Loberg assists depleted pitching staff in U’s 8-5 win

by Anthony Maggio

Freshman pitcher Matt Loberg earned his first collegiate victory Tuesday night at Siebert Field, as Minnesota topped Division III St. Scholastica 8-5.

Big deal? Well, yes actually.

This week is a crucial time for the Gophers pitching staff, as starters Jay Gagner, and most likely Josh Krogman, will both be out this weekend with elbow injuries.

And as a result of a game in each of Minnesota’s last two Big Ten series being cancelled due to weather, the Gophers scheduled two midweek games versus Division III schools ñ St. Scholastica and Bethel.

“These two games are at the right time for us because we’ve got some work to do with our pitching staff,” coach John Anderson said. “We need to get some guys out there and get ready for the weekend because we’re going to be short again.”

Minnesota used three pitchers in the contest, with Loberg earning the win after four innings of work. Loberg gave up one run on five hits while striking out five.

“It feels great,” Loberg said about his first win. “I’ve had a couple good outings, but I thought today I really had all my stuff going.

“I just got the breaks today.”

Because of the injuries to Gagner and Krogman, Loberg will be in the starting rotation this weekend against Indiana.

Loberg said he is in a good position now heading into the weekend knowing he will start.

“I had confidence coming in to this because my last couple innings I’ve thrown really well,” Loberg said. “But today, to go four innings and give up one run really boosts the confidence.”

Tuesday’s contest began as a pitchers duel, as both starting hurlers threw three scoreless innings.

After the Saints put a run on the board in the fourth, however, the Gophers bats came live for five runs ñ four of which were scored with two outs.

“They made a few errors and we put together a bunch of two out hits and that made the difference in the game,” center fielder Sam Steidl said. “It knocked out their best pitcher who was pitching pretty well for them.”

Steidl hit a two run single in the inning while designated hitter Ben Pattee and catcher Jeremy Beaulieu both hit RBI singles of their own.

St. Scholastica ace Brett Nyquist was 6-1 coming into the game, but couldn’t get out of the fourth inning, as the Gophers batted around.

Loberg, meanwhile, retired six-straight batters between the first and third innings. He worked his way out of a third inning jam by forcing a ground out with two outs and runners on the corners.

Minnesota put up another run in the fifth and two in the sixth to close the door on the Saints.

All nine Gophers starters reached base in the game.

Minnesota received help from St. Scholastica, however, as none of Gophers eight runs in the game were earned. The Saints defense committed five errors in the contest, two of which came in the five-run fourth inning.

“Their defense gave us opportunities,” Anderson said. “They brought extra people to the plate.”

The Gophers committed two errors in the game, but Anderson felt his team played better defense than it has recently.

Minnesota faces Bethel tomorrow at Seibert Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Anthony Maggio covers baseball and
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