Anderson ties wins record in baseball sweep

by Anthony Maggio

Minnesota baseball coach John Anderson once again etched his name in the University’s record books on Monday.

Thanks to his team’s 15-2 slaughtering of Purdue to sweep the four-game series, Anderson tied former coach Dick Siebert as the all-time winningest coach in Minnesota history.

Anderson’s career record sits at 754-467-3. After coaching at Minnesota for 21 years, Anderson is also the Big Ten’s all-time winningest coach in league play with a 326-171 record. Anderson is also the first coach in Big Ten history to win 300 conference games.

“I’m grateful to the University of Minnesota and Paul Giel, the athletic director at the time (I was hired), for giving me an opportunity,” Anderson said. “I’ve tried to take advantage of the opportunity the best I could.”

On Monday, Anderson’s team took advantage of the opportunity to sweep the Boilermakers, and extend its lead in the Big Ten standings.

The Gophers (26-20, 14-6 Big Ten) finished off Purdue (21-24, 11-13) thanks to solid play from Anderson’s seniors, and help from his younger players as well.

In the bottom of the first inning with a runner on second, senior Scott Howard ran a Nick McIntyre fly ball down the left field line and made a diving grab, stifling the Boilermakers’ momentum and preserving a scoreless inning.

“I ran over and got my glove underneath it and was lucky enough to catch it,” Howard said. “If I would’ve missed (the ball), it could’ve been a run. But we went back in the dugout and they got a zero that inning, so it was a big play.”

In the top of the third inning, another senior propelled the Gophers’ attack. This time it was catcher Jeremy Beaulieu, who led off the inning with a solo home run, his first of the season. Minnesota managed two more runs in the inning, and didn’t look back.

Up 6-2 in the eighth inning, the Gophers put up seven runs to put the game away. A three-run homer by senior Jason Kennedy capped the offensive outburst and all but sealed Anderson’s 754th career win.

“I’ve been through a lot of his victories, so it’s very special to me to be able to celebrate him tying Siebert and all it stands for,” Kennedy said.

But it wasn’t just the seniors who helped Anderson tie the record.

Six Gophers tallied at least two hits, and 10 reached first on a base hit at least once.

On the mound, freshman Matt Loberg pitched eight innings, allowing only two runs on six hits while striking out six.

After the game, the team presented Anderson with the game ball and gave him a round of applause.

“All the success he’s had here makes me proud for him,” Kennedy said. “I’ll be very excited on Wednesday when we hopefully set the record.”

But as is his way, Anderson humbly diverted the credit for his accomplishments to those around him.

“It’s all about the great assistant coaches and players I’ve had over the years,” Anderson said. “You can’t accomplish things without lots of different people being a part of it.

“Sometimes maybe we get too much credit as individuals for (team success). But I guess if you’ve got to take criticism when you don’t do well, I guess you take some credit when you do.”

The Gophers will try to earn their coach his 755th win on Wednesday against St. Thomas at Siebert Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Anthony Maggio covers baseball and welcomes comments at [email protected]