Gophers Split Doubleheader With Michigan State
Minneapolis, MN (Gophersports.com) - The Golden Gophers (20-30, 8-15 Big Ten) split a doubleheader against Michigan State (33-20, 14-9 Big Ten) at Siebert Field. The Spartans came back to the win the first game, and the Gophers used a six-run inning to win the nightcap. The afternoon loss eliminated Minnesota from Big Ten Tournament contention.
Game 1: Michigan State 5, Minnesota 4
Michigan State hit three home runs, including one in the ninth inning, to come back and defeat the Gophers 5-4. Ryan Krill hit the first two homers, and Brandon Hughes' two-run blast in the ninth gave the Spartans the lead.
For Minnesota, designated hitter Matt Fiedler and shortstop Michael Handel hit back-to-back home runs in the third, and Fiedler added two doubles in a 3-for-5 game. Handel also hit 3-for-5, and left fielder Matt Stemper 2-for-5. The Gophers had 11 hits to the Spartan's seven, but left 10 men on base.
The consecutive home runs put the Gophers ahead 2-0. They added two more runs in the fifth. Fiedler led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a wild throw after a lineout and scored on Stemper's single. After second baseman Connor Schaefbauer and third left fielder Tony Skjefte walked, catcher Matt Halloran was hit by pitch with the bases loaded.
Starter Ben Meyer (4-6) pitched 8 2/3 innings for Minnesota. He struck out five and kept the Spartans off the scoreboard until Krill's solo homer in the sixth. Krill's second homer, in the eight, came after Kory Young walked and cut the lead to 4-3.
Blaise Salter led off the ninth with a single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. Then Hughes hit a home run to give Michigan State its first lead. Meyer retired one more batter before Jordan Jess came in for the third out. Handel started Minnesota's half of the ninth with a single to short, but was later forced out in a game-ending double play.
Michigan State starter Cam Vieaux allowed all four of Minnesota's runs. He pitched 4 2/3 innings. Walter Borkovich (3-0) was the Spartans' pitcher of record, tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings to finish the game.
Game 2: Minnesota 7, Michigan State 5
A six-run second inning boosted the Gophers to a 7-5 evening victory. Their seven hits in the inning included home runs from Skejfte and center fielder Dan Motl. Minnesota and Michigan State each had 12 hits in the game. Schaefbauer went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI.
The Spartans grabbed an early lead off Matt Fiedler (2-0) when Mark Weist walk, stole second and scored on Salter's single in the first. But the Gophers tied it their first time up. Motl led off with a double and scored on a hit by Schaefbauer.
The Gophers broke the game open the next inning. In addition to the two home runs, Schaefbauer, Fiedler and Handel all singled and scored, with Handel's single driving in a run. Halloran's single knocked in two.
Spartans starter Mick VanVossen (4-5) was responsible for all seven Minnesota runs, six of them earned. Anthony Misiewicz pitched the last 6 1/3 innings for Michigan State, striking out nine, giving up four hits and not allowing any of his own base runners to score.
But the early run spurt was enough for the Gophers. Fiedler pitched 3 2/3 innings in his first career start. He gave up three runs on seven hits, including a two-run homer by Krill, walked one and struck out two.
Lucas Gilbreath fanned four batters in 2 1/3 innings of relief. Tyler Hanson relieved him with two on and no one out in the seventh. Salter drove in a run with a single, and another scored on a double play to make it 7-5. But Hanson and Jess, who struck out the side in the ninth to earn his third save, combined to hold onto the lead.
Third baseman Micah Coffey (2-for-4) and Motl (2-for-5) joined Schaefbauer in collecting multiple hits in the second game. Weist led Michigan State with a 3-for-3 game at the plate.