April 24, 2014
• The Gophers won their series opener at Iowa, but the Hawkeyes came from behind in each of the next two to win.
• Michael Handel earned Big Ten Player of the Week Honors after hitting 6-for-13 against North Dakota State and Iowa. He drove in six runs, scored two and hit a home run and four doubles, including three on Saturday.
• Handel’s two-run homer was part of a three-run sixth that gave Minnesota a 3-1 lead on Friday. The Hawkeyes tied it in the seventh, but Minnesota scored on an outfield error in the ninth to win 4-3.
• On Saturday, the Gophers went up 5-0 in 1 1/2 innings, with Handel driving in three runs, but Iowa scored 11 unanswered runs to win.
• The Gophers had a 3-0 lead Sunday, but Iowa scored six runs in the seventh. Minnesota rallied in the ninth but lost 7-6. Dan Motl hit 3-for-4 and Mark Tatera hit a home run.
• This Friday’s game will be the first night game at new Siebert Field. The Foundation for Minnesota Baseball donated the funding for a Musco Lighting system that will provide more opportunities for amateur baseball in the state. Read more about Friday's lighting ceremony here.
• Within conference play, the Gophers’ pitching staff ranks third in strikeouts (82) and second in strikeouts looking (33).
• Minnesota leads the all-time series with Penn State 40-26. The Gophers won two of three games last year in University Park, with the loss coming in extra innings.
ABOUT THE NITTANY LIONS
• Penn State was swept by Illinois at home last weekend before dropping a midweek game to Kent State.
• Outfielder Steve Snyder leads the Nittany Lions with a .350 batting average, tied for fifth in the Big Ten.
• Projected Friday starter Tim Dunn has a 1.17 ERA in 30 2/3 innings. His fourth start of the season, 6 2/3 innings against Illinois, was the longest of his career.
• Rob Cooper became the Nittany Lions’ head coach in August 2013 after nine seasons at Wright State.
With 23 doubles within Big Ten play, Minnesota ranks second. Michael Handel is slugging .582 in conference games, and has contributed six of those doubles. Tony Skjefte leads the team with 11 doubles overall. On the season, Minnesota has 74 extra-base hits: 60 doubles, six triples (three by Connor Schaefbauer) and eight home runs (three by Handel). The Gophers’ seven doubles at St. Mary’s are tied for the most by a Big Ten team in a game this year. Two Gophers (Handel and Mark Tatera) have hit three triples in a game.
TRAXLER ON BASE
Troy Traxler has the Gophers’ longest current on base streak. He has reached safely in his last 10 games, including base hits in the last six. Jordan Smith’s 18-game on base streak that ended against Nebraska was the longest on the team this year. The Gophers’ longest hitting streak of the year was Dan Olinger’s in the first 12 games of the season. Aside from Smith, Olinger and Traxler, three other Gophers have had double-digit on base streaks: Mark Tatera (14), Tony Skjefte (11) and Connor Schaefbauer.