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Saturday Regional Scores
Gophers fight off Jaguars
By Robert Stewart
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
BATON ROUGE, La. —
Minnesota got all it could handle from Southern in an 11-8
victory in the first elimination game of the Baton Rouge
Regional on Saturday at Alex Box Stadium.
The Golden Gophers put the Jaguars on the ropes
in the top of the seventh inning after loading the bases with
nobody out. Freshman first baseman Nick O’Shea struck out, but a
RBI groundout by center fielder Eric Decker and a two-run double
by freshman left fielder Justin Gominsky put the Gophers up,
But Southern flipped the script in the bottom of
The Jaguars responded with a two-run single by
right fielder Brad McDavid and a RBI double by designated hitter
Edmond Morton to make it an 8-6 game. McDavid then scored on a
wild pitch by reliever Scott Fern, and Michael Thomas tied it up
with a RBI single.
“That one at-bat pretty much sums up our whole
year,” Thomas said. “We had to fight the whole year.”
But Minnesota pulled back ahead in the top of the
eighth inning on a RBI single by junior Kyle Knudson, and the
Gophers put two more runs on the board in the ninth inning on
RBI singles by designated hitter Matt Nohelty and shortstop AJ
Pettersen to pull away with.
“Today it just seemed like every time we got a
good lead, they just were hitting the ball and they’d string a
bunch of hits together,” Knudson said. “When you walk guys and
give up free passes, it hurts.”
Minnesota’s offense quickly changed its tone
after its 5-0 loss to Baylor Friday. The Gophers pounded out 18
hits after managing only nine against the Bears.
Gominsky led the way with a
4-for-4 performance and two RBI.
“I said last night the first inning [today] was
going to be critical, and it was,” Anderson said. “In the first
inning we did score early, we got the momentum back on our side.
I thought that was huge.”
Fern picked up the victory for Minnesota,
pitching one inning and giving up five hits and two runs, both
earned. Sophomore starter Seth Rosin went 6.1 innings for the
Gophers, surrendering four runs on seven hits with seven
Freshman Daniel Garcia took the loss for Southern
after giving up four runs on four hits in two innings of relief.
Starter Jarrett Maloy went six innings and was tagged for five
runs on 11 hits.
Minnesota was in control early on. Pettersen put
Minnesota up 1-0 on a RBI single and advanced to second base on
an errant throw home by center fielder Toddrick Stevenson.
Second baseman Derek McCallum moved Pettersen to
second on a sacrifice fly, and right fielder Michael Kvasnicka
brought him home on a RBI single.
A hit-and-run by the Golden Gophers put Kvasnicka
at third, and junior Knudson at first – still with only one out.
O’Shea brought another run home on another
sacrifice fly for an early 3-0 Minnesota lead.
“If you eliminate two innings – first and seventh
I think – we really would be in good shape,” Southern coach
Roger Cador said. “We were in a position going into the eighth
inning to win this ball game.”
Southern responded in the bottom of the second
inning with a pair of RBI singles by third baseman Gregory
Whitfield and shortstop Jesse Olivar to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Minnesota stopped Southern from scoring anymore on an
inning-ending double play when Stevenson struck out swinging,
and Knudson threw Whitfield out at third on an attempted double
steal by the Jaguars.
But Southern picked up another RBI single by
junior left fielder James Armstrong in the bottom of the third
scoring second baseman Romey Bracey from third.
“I went out to the mound to try to settle down
Seth Rosin down a little bit,” Anderson said. “In his first NCAA
tournament game as a sophomore, he was a little bit out of sorts
early. I didn’t like his delivery, and I thought he wasn’t
finishing his pitches.”
Three straight singles by Gominsky, third baseman
Kyle Geason and designated hitter Nohelty gave the Gophers
another RBI for a 5-3 lead. Nohelty attempted to steal second,
but Bracey immediately took Thomas’ short pick-off throw and
drilled it home to tag Eason.
“We made some mistakes out there today that
haven’t been characteristic of our team,” Minnesota coach John
Anderson said. “But it’s always important that you have to
overcome yourself sometimes.”
Now Southern’s season is done after close calls
against two of the best teams in their respective conferences.
The Jaguars led regional host LSU 2-1 after six innings in their
first-round matchup Friday.
“Three innings out of 18 innings, if we could
take them away, we could walk away with two victories against
the best in those conferences,” Cador said.
Southern’s players were
left to wonder after their season was done.
“If we could delete two innings, we’d be dancing
in the streets,” Franklin said.
Paid attendance for the game was 9,264, actual
attendance was 2,057…Game time was 3 hours, 19 minutes…Minnesota
will start sophomore right-hander Chauncy Handran (7-3, 4.30
ERA) tomorrow against the loser of the LSU-Baylor game at 1 p.m.
in an elimination game.