Buske is rock solid as Minnesota makes quick work of Western Michigan

Minnesota starting pitcher Tom BuskeâÄôs biggest fans may be his teammates. Minutes after the Gophers 7-1 win over Western Michigan Saturday night, choruses of âÄúYeah Tommy!âÄù echoed through the tunnel adjacent to the GophersâÄô dugout, saluting BuskeâÄôs impressive outing. Head coach John AndersonâÄôs nod to his starter was somewhat more subtle than âÄúYeah Tommy!âÄù but the enthusiasm was evident in his words. âÄúTremendous pitching effort by Tommy Buske,âÄù he said. Buske allowed no earned runs, gave up just three hits and struck out six in eight innings of work. It added up to a game that took a mere two hours and nine minutes and required only 95 pitches between Buske and reliever Cullen Sexton to put away the Broncos. âÄúI had all three pitches working, and locating all three pitches helps,âÄù Buske said. âÄú[I could] throw any pitch at any time, I think that was the key tonight.âÄù Behind him, MinnesotaâÄôs defense was again nearly flawless, its only blemish, an error by shortstop AJ Pettersen on a tricky middle hop, which led to Western MichiganâÄôs lone run. âÄúOur defense has been playing good all year, so my job isnâÄôt really to strike people out,âÄù Buske said. âÄúItâÄôs just make them hit it and put it in play and let them do all the work.âÄù Working plenty hard was center fielder Eric Decker, who tracked down balls all over the outfield. That is, when he wasnâÄôt lighting up the base paths. In the bottom of the second, after stealing his fourth base of his season, Decker tagged up from second to third on a deep fly ball to left field. HeâÄôd score when Pettersen blooped a single to right. âÄúEric Decker changes the game with his speed and his defense,âÄù Anderson said. And according to Anderson, Decker is changing his game just as much. âÄúHeâÄôs starting to get a feel for the game, heâÄôs starting to develop some instincts,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúWhen he stole that base, he anticipated that the guy was going to throw a breaking ball. HeâÄôs starting to learn how the game is played and starting to get a better understanding of how to use the information thatâÄôs out in front of you to play at a higher level.âÄù