Late rally propels Bison over Gophers

Minnesota scored five runs in the seventh inning but gave up four in the eighth inning and lost.

Gophers third baseman Dan Olinger bats against North Dakota State on Tuesday. Olinger was 1-for-4 with an RBI against the Bison on Wednesday.

Hannah Strickland, Daily File Photo

Gophers third baseman Dan Olinger bats against North Dakota State on Tuesday. Olinger was 1-for-4 with an RBI against the Bison on Wednesday.

Samuel Gordon

 

Minnesota had seemingly extinguished red-hot North Dakota State University. The Gophers scored five runs in the seventh inning to seize a 5-2 lead and brought in reliable reliever Billy Soule to seal the deal.

But Soule ran into some trouble, and it was all downhill from there.

Troy Larson misplayed a blooper and turned it into a two-run double, which helped key an eighth-inning rally for the Bison. They won 6-5 and extended their winning streak to eight games.

NDSU (14-5) scored runs in the second and third innings off Minnesota freshman Ty McDevitt in his first career start. Meanwhile, Bison starter Nick Anderson cruised through his first six innings with

just one hit.                                          

But the Gophers (9-13) figured him out in the seventh inning, scored five runs and seized a 5-2 lead. Right fielder Bobby Juan led off the frame with a double. He was 2-for-4 on the afternoon.

“They had been starting me with a fastball. I started looking for it,” Juan said. “We were all confident that we were going to make a run at some time.”

Designated hitter David Bettenburg followed with an RBI double, and catcher Kurt Schlangen tied the game with an RBI single. A couple more singles and some crafty base running helped Minnesota tack on three more runs and flip the script.

“It’s big knowing that we can [score] at any time,” Juan said. “Hopefully we can do it on a more consistent basis.”

The lead didn’t last, however. NDSU responded to Minnesota’s comeback by roughing up Soule for four runs in the top of the eighth.

Bison third baseman John Skrbec stepped up to the plate with runners on first and third and two outs and hit a routine fly ball to center field, but Larson misread it. The ball bounced in front of him, caromed over his head and turned into a two-run double.

“I think [Larson] thought it was back. It’s just kind of a judgment thing,” Soule said. “Obviously he’s trying to get the ball and stuff. There’s not really anything else you can do.”

After a triple and a hit batsman, NDSU center fielder Tim Colwell smacked a double down the third-base line. Colwell was 3-for-5.

Kyle Kingsley pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to clinch the 6-5 Bison win.

Anderson said the five-run seventh inning was inspiring, but he wants to see more consistency from his ballclub.

“We’ve seen enough good signs at times, but we haven’t been able to play consistently in any phase of the game,” he said. “You have to make pitches and have quality at-bats and make plays at the moment and do it consistently. That’s been the one thing that’s been hardest.”

Minnesota will have an off-day Thursday, its first since March 16.

“We’ve been going for five straight days now,” Juan said. “It’ll be nice to have a day off, relax and clear your mind.”

The Gophers open a three-game series with The Citadel (9-11) on Friday.