Abrahamson helps Gophers win again

Minnesota stole four bases and improved to 9-2 in its last 11 games.

Minnesota in-fielder Ryan Abrahamson lets a pitch pass Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at the Metrodome.

Image by Emily Dunker

Minnesota in-fielder Ryan Abrahamson lets a pitch pass Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at the Metrodome.

by Samuel Gordon

The Gophers baseball team cruised past Nebraska-Omaha 6-1 on Tuesday at the Metrodome for its ninth victory in its past 11 games.

Minnesota hitters combined for 12 hits and four stolen bases. The Gophers’ balanced, aggressive offense seemed to impress head coach John Anderson.

“We advanced on some balls in the dirt, took some aggressive breaks,” Anderson said. “We had some offense up and down the lineup. Different guys contributed.”

Minnesota third baseman Ryan Abrahamson was a key contributor and had one of his best games with the Gophers.

The senior went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. His three hits are a career best.

“I’ve been hitting a lot of balls hard. They haven’t been falling for me,” Abrahamson said. “It all evens out with the hard outs I’ve made and things falling in for me now.”

Abrahamson’s batting average is up to .286 now, and Anderson said he thinks the senior is getting more comfortable in the lineup.

The Gophers’ top of the order as a whole looked comfortable Tuesday. Senior leadoff man Andy Henkemeyer went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs. Senior catcher Kurt Schlangen was 2-for-5 with an RBI, and junior first baseman Dan Olinger had a two-run double.

The Gophers scored two runs in both the first and second inning, and the run support helped ease sophomore Ty McDevitt into his first start of the season.

McDevitt threw four shutout innings en route to his first victory of the year. He showed poise in the second inning by inducing an inning-ending flyout after walking the bases loaded.

“I knew I had good stuff — I was throwing well,” McDevitt said. “I got away from my mechanics … but I got refocused and started pounding the [strike] zone.”

Freshman Dalton Sawyer took over for McDevitt in the fifth inning and ran into a little trouble of his own.

With two on and two out, Mavericks catcher Alex Mortenson laced a single to right field. But Gophers junior right fielder Bobby Juan fielded the ball cleanly and threw out Nebraska-Omaha’s Connor McCrite at the plate to keep the shutout intact.

Gophers junior reliever Kevin Kray, the set-up man who closes occasionally, allowed the only Mavericks run.

Anderson said he’d like to pitch Kray more often to keep him in a rhythm.

The Gophers and Mavericks will conclude the two-game series Wednesday afternoon at the Metrodome.