Midweek loss, but finally some rhythm

The Gophers lost to St. Thomas, 8-3, in their first game of 2011 at Siebert.

Midweek loss, but finally some rhythm

Simon Guerra

Nick Sudheimer

 

Winning is always important. After having five games canceled in the past month, though, the Gophers are just happy they could keep some rhythm with a midweek game against St. Thomas yesterday.

Minnesota (10-3, 12-4 Big Ten) was able to play just its third midweek game of the season yesterday, falling to St. Thomas, 8-3.

While head coach John Anderson would have liked to see his team win, he was happy to have the opportunity to give his pitching staff some much-needed repetitions on the mound, as the Gophers played seven pitchers by the end of the game.

âÄúItâÄôs been a crazy year and a lot of these guys havenâÄôt pitched for a long time,âÄù said Anderson, who is in his 30th year as head coach. âÄúSo, IâÄôm not going to focus so much on the scoreboard. WeâÄôll try and learn from what we saw here today, and try to make some adjustments and see if we canâÄôt help some kids get better.âÄù

The Gophers got off to a shaky start, as St. Thomas hitters took advantage of a slew of Minnesota pitchers. The Gophers pitching staff gave up seven runs over the first four innings before finally settling down and only allowing 1 run for the rest of the game.

Freshman DJ Snelten was given the loss for the Gophers in the first start of his career, allowing one earned run on two hits in two innings of work.

Although the Gophers gave up eight runs, Anderson was quick to defend his pitching staff.

âÄúYou have to be careful how you evaluate [the pitchersâÄô performance] today. In this game itâÄôs important to get into a consistent routine and they havenâÄôt been able to do that,âÄù said Anderson. âÄúThey havenâÄôt had fair circumstances to get a true indication of their ability level.âÄù

Anderson said the Minnesota offense was the real story of the game; the Gophers went scoreless in every inning except the fifth.

While they managed seven hits, they were unable to fully adjust to the slower speeds of the St. Thomas pitching staff.

âÄúWe need to be able to make the right adjustments at the plate,âÄù said Snelten, who struck out three of the eight batters he faced. âÄúI know some people think that slower pitchers might throw off hitters but as D[ivision]-I hitters we should be able to adjust to that and not have a whole game where we struggle.âÄù

Minnesota was led by junior AJ Pettersen who reached base all five times he came to the plate while going 2-for-2 with a run. Sophomore Sam Ryan went 1-for-2 and had two RBIs.

Heading into a weekend series with Northwestern at Target Field, the Gophers will have to figure out a way to be more productive on offense if they are to have a successful weekend.

While the outcome of yesterdayâÄôs game may not have been what the Gophers were hoping for, Pettersen knows that it was an important lesson for the Gophers.

âÄúItâÄôs tough, obviously we didnâÄôt play well but we can build off of it, and then hopefully we can get into a rhythm again.âÄù