12:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Minnesota will then face Stony Brook at noon Saturday. The Gophers will follow with a 6:35 p.m. game against the Jayhawks Saturday night. The tournament will conclude with a Sunday 12:05 p.m. matinee against Stony Brook.