Minn. bats hushed in 3-2 loss to Ohio State

After Friday nightâÄôs 7-5 win over Ohio State, Minnesota head coach John Anderson talked about how hard it is to win two straight against a team like the Buckeyes. HeâÄôs been around long enough to know just how competitive the matchup is, so perhaps it was a matter of managing expectations. Maybe he was simply trying to be realistic. Whatever it was, he was on to something. Minnesota played flawless defense and got a pair of solid pitching performances from senior Tom Buske and freshman Austin Lubinsky, but the 25th-ranked Gophers (15-9 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) couldnâÄôt find that clutch hit and fell to No. 18 Ohio State 3-2 Saturday at the Metrodome. âÄúItâÄôs becoming obvious that we have a young team offensively,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúIt takes time to learn how to be a complete hitter and obviously, thatâÄôs the book on us.âÄù Neither team had an impressive day at the plate, especially with runners on base. Minnesota was 3-for-20 with runners on the basepaths; the Buckeyes (22-6, 3-2) were hardly better, going 3-for-16. Combined, the teams stranded 21. But two swings were all Ohio State needed. Justin Miller belted a two-run homerun off Buske in the top of the first inning to stake the Buckeyes an early lead. Then, a solo shot in the seventh by Michael Stephens off of Lubinsky proved to be the winning run. The GophersâÄô inability to respond to Ohio StateâÄôs homeruns squandered otherwise outstanding performances by Lubinsky and Buske. After their early hiccups, neither man could be touched. âÄúWhen we canâÄôt put up more than three runs, itâÄôs not going to win the game,âÄù redshirt freshman first baseman Nick OâÄôShea, who went 3-for-4, said. âÄúWe had our chances today and didnâÄôt make some adjustments at the plate. We were swinging at a lot of balls, too.âÄù Of course, the Buckeyes deserve plenty of credit. Dean Wolosiansky, Drew Rucinski and Jake Hale combined to allow a mere six hits. Minnesota threatened on multiple occasions and had baserunners in eight of nine innings, but stranded seven in scoring position and was 0-for-15 in RBI opportunities. In the bottom of the ninth and trailing by one, the Gophers were coming to the top of the lineup. Senior Matt Nohelty led off with a walk and moved over on a sacrifice bunt by redshirt freshman AJ Pettersen. Junior second baseman Derek McCallum stepped to the plate to try and knock in his second run of the game. Hale forced him to fly out to right field. Then Michael Kvasnicka, MinnesotaâÄôs cleanup man whoâÄôs batting .404 on the season. He went down on strikes to end the game. The opportunity was there, just like it was there for Ohio State on Friday night. But also like Friday night, defense and pitching clamped down when it needed to. âÄúWe had the right guys up there a few times today and we had the right guys up there in the last inning,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúGive [the Buckeyes] credit. Hale did a good job of executing his pitches and we got a little anxious up there. We took a run at them the last three innings and couldnâÄôt get that last hit. Give them credit.âÄù