O’Shea’s big hits help Gophers win

The first baseman had two doubles and a home run in the 4-2 victory.

by Aleutian Calabay

With the way that the season has begun, the Minnesota baseball team will take a win any way it can. The Gophers didnâÄôt have an ideal game, but they pieced together what they needed to beat Concordia-Moorhead 4-2 Wednesday night. Sophomore first baseman Nick OâÄôShea put on his best hitting performance of the season, going a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a home run, two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. The effort raised his batting average from .299 to .320. âÄúI think Nick came in today with a little fire in his eye,âÄù Minnesota head coach John Anderson said. âÄúHeâÄôs been looking to be a little more aggressive and came out here tonight and had some good at-bats.âÄù Although none of the five pitchers the Gophers sent to the mound delivered a dominant effort, they all did a good job of pitching out jams and preventing any large innings by Cobbers. Minnesota still has a long ways to go to become the team the team it strives to be this season, but the win is a move in the right direction. âÄúIt feels good, especially after the struggles as of late,âÄù OâÄôShea said. âÄúWe really wanted to come out tonight and play well. It doesnâÄôt matter who weâÄôre playing. WeâÄôre trying to come out every day like were playing weâÄôre playing one of the best teams in the country.âÄù In what continues to be a dangerous trend, the Gophers quickly found themselves trailing 1-0 as Concordia-Moorhead scored a run in the top of the first inning as Nick Lewis delivered an RBI single. Minnesota answered back in the bottom of the second as OâÄôShea smashed a deep home run over the left field fence to tie the game at 1-1. GophersâÄô starting pitcher Kevin Kray ran into trouble in the top of the fourth inning as he walked the first two batters and then gave up an RBI double to Lewis. The Cobbers appeared poised to add to their lead, but Minnesota reliever Scott Fern came in and prevented any further damage. A leadoff walk by the GophersâÄô Troy Larson in the fifth inning proved pivotal as he went on to steal second base and then score on an error by CobbersâÄô shortstop Jake Krause. The manufactured run tied the game at 2. Minnesota continued to put runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth as Matt Puhl led off the inning with a single. OâÄôShea then brought Puhl home with his second double of the game. OâÄôShea later scored on a Kyle Geason sacrifice fly to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead. The Gophers continued to keep the CobbersâÄô bats at bay through the rest of the game with closer Scott Matyas shutting the door in the ninth inning to earn his third save of the season. âÄúYou get yourself a win, and hopefully you can get yourself prepared and get some momentum going and be ready to go on Friday [against Purdue],âÄù Anderson said.