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Baseball final: Minnesota 3, Purdue 1

Both teams will surely be trying to put last night’s game behind them, albeit for different reasons.  The Gophers, fresh off a dramatic 9th inning comeback, will try not to get ahead of themselves and lock down a series win this afternoon.  Conversely, the Boilermakers need to bounce back from a demoralizing loss.  I suspect the team that does what it needs to better will walk away from this game with a commanding win.

Minnesota starting pitcher – RHP Tom Buske, 5-3, 2.54 ERA
Purdue starting pitcher – LHP Matt Jansen, 3-4, 6.85 ERA

Minnesota batting order
1) DH Matt Nohelty
2) SS AJ Pettersen
3) 2B Derek McCallum
4) RF Michael Kvasnicka
5) C Kyle Knudson
6) 1B Nick O’Shea
7) LF Justin Gominsky
8) CF Eric Decker
9) 3B Kyle Geason

Purdue batting order
1) CF Brandon Haveman
2) 2B Eric Charles
3) C Dan Black
4) 1B Drew Madia
5) 3B David Blount
6) DH John Cummins
7) LF Jonathan Lilly
8) RF Alex Jaffee
9) SS Barrett Serrato

For an idea of the type of game this is through two and a half innings, consider this: The pitchers have combined to strike out nine of the 17 batters they’ve faced thus far. Jansen struck out the side in the first despite falling behind in the count to Nohelty and Pettersen; he has five strikeouts in two innings. Both pitchers have allowed just one hit. With as fast as they work on the mound, if this keeps up, we could be in for quite a short game. It wasn’t until the top of the 5th that a man found his was to scoring position. John Cummins cracked a double off the right field wall, but Buske coolly forced a grounder, then struck out Alex Jaffee to end the inning and the threat. In the bottom half, the Gophers moved a runner to third as well, but were similarly kept off the board. Buske has forced two inning-ending double plays this afternoon, both of which were grounded into by Dan Black. Additionally, Buske has thrown just 58 pitches through six innings and a mere 12 balls. When the Gophers finally put multiple men on base in the bottom of the 6th, they weren’t about to walk away empty handed. With the bases loaded and no outs, Derek McCallum sent a towering fly ball to right field that allowed Kyle Geason to tag easily. Matt Nohelty moved from second to third behind Geason and scored on the ensuing groundout by Kvasnicka. Those two runs proved useful. Purdue’s Drew Madia led off the top of the 7th with a double and moved around to score, trimming Minnesota’s lead to one. In relief of Jansen, Jeff Straub issued a bases loaded walk to Pettersen, putting the game at 3-1 going into the 8th. Buske is still on the mound, let’s see how he handles coming back after the long bottom of the 7th that included two pitching changes.

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