Gophers use hot bats to dominate Hawks

Minnesota outscored Hartford 24-4 over the span of three games.

Paul Cordes

Junior right-hander Ethan Vogt came out Friday and set the tone for the rest of the weekend for the Minnesota baseball team in its definitive sweep of Hartford at the Metrodome this weekend.

up next

northern iowa
when: 6:35 p.m. Wednesday
where: Metrodome

Vogt’s complete game, seven-hit shutout on Friday led to a 10-0 Minnesota win, which was then followed by a 8-2 victory on Saturday and a 6-2 win on Sunday.

Coach John Anderson said he expects a Friday starter to get the team off to a fast start, and so far Vogt has filled that role nicely.

“I think that’s why we chose Ethan,” Anderson said of Vogt’s ability to set the tone for the rest of the series. “He’s a strike thrower, he’ll get you deep in the game and doesn’t throw a lot of pitches and in the opening game of the weekend – you want a guy that can go deep in the game, keep you in the ball game, throw it over the plate and allow you to save your bullpen for the rest of the weekend.”

Vogt’s dominance on the hill must have rubbed off on his teammates as Minnesota hitters lit up the Hawk’s pitching staff all weekend.

The Gophers (14-5 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) were first on the board in each of the three games, and the closest Hartford would get to a lead over the weekend was a 2-2 tie on Saturday, which was broken up by a six-run Minnesota seventh inning.

Sophomore center fielder Matt Nohelty, who racked up six hits, two runs and three runs batted in against Hartford (1-12, 0-0 America East), said getting ahead early takes a little pressure off.

“We’ve kind of made a habit of coming from behind,” he said after Fridays 10 run effort. “But we’ve kind of put an emphasis on coming out, getting ahead and jumping on pitchers right away.”

But Minnesota wasn’t just dangerous at the plate.

The Gophers appeared to get bored, staying on the same base for an extended period of time and decided that stealing 14 bases in three games would be the best way to relinquish that boredom.

Anderson said his team had been working on getting good leads and jumps and believes he has some guys that can steal bases.

“(Hartford’s) catcher didn’t have a great arm and their pitchers had certain delivery times, and we thought we had good matchups between the guys they had out there and the guys we had on the bases,” he said. “We thought we could run coming into the series and we made it a point of emphasis to run. We do have some guys that can steal, and we’ll continue to run when we see the right matchups.”

And Anderson got plenty of opportunities this weekend to look at potential matchups as nineteen Minnesota hitters got at bats, twelve of whom came across the plate at least once.

Minnesota’s bullpen also got a workout on Sunday as five different pitchers saw time on the mound.

“We were able to play a large number of players, which is good because you want to keep the guys who are your role players sharp and give them a chance to play,” Anderson said. “Overall we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.”

A three win weekend where a lot of players saw some time came at a pretty convenient time for Minnesota.

The Gophers now have the opportunity to build off a successful weekend before a midweek game against Northern Iowa on Wednesday and the ever-important conference schedule, which begins next weekend at Penn State.

“Whenever we can get a few wins under our belt, it’s huge,” senior shortstop Dan Lyons, who scrapped together a trio of hits and runs during the series, said. “If we can get this win on Wednesday, we’re going to have a lot of momentum heading into the conference.”