Streaking Bison dispatch Gophers

Bison pitcher John Straka threw a complete game shutout, and NDSU won 7-0.

Gophers shortstop Michael Handel bats during a game on Tuesday at the Metrodome.  The game resulted in a Gopher loss of 7-0 against North Dakota State University.

Gophers shortstop Michael Handel bats during a game on Tuesday at the Metrodome. The game resulted in a Gopher loss of 7-0 against North Dakota State University.

Samuel Gordon

 

North Dakota State had won six consecutive games before Tuesday’s game against Minnesota. The Bison are on fire and they brought the heat to the Metrodome, too.

NDSU (13-5) extended its winning streak to seven games with a 7-0 drubbing of the Gophers (9-12).

The Bison’s ace, John Straka, was phenomenal. He struck out eight in a complete-game shutout. He ran into a couple mini-jams in the game’s middle innings but escaped unharmed both times.

“[Straka] definitely came out to pitch tonight,” Minnesota third-baseman Dan Olinger said. “He’s a really good pitcher, their best guy. He proved it tonight.”

NDSU center fielder Nick Colwell was 3-for-5 and shortstop Max Casper was 2-for-4. Colwell, Casper, and four other Bison players drove in a run.

Gophers freshman Ben Meyer pitched well in his first-career start. In four innings he gave up three hits and allowed one earned run and was tagged with the loss.

Meyer admitted he was a little nervous, but overall he said he felt good about his performance, as did head coach John Anderson.

“He’s going to be an excellent pitcher here,” Anderson said. “He did his part, gave us a chance and kept the game in balance.”

Meyer had worked exclusively out of the bullpen before Tuesday.

Bison center fielder Tim Colwell led off the game by tattooing Meyer’s offering into the left-center field gap for a triple and his brother Nick Colwell plated him with an RBI groundout.

Back-to-back one-out Gophers singles in the third inning put Minnesota in a position to tie the game, but Olinger grounded into an inning-ending double-play.

The Gophers threatened to tie in the fifth inning, too. First baseman Ryan Abrahamson led off the frame and advanced to third on Troy Larson’s single two batters later.

But Straka struck out Andy Henkemeyer and got Olinger to fly out to right field. Olinger, who leads the team with a .375 batting average, was 0-for-4 on the night.

“In tough situations, he was making quality pitches and that’s how you win games as a pitcher,” Olinger said.

“We didn’t execute tonight,” he added.

Dustin Klabunde took over for Meyer in the fifth inning and was unscathed in his first inning of relief before coughing up two runs in the top of the sixth.

Nick Colwell crushed a one-out double off the right field wall and first baseman Zach Wentz singled him home.

Wentz advanced to second on the throw and scored two batters later on a single from Wes Satzinger.

NDSU put the game out of reach with four more runs in the top of the ninth inning.

Minnesota will look to snap the Bison’s winning streak tomorrow in the series finale.