Gophers Sweep Penn St
Minneapolis ( gophersports.com) - The Golden Gophers erased an early deficit to win 9-5 and completed a series sweep of Penn State. Minnesota (16-19, 6-9 Big Ten) had 11 hits to the Nittany Lions' (12-23, 2-9 Big Ten) seven on Sunday at Siebert Field.
Penn State plated three runs in the first inning after two hits and a handful of mistakes by the Gophers. James Coates notched a leadoff double that might have been caught with a different read on the ball. He scored when Greg Guers laid down a sacrifice bunt and ended up on second after a throwing error. There were four wild pitches in the half inning, including one that allowed Aaron Novak to reach first after a strikeout.
But Minnesota bounced back quickly with a six-run bottom of the first that included three straight doubles. Center fielder Dan Motl was hit by pitch and left the game with a facial injury. Alex Boxwell replaced him for the rest of the game and hit 2-for-3 with a triple. Boxwell scored the Gophers' first run on a double by second baseman Connor Schaefbauer. Then designated hitter Matt Fiedler hit a single.
First baseman Toby Hanson's sacrifice fly to score Schaefbauer was the second out of the first, but the Gophers put up four more runs after that. Third baseman Micah Coffey was hit by pitch, then he and Fiedler executed a double steal. Catcher Matt Halloran, right fielder Jake Bergren and left fielder Jordan Smith followed up with run-scoring doubles. Halloran's drove in a pair of runs. Smith's came off of Sal Biasi, who relieved starter Nick Distasio (1-5) after 2/3 of an inning.
After the first inning, Fred Manke (1-0) did not allow another run in his first collegiate start. He gave up five hits and three runs (two earned) and struck out four. Manke was credited with the win in 4 1/3 innings as it was predetermined to be a short start. Fiedler relieved him.
The Gophers expanded their lead to 9-3 before Penn State gained a few runs back in the sixth. Boxwell's RBI triple scored Smith in the third. Fiedler and Hanson both singled and scored, aided by an outfield error, in the fourth. Coffey hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Hanson.
Jordan Jess and Lance Thonvold finished the game without allowing a hit or a run. One of Jess' runners inherited from Fiedler scored on a sacrifice fly before he completed his 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Thonvold pitched two 1-2-3 innings with three strikeouts.
In addition to Boxwell, Fiedler and Halloran each recorded multiple hits.Fiedler was 2-for-4 with two runs and a walk. Halloran was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs.
*Motl's hitting streak remains at 17 games, as he was hit by pitch in his only plate appearance. His on-base streak reached 18 games.
*Shortstop Michael Handel singled today to extend his on-base streak to 12 games. He has the second-longest active streak by a Gopher after Motl, and the third-longest this season, as Fiedler had a 13-game streak earlier this year.
*Minnesota earned its first Big Ten series win and sweep of the season. The Gophers have swept Penn State two years in a row.
The Gophers are scheduled to host South Dakota State on April 22 at 6:05 p.m.