Gophers win third series of season behind two shutouts

Senior Kyle Knudson had a monster series for the Gophers, going 5-for-12 in the series with five RBIs and three runs scored.

by Aleutian Calabay

The Minnesota baseball team comes away with a lot of things to feel good about after its weekend homestand against Indiana. The Gophers played some of their best baseball of the season in two of the games against the Hoosiers as they won the first (14-0) and third (10-0) games, but failed to earn a sweep, dropping the second game 7-2. The series win is just the third this season for Minnesota and its first since they took two of three at Purdue. âÄúItâÄôs evident that we have to win some series here in the [conference] if weâÄôre going to stick around and be a factor,âÄù Minnesota head coach John Anderson said. âÄúI think we pitched outstanding this weekend, and we had some young players step up and thatâÄôs why we won the series.âÄù The Gophers (16-24, 6-6 Big Ten) have said since the start of the year that pitching will be their key to victory and although the pitching staff has looked good at times, it has also been marred by inconsistency for most of the season. The pair of shutouts that the Minnesota pitchers combined to throw behind starters Seth Rosin and Phil Isaksson, along with a decent effort by TJ Oakes are steps in the right direction. The pitching performances also mark the first time since April 2006 that the Gophers have had two shutouts in a series against a Big Ten opponent. Of course it makes it easier as a pitcher when your teamâÄôs lineup is able to put some crooked numbers up on the scoreboard, which is exactly what the Gophers did against Indiana. Minnesota outscored Indiana 26-7 in the series and outhit the Hoosiers 41-17. Leading the way for the Gophers at the plate was senior Kyle Knudson, who went 5-for-12 in the series with five RBIs and three runs scored. Matt Puhl also had a solid weekend going 6-for-11 with four runs scored. âÄúIt feels good,âÄù Isaksson said. âÄúOur offense is starting to come around and getting us the lead, then the momentum starts building, and itâÄôs a lot easier to pitch out there once you get a few runs on the board.âÄù Game 1: Gophers 14, Hoosiers 0 The Gophers were dominant in all aspects of the game as the series got underway Friday. Minnesota scored early and often and quickly took control of the game with a six-run fourth inning to go up 11-0. The Gophers never let up as their batters put on a hitting clinic. Not only did the Gophers put up an impressive 14 runs, but they also collected 24 hits, the most by any Minnesota team in more than seven years. Thirteen different Gophers collected hits and 10 players scored at least one run in the total team effort. The hitting wasnâÄôt the only story of the game as Rosin continued his streak of solid pitching performances. Rosin gave up just three hits and no runs while striking out seven in seven and two-thirds innings. The effort now gives Rosin five straight outings in which he has pitched seven or more innings. Game 2: Hoosiers 7, Gophers 2 Despite coming off their best game of the season, the Gophers could not continue their momentum in the second game of the series. Minnesota scored a pair of runs in the second inning off a Knudson homer and an RBI double by Kyle Geason to take an early 2-1 lead but could not muster a hit for the last seven innings. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers took the lead with two runs in the third inning and continued to add to their lead against Minnesota starter Oakes, who did a good job limiting damage but still finished giving up five runs on nine hits while striking out five. Game 3: Gophers 10, Hoosiers 0 The Gophers regained FridayâÄôs form with another impressive win Sunday. Minnesota got on the board with a pair of runs in the third inning off a two-run double by Knudson. The lead was extended in the fourth inning as the Gophers got an RBI single by Kurt Schlangen and an RBI double by Troy Larson, giving them a 4-0 lead. The scoring persisted for the Gophers as they plated two more runs in the seventh inning, and then broke the game wide open as Ryan Abrahamson blasted a grand slam in the eighth inning. As the offense continued to produce, starter Isaksson had his best performance of the year by giving up only one hit over seven innings while striking out six. âÄúWeâÄôre still going to try to get better each day and try to win some series,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúI told the kids donâÄôt give up and donâÄôt give in until weâÄôre eliminated.âÄù