Gophers crush Oles 15-4 in the rain; five players homer

Matthew Cross

The Gophers baseball team wrapped up the 1996 nonconference season Thursday night at Siebert Field with a 15-4 win against St. Olaf.
Both teams were held scoreless until the second inning when right fielder Craig Selander came up with one out. One fan yelled, “Come on Craig. If you lose the ball, I’ll pay for it.”
After an attempted bunt and a couple more pitches, Selander hit his first collegiate homer — a solo shot — over the right field fence. Shortstop Steve Huls followed in the third inning with his own solo home run, and Minnesota was up 2-0 with only two hits.
The Oles battled back in the top of the fourth and fifth innings. They took advantage of a walk and two hits in each inning and tied the score, 2-2.
Then in the bottom of the fifth, Minnesota loaded the bases on two walks and a St. Olaf error. Senior third baseman Rob Smith walked and scored Ben Griffin to put the Gophers up 3-2. Minnesota never lost the lead.
Phil McDermott came up after Smith and ripped a single up the middle, scoring Bob Keeney and Bryan Guse. Pinch hitter Mark Groebner was up next and hit a three-run blast to left field, which was his first career homer as well.
A total of five Gophers batters hit home runs, and eight runners crossed the plate during the game.
Senior pitcher Brad Kearin got his first collegiate at-bat in the eighth inning and grounded out to third.
Minnesota (12-11 in the Big Ten, 27-25 overall) will face Iowa this weekend for its last Big Ten series. Since the last game is Monday night, the Gophers will know whether they have a chance at making the four-team conference tournament before their regular-season finale.

GAME SUMMARY
St. Olaf 000 111 100 — 4 11 4
Minnesota 011 060 52X — 15 10 1
Werner, Felling (5), DeWitt (6), Westfall (7), Dobis (8), Diebolt (9) and Guse; Ohm, Herman (5), Schlottman (7) and Manary. W – Westfall (2-4). L – Herman (0-1). HR – Min, Selander, Huls, Groebner, Guse, Smith. 2B – St.O, McClellan, Crosby; Min, McDermott. T-2:36. A-201.

Gophers batting statistics
AB R H RBI
Keeney 4 1 0 0
Mahady 1 0 0 0
Huls 4 2 1 1
Guse 2 2 1 2
Beers 1 1 0 0
Smith 4 3 2 3
McDermott 4 2 2 2
Kearin 1 0 0 0
Selander 2 1 1 1
Groebner 2 1 2 3
Quinlan 3 0 0 0
Stein 2 1 0 1
Griffin 3 1 1 1
Welter 4 0 0 0